KSA to transform mass transit with autonomous trains

Fabrice Toulouse, director of smart mobility at Alstom.
Updated 17 July 2018
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KSA to transform mass transit with autonomous trains

When Saudi Arabia’s residents imagine the transportation of tomorrow, the popular image is of autonomous cars plowing Riyadh’s King Abdullah Road, carrying workers, university students, and football fans alike. But with the Saudi government heavily investing in mass transit and advanced technology, the likely future of transport is quite different. Automation is set to transform not only cars but also shared transportation, such as metros, trains, trams, and buses. 

As automation progresses, the costs of sensors and artificial intelligence are decreasing, while the computing power of connected vehicles is increasing. As a result, the Kingdom is at the forefront of using automation to make mass transit faster, cheaper, safer, and more energy efficient — especially on metros and mainline trains in the short term, and buses and trams further ahead.

For example, the Saudi government is heavily investing in autonomous transportation across the country, including the driverless Riyadh Metro, with lines 4, 5, and 6 being developed by the Alstom-partnered FAST consortium. Further in the Kingdom, autonomous transportation will be a key part of the transportation plans for the NEOM Smart City, and regionally, automated transport was a key topic at the recent MENA Transport Congress hosted by the UITP, the international organization for public transport.

In the Saudi cities of the future, automation of signaling and trains could make its biggest impact in enhancing the effectiveness of metros and mainline trains.

Alstom, as a global leader in mobility solutions, is exchanging best practices in autonomous transport with the Middle East, and is supporting rail innovation in the Kingdom by conducting initial dynamic tests for the Riyadh Metro Project at the FAST consortium Line 4 Depot Test Track. Line 4 will feature driverless trains, state-of-the-art signaling, safe and secure stations, and advanced real-time passenger information systems.

“Automation can significantly reduce traffic congestion, costs, and pollution. It can increase travel speeds and rapidly boost the country’s urban economic growth. 

As the Kingdom ramps up its investment in smart cities and Saudi Vision 2030, government organizations and the private sector need to take the next six months to plan the future of automated transport,” said Fabrice Toulouse, director of smart mobility at Alstom. 


Bahri promotes gender balance in workplace

Updated 21 May 2019
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Bahri promotes gender balance in workplace

Saudi logistics and transportation company Bahri recently participated in the 13th Annual Maritime HR Conference in London. The company’s chief support officer Hisham Alkhaldi was invited as a guest speaker at the largest worldwide gathering of maritime HR professionals. 

Held at Leonardo Royal Hotel in London from May 9 to 10, the annual event discussed key issues facing HR teams in the maritime industry. The conference brought together regulators, industry-renowned speakers, business leaders, and nearly 200 delegates representing shipowners, ship managers, oil companies, and other maritime employers such as classification societies and P&I clubs. 

Speaking on the “Diversity and Inclusion in the Maritime Industry” panel at the conference, Alkhaldi put a spotlight on the under-representation of women in the workplace across industries, particularly in the maritime sector. Highlighting that only 2 percent of seafarers worldwide are women and less than 1 percent occupy leadership roles in the industry, he said that it has become imperative for various stakeholders in the maritime industry to step up both concerted and individual efforts to address these challenges effectively and swiftly. 

“As a result of constant and deliberate efforts to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of gender balance in the workplace, policymakers and businesses in the maritime industry increasingly identify equal opportunities as a top priority today. Promoting women’s participation at work is critical not only for accelerating economic growth and sustainable development but also for driving stronger bottom-line results for businesses,” Alkhaldi said.

“Similarly, a diverse workforce will lead to higher productivity and customer loyalty, and catalyze innovation, leveraging the perspectives and experiences of employees of different nationalities, and ethnicities. As an employee-centric organization, Bahri has incorporated diversity and inclusion in its human resources policies and processes.” 

Alkhaldi also shed light on Bahri’s initiatives aimed at embracing diversity and inclusion across all aspects of its business. The company has been striving to boost the participation of women in its operations, which reached 18 percent this year. Bahri has also teamed up with universities to develop programs that will help introduce students to the maritime sector and its services. 

At the heart of Bahri’s diverse and inclusive workforce is its “Talent Management Framework,” which provides a clear direction for strategically attracting, sourcing, managing, developing and retaining talents in the company. The framework was recently named the “Best Recruitment & Talent Management Strategy” at the inaugural CIPD Middle East People Conference & Awards. The company had also won in the “Best Talent Development Strategy” category at the Future Workplace Awards 2018.