Dubai Mall Metro Link

The link provides commuters and visitors access to the Burj Khalifa.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator UAE connects the dots and saves New Year’s Eve.

Dubai, U.A.E.

submitted by Borja Brañanova, ThyssenKrupp Elevator UAE, and Begoña Flores Canseco, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Southern Europe, Africa and Middle East

In 2009, Dubai became the first city in the Middle East to have a fully operational urban train network. With more than 10 million visitors every year, the metro system provides vital transportation infrastructure for the city. The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa Metro Station is one of the busiest in the city. It serves the business hub on Emaar Boulevard, the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. However, it is just far enough to make it very uncomfortable for commuters to walk from the station to these locations in Dubai’s hot climate.

When operation began in 2009, there were several conversations about covering this distance. In 2012, the solution came in the form of an 820-m-long, temperature-controlled glass footbridge that ThyssenKrupp Elevator UAE equipped with moving walks. Called the “Dubai Mall Metro Link,” it draws on traditional Arabian architecture styles, its façade and colorful lighting complementing the architecture and adding to the lively ambience of Emaar Boulevard.

The link provides a comfortable and environmentally friendly alternative for more than 30,000 daily commuters and visitors who would previously have preferred to take a taxi or feeder bus from the Dubai Mall metro station. “I wouldn’t have thought of coming to this place by metro with three kids and my wife if not for the walkway,” said frequent visitor Nicholas Leven from the U.K. “I would have definitely taken a taxi.” It not only meets the needs of the metro’s passengers, it also reduces vehicular traffic, which contributes to a cleaner environment. This project is, thus, a feather in the cap of ThyssenKrupp Elevator UAE, a firm believer in sustainable efficiency.

Apart from adding to commuter convenience, the link has significantly raised the number of visitors to downtown Dubai, which hosts a series of celebratory events culminating in a spectacular New Year’s Eve gala and fireworks display. Ahmed Al Hammadi, director of buses at the Road & Transport Authority, has said:

“The opening of the link is timely, as it will help people coming in to enjoy New Year’s Eve, when thousands visit the downtown area. In the long run, the walkway will help increase Dubai Metro ridership, as well as customers to the Dubai Mall.”

ThyssenKrupp Escalator Co. Ltd. in China manufactured 14 indoor Orinoco Xtra moving walks with slim balustrades for this project. They each measure 70-120 m long and 1.4 m wide, and move at an average speed of 0.5 mps, carrying 13,500 people per hour at peak capacity. They come with EN 115:2008 certified detailing in line with the latest standards in the region. They are equipped with handrail speed sensors, missing pallet sensors and brake monitoring to ensure passenger safety. There is also a variety of other features, such as additional emergency-stop buttons at handrail level and intermittent operation with a light barrier that includes signal lights. The low-smoke, halogen-free cables and energy control with frequency converter ensure the moving walks meet sustainable efficiency standards.

In August 2012, ThyssenKrupp Elevator UAE began installing these moving walks. They were structured architecturally along the defined pathway of the pedestrian-link footbridge, with seven sections running in different directions and at different inclinations. Despite difficult conditions, they were manufactured, supplied, installed and commissioned in a record time of five months. The project was completed in December 2012, just in time to handle the high volume of visitors for the New Year’s Eve celebration.

Given the high demands placed on the project in terms of the lengths of the moving walks, the location of the installation and an extremely limited timeframe, this was one of the most challenging projects we have ever encountered. The pedestrian bridge is located in one of the busiest areas of the city, which includes Dubai’s largest mall, tallest tower, busiest metro station and a key business hub. This was another major challenge for product delivery, and for the cranes, forklifts and specially constructed devices that had to be used during the installation period. Additionally:

  • More than 1,068 m of moving walk was installed and handed over for usage within the short period of five months.
  • There were major delays due to pending finalization of entry points.
  • Commissioning was delayed due to the unavailability of permanent power supply.
  • There were several issues during the construction of the footbridge leading to slight deflections, which had to be dealt with during installation to ensure the leveling and alignment of pieces and components.  


  • Operating condition: Nonreversible
  • Power supply: 220/400 V at 50 Hz, three phase
  • Pallet: One-piece die-cast aluminum pallet painted silver
  • Corrosion protection – main truss: Two layers of primer
  • Bottom plate: 4-mm soffit
  • Type of balustrade: Clear, rectangular safety glass, 10 mm thick, 1,000 mm high Decking profiles: Silver aluminum
  • Skirt: 2-mm steel sheet with black anti-friction coating
  • Combplates and cover plates: Ribbed aluminum with plain grooves
  • Handrail: Black with nylon lining
  • Handrail guide rail: Stainless steel
  • Drive: Worm gear with flanged IP54 motor Standard: Functional compliance with EN 115:2008
  • Control: Programmable logic controller
Owner: EMAAR Properties PJSC Contractor: Dutco Balfour Beatty LLC Design consultant: WS Atkins & Partners Overseas
End user: EMAAR
Equipment manufacturer: ThyssenKrupp Escalator Co. China Ltd.
Equipment installer: ThyssenKrupp Elevator UAE

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