Cover Image

Urban Travel Behavior Determinants in Saudi Arabia

Maurizio Francesco Errigo, Giuseppe Tesoriere


The manuscript investigate the travel behavior in three saudi cities: Riyadh, Dammam and Buraydah. The whole transport system, accessibility and different mobility are related to urban strategies, urban patterns and to urban plans that, at different level, manage the country defining aims and strategies for the development and management of the territory. Travel behavior inside these three important and different cities is influenced by the whole urban structure, by economy reason and by urban and political strategies. Not less important are social factors that has to be studied and has to inspire every urban action. Make more diversified, dynamic and modern economy seems to be the priority of national agenda of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As happened in the past, exogenous factors are addressing a rapid transformation of the public policy, in which urban mobility is one main paradigm. In this framework, a part of paper focused on the main determinants of urban travel behavior and the blueprint agenda of government to make more transit oriented the cities. Although the urban travel behavior is complex phenomena in Saudi Arabia, of which the main effect is related to massive car dependency of people for mobility, some clarifications would suggest the approach to analyse current factors are impacting on national choices and introduce ideas to make urban policy part of a bigger project.


Mobility; Car dependency; Travel behavior; Governance; Urban Policy

Full Text:



Ar-Riyadh Development Authority [ADA]. (2004). Public Transport Study For the City of Arriyadh: Pilot Project - Phase I (Executive Summary). Riyadh: Ar-Riyadh Development Authority.

Al Arabiya. (2012). The gasoline in Saudi Arabia is the cheapest among the Gulf Countries. Retrieved January 25, 2013, from

Al-Atawi, A., & Saleh , W. (2014). Travel behaviour in Saudi Arabia and the role of social factors. Transport, 22(3), 269-277. doi:10.3846/16484142.2014.913199

Aldalbahi, M., & Walker, G. (2016). Riyadh Transportation History and Developing Vision. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 17-163.

Al-Dubikhi, S. A. (2007). Exploring the potential for successful public transport in Riyadh (doctoral dissertation). University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.

Al-Fouzan, S. (2011). Reducing Car-Dependence in Ar-Riyadh City through the Integration of Land-use Planning and Transport (unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Al-Hathloul, S. (2002). Riyadh Architecture in One Hundred Years. Paper presented at Darat al-Funun. Amman, Jordan.

Al-Hathloul, S., & Mughal, M. (1991). Jeddah. Cities, 8(4), 267–273.

Aljoufie, M., Zuidgeest, M., Brussel, M., van Maarseveen, M. (2012). Spatial–temporal analysis of urban growth and transportation in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia. Cities, 31, 57–68. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2012.04.008.

Al-Mosaind, M. (2001). The Effect of Changes in Land Use Distribution on Travel Patterns in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Paper presented at the Conference of Planning for Cities in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges (WPSC). Shanghai, China.

Alqhatani M., Setunge S., & Mirodpour S. (2014). Can a polycentric structure affect travel behavior? A comparison of Melbourne, Australia and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Modern Transport, 22(3), 156–166. doi:10.1007/s40534-014-0054-y.

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (n.d.). Vehicle Ownership. Canberra, Australia: Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved from

Bahaydar, M. H. (2013). Urban sprawl and its negative effects on Jeddah. Research paper presented at Ball State University. Indiana, USA: Ball State University.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (n.d.). Vehicle Ownership Rates. Washington, DC: United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from

Cervero, R. (1998). The Transit Metropolis: A Global Inquiry. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Daghistani, A. (1993). A case study in planning implementation (Working Paper No. 32). University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

French Property. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Future Saudi City Program. (n.d.). Retrieved from

General Authority for Statistics. (n.d.). Vehicle Ownership Rates. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: General Authoriy for Statistics, Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from

Global Mass Transit. (2016). Public transport in Saudi Arabia: Priority sector for government investment. Retrieved from

Government of the United Kingdom. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association. (2017). Saudi’s automotive ambitions grow: Saudi Arabia is planning to become the region’s car manufacturing hub. Retrieved from

Harriet, A. (2017, September 26). Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive in major milestone for country. The Telegraph. Retrieved from

High Commission for the Development of Riyadh. (2004). Masterplan phase 2. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Arriyadh Development Authority.

Ibi, G. (2007). Jeddah public transportation study. Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Transportation.

Jeddah Municipality. (2004). Jeddah structure plan. Saudi Arabia: Jeddah Municipality.

Jeddah Municipality. (2006). Transportation and traffic development plan. Saudi Arabia: Jeddah Municipality.

Jeddah Municipality. (2008). Jeddah transportation urgent plan. Saudi Arabia: Jeddah Municipality.

Kenworthy J. R., & Laube F. B. (1999). Patterns of automobile dependence in cities: an international overview of key physical and economic dimensions with some implications for urban policy. Transportation Research Part A, 33, 691-723.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (n.d.). National Transformation Program 2020. Retrieved from

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (n.d.). Vision 2030. Retrieved from

Koushki, P. A. (1987). The effect of socio-economic development on household travel behavior in Saudi Arabia. Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, 2(3), 131-136. doi:10.1016/0038-0121(88)90014-6.

Limtanakool, N., Dijst, M., & Schwanen, T. (2014). The influence of socioeconomic characteristics, land use and travel time considerations on mode choice for medium- and longer-distance trips. Journal of Transport Geography, 14, 327–341.

Victoria Transport Policy Institute. (2011). The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be Changing Trends And Their Implications For Transport Planning. Victoria, Canada: Litman, T. Retrieved from

Masoumi H. E. (2013). Modeling the Travel Behavior Impacts of Micro-Scale Land Use and Socio-Economic Factors Smart. TeMA Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 2, 235-250. doi:10.6092/1970-9870/1547.

Middleton D. A. (2009). Growth and Expansion in Post-War Urban Design Strategies: C. A. Doxiadis and the First Strategic Plan for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (1968-1972) (unpublished doctoral dissertation). Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, USA.

Ministry of Interior, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Riyadh [MOMRA]. (1980). Jeddah action master plans: Technical report no. 5: Transportation survey (Vol. 2). Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Riyadh.

Moraci F., & Fazia, C. (2013). Le città smart e le sfide della sostenibilità. TeMA Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 6(1). 35-45. doi:10.6092/1970‐9870/1459.

Newman, P., & Kenworthy, J. (1999). Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Observatory of Economic Complexity, the MIT Media Lab. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Oxford business group. (n.d.). Saudi Arabia's new development plan shows clear commitment to education and the private sector. Retrieved from

Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. (2017). 53rd Annual Report. Retrieved from

Taylor, A. (2017, September 29). Saudi Arabia wants to revitalize its economy: Letting women drive will be part of that. Washington Post. Retrieved from

The Economist. (2014, December 8). Why the oil price is falling. Retrieved from

The World Factbook. (n.d.). Middle East: Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from

UN Habitat. (2013). Streets as public spaces and drivers of urban prosperity. Nairobi: UN Habitat.

UN Habitat. (2015). Spatial Capital of Saudi Arabian cities: Street connectivity study for the city prosperità iniziative. Nairobi: UN Habitat.

UN Habitat. (2015). Future Saudi Cities Programme, International Experiences on National Spatial Frameworks. Nairobi: UN Habitat.

UN Habitat. (2016). Dammam city review report, future of Saudi cities program. Nairobi: UN Habitat.

UN Habitat. (2016). Review National Spatial Strategy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Nairobi: UN Habitat.

UN Habitat. (2017). Buraidah city review report, future of Saudi cities program. Nairobi: UN Habitat.

UN Habitat, Saudi Arabia. (n.d.). Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This site uses cookies to help deliver services. By using this site, you agree to the use of cookies.
More info.

Direttore responsabile: Rocco Papa | print ISSN 1970-9889 | on line ISSN 1970-9870 | © 2008 | Registrazione: Cancelleria del Tribunale di Napoli, n° 6, 29/01/2008 | Rivista realizzata con Open Journal System e pubblicata dal Centro di Ateneo per le Biblioteche dell'Università di Napoli Federico II.