In Dubai, 30,000 workers labored over the course of four years to produce the city’s first metro system. Opened to the public in September, the $7.64 billion budget is double what developers expected, but the automated system is the longest in the world, with over 52 kilometers of track and 29 stations. Monumental air-conditioned pedestrian bridges protect riders from the desert heat as they approach stations, and once aboard, luxury compartments and wireless internet service pamper them between destinations.
Officials and residents hope that the metro system will initiate a wave of development in Dubai, where several projects have stalled or been abandoned due to the poor economic climate. Whether residents in the notoriously hot city will abandon their cars (running on $1.00 per gallon gas) remains to be seen, but officials say they expect annual ridership to exceed 200 million.