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Mattar Al Tayer speaking at the 64th UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Barcelona Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: From aerial taxis to delivery robots, the innovative transport solutions coming up in Dubai are on display at a global transport summit being held in Spain this week.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) showcased its self-driving and sustainable transport initiatives at the 64th UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Barcelona organised by the International Association of Public Transport.

The RTA’s stand displays the Aerial Taxi project undertaken in cooperation with private companies, Skyports and Joby. The project is expected to be operational by 2026, positioning Dubai as the first city in the world to have a sophisticated network for vertical take-off and landing.

The stand also featured the Yandex experience with Talabat for the transportation of goods, and the launch of delivery robots that operate using autonomous vehicle technology.

It exhibits digital cards through the nol Pay app for smartphone users in the UAE usable as a means of payment for various transit means, and the S’hail Smart app, which facilitates the planning of public transport journeys in Dubai.

Also on display is the Digital Twinning of Railways in Dubai Metro relating to trains’ infrastructure and the contribution to a higher operational value, and faster maintenance and decision-making operations.

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The RTA’s stand at the 64th UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Barcelona, displays a range of service offered by the authority in Dubai Image Credit: RTA

The stand also features RTA’s ‘Zero-Emissions Public Transportation in Dubai 2050’ strategy, ultimately positioning itself as the first government agency in the MENA region to set an integrated road map targeting public transport and its infrastructure.

Exhibits also include the trial of the electric bus and Cruise autonomous vehicles slated for launch in December 2023. This puts Dubai at the forefront as the first city outside the United States to deploy autonomous vehicles.

During the Summit, RTA won the UITP Award, in the Multimodal Integration category, for the Dubai Expo 2020 Project — RTA’s Multimodal Transport Integration for Mega Events project.

Earlier, Mattar Al Tayer, director general, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA delivered a speech at the opening session of the Summit in the presence of Raquel Sánchez Jiménez, Spanish Minister for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Khalid Al Hogail, President of UITP and Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona.

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Mattar Al Tayer duirng his visit at the 64th UITP Global Public Transport Summit in Barcelona Image Credit: RTA

Huge commitment, investment

Al Tayer stressed Dubai’s commitment to boosting sustainable and innovative transport across all public and shared transport means.

“Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, and the follow-up of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council, and His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, emphasis is being made on adopting resilient government processes and envisioning the future besides keeping pace with the rapid changes experienced by the world, and developing future solutions for challenges of all kinds,” noted Al Tayer.

“Dubai Government has invested more than Euro 37 billion (Dh146 billion) in upgrading the infrastructure of rods and public transport networks over the past 18 years to ensure smooth and sustainable transport for Dubai’s residents and visitors. Dubai’s integrated public transport modes form the backbone of people’s mobility around Dubai. The network succeeded in leveraging the proportion of public and shared transport from six per cent in 2006 to as much as 19.4% in 2022, and the plan is to push it further to 25% by 2030,” commented Al Tayer.

Al Tayer said the government’s plans also include transforming all mass transit means into environment-friendly options with zero carbon emissions by 2050.

He pointed out that Dubai has shown a strong commitment to sustainable and innovative mobility, exemplified by the “environmentally friendly Dubai Metro,” the world’s longest driverless metro system. The metro has transported over 2 billion riders since its inception in 2009, maintaining high safety standards and operational efficiency. The city’s ambitious plans align with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP28).

Innovative mobility

Al Tayer said Dubai aims to become a global pioneer in innovative mobility, particularly in the field of self-driving transport. Trials of autonomous vehicles, aerial taxis, and marine transport modes are underway to transform 25% of mobility journeys into driverless journeys by 2030.

RTA has made significant progress in this regard, with over 10% of trips already utilising driverless modes, primarily through the Dubai Metro.

RTA’s innovative mobility projects are a result of effective collaboration between the Dubai Government and leading technology companies. The partnership with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) has been instrumental, leading to Dubai hosting the UITP World Congress and Exhibition in 2011 2011, marking the event’s debut in the MENA region.

“Our relationship with UITP has further solidified with the establishment of the MENA Centre for Transportation Excellence as well as the organisation of four UITP MENA Public Transport Congresses. It’s my pleasure to extend an invitation for you to attend the fifth congress, which will be hosted by Dubai in 2024,” said Al Tayer.

Overall, he pointed out that Dubai’s commitment to sustainable and seamless mobility, along with its pursuit of innovative transport solutions, solidifies its position as a leader in the field and sets the stage for the future of urban mobility.

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RTA participated in the global summit with a delegation comprising several CEOs and directors.

Attracting 1,900 delegates from 100 countries, the event featured 300 speakers in 85 discussion panels, exploring the latest ideas and visions in this field. An exhibition, held alongside the summit, attracted 15,000 visitors. The biennial summit serves as a platform for transportation specialists to share advancements in infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and sustainability, with this year’s theme “Bright Light of the City” focusing on providing smooth and safe transport through integrated networks.