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article imageUniversity of Toronto works with Saudi on cable cars for Makkah

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 9, 2011 in Technology
Makkah - Pilgrims to Makkah will be able to make their way to the Grand Mosque by cable car in the future. A project is underway to develop a cable car system to ease traffic congestion in the holy city.
A touch of modernity is coming to Makkah, birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the holiest city on earth to Muslims. In order to ease the way for pilgrims who visit the city in their millions, a project is underway to introduce cable cars which will link the Grand Mosque with parking facilities.
According to Ameinfo the scheme is being devised by the Centre of Research and Excellence at Makkah’s Umm Al-Qura University in conjunction with University of Toronto’s Transport and Crowd Management Centre.
Adnan Gutub, director of the Saudi project, emphasized the cable cars will be in addition to existing transport systems, saying “It’s a support transport system and not an alternative to the existing one,” Arab News reported. He went on to say “Cable car is an economically viable system and will contribute to lessening the congestion on the road,” explaining that the geographical location of Makkah, surrounded by mountains, provides favorable conditions for the project.
Gliding to the Grand Mosque by cable car will be a welcome addition to pilgrims who at times are reliant on making their way on the back of motorbikes which do a brisk business during Hajj.
Overcoming traffic congestion is an essential aim of Saudi plans to develop religious tourism. Enormous investment is being made in rail links, increased flights, and hotel development in the area, along with developments along the Red Sea coastline. According to Bloomberg, 1.8 million foreign pilgrims visited Saudi to perform Hajj in Makkah in 2010, and the figure is predicted to rise to 13.75 million by 2019.
More about Makkah, Cable cars, Saudi arabia, Muslims, Toronto University
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