Top Global Oil Exporter Saudi Arabia Launches Car-Free City

Saudi Arabia, the world's top crude exporter, announced on Sunday the launch of a zero-car, zero-street and zero-carbon eco-city at its futuristic NEOM mega-development.

The $500 billion NEOM project, set to be built from scratch along the picturesque Red Sea coast of the Kingdom, is considered to be an evocative development of a science-fiction blockbuster.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman unveiled plans for a city, dubbed “THE LINE”, in a presentation broadcast on state TV.

It consists of “a city of a million residents with a length of 170 kilometres (105 miles) that preserves 95 percent of nature within NEOM, with zero cars, zero streets and zero carbon emissions,” he said.

“We need to transform the concept of a conventional city into that of a futuristic one,” added the de facto leader of the Arab world’s leading economy, regularly ranked among the world’s most polluting countries.

Prince Mohammed showed computer-generated images of 'THE LINE' as well as landscapes of pristine deserts and blue seas.

The pedestrian city will have services such as schools, health centers and green spaces, as well as high-speed public transport, with no journey expected to take more than 20 minutes, according to the NEOM statement.

Artificial Intelligence will play a key role in the city, the statement said, adding that “it will be powered by 100 percent clean energy, providing pollution-free, healthier and more sustainable environments for residents”.

The construction of the city will begin in the first quarter of this year with funding from the Public Investment Fund, the main vehicle through which the Kingdom diversifies its economy beyond oil.

The project is set to create 380,000 jobs and contribute 180 billion riyals ($48 billion) to the Kingdom's GDP by 2030, according to the NEOM statement.

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