Foster + Partners has been appointed to design an £8 billion transport system for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, that will encompass a network of new metro, ferry, bus, and cycle terminals.
Norman Foster's London-based firm, which was rumoured to be working on the project back in October 2014, has signed a contract reportedly worth £54 million to develop a long-term vision for the future of the city's transport infrastructure.
The masterplan will include the design of all new metro stations, the trains and the branding. Foster + Partners will also create a series of new public spaces beneath the elevated railway tracks.
"Designed in response to the local climate, the masterplan is city-wide and draws on the high-density, compact urban model of the ancient quarter of Al Balad, with its mixture of uses and comfortable, walkable shaded streets," said the firm in a statement.
"Currently only 12 per cent of the population live within a 10 minute walk of Jeddah's transport nodes – the project aims to achieve 50 per cent, through a process of densification and strategic planning," it added.
"Each station node will create a new neighbourhood, with a unique character, and together these will create a diverse and vibrant city."
Foster + Partners – whose past projects include a concept for a zero-carbon city in Abu Dhabi and a proposal for a "cycling utopia" in London – is the third company to be signed up to Jeddah's public transport project.
In May 2014, architecture and engineering firm Aecom was given an 18-month contract to provide pre-program management consultancy services, while French railway engineering firm Systra was appointed in July to provide preliminary engineering designs.
Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia, after the capital city Riyadh. It is also set to become home to the world's tallest building – the Kingdom Tower currently under construction is expected to have a height of 1000 metres.
According to the Saudi Gazette, the new metro system could be completed by 2020 and open in 2022.