Many growing economies are running into a major obstacle: traffic congestion. The increasing affluence of citizens and the inflow of people from rural areas that accompanies stable economic growth have resulted in an explosive increase in urban households owning cars. When you combine this with road infrastructures that cannot keep up with the rapid growth, or vehicle breakdowns and traffic accidents, you have the recipe for chronic traffic congestion. In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, where a ten-kilometer car journey from the Airport to the city can take more than two hours, the problem of traffic congestion is a regular headache for city officials.
One effective solution for alleviating urban traffic congestion is the establishment of underground rail systems. Subways not only deal with traffic congestion, they also help reduce air pollution. Moreover, compared with buses and cars, trains can carry far more people with much greater efficiency. Presently, underground rail systems operate in about 150 cities in more than 50 countries.
In 2010, Shanghai, China, which has an underground rail network with a total track length of 440 kilometers, replaced London as the city with the worlds longest underground rail system. It plans to continue extending the network to a track length of 880 kilometers by 2020.
Even today, some 150 years since the first underground rail system was laid in London, there remains great potential for future underground rail projects.
Mitsubishi Corporation was contracted to design, build, and commence operations of the Dubai Metro, the world's longest driverless rail system with a total track length of 76 kilometers and the first urban transit system in the Persian Gulf States. MC took a central role in the project's management, and despite a tight deadline and numerous plan revisions, successfully completed the project on time. Presently, the Dubai Metro is used by 300,000 people every day.
MC has also fulfilled a major role in similar projects such as for the Cairo Metro in Egypt and the Delhi Metro in India, and through doing so, it contributes to raising the standard of living in those places.
Article appeared in Asahi Shimbun's "GLOBE" feature of May 20, 2012