Mattar Al Tayer, at the 63rd UITP Global Public Transport Summit held in Stockholm, Sweden. Image Credit: RTA

Stockholm: Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) participated in the 63rd UITP Global Public Transport Summit held in Stockholm, Sweden, under the theme ‘Art of Public Transport’.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, headed RTA’s delegation at the event.

The summit, which takes place every two years, was a significant global gathering of transport experts to discuss the latest technological advancements of rail infrastructure and public transport systems. The accompanying exhibition, which covered an area of 40,000 square metres, attracted 373 entities from 46 countries. More than 100 discussion panels were held during the summit, and the showcase attracted more than 30,000 visitors. RTA had a large stand to display Dubai’s public transport systems and projects and futuristic self-driving transport projects demonstrating the evolution and growth of the public transport sector in the Emirate.

In a speech delivered at the main discussion panel, Al Tayer highlighted RTA’s endeavours to lead the transformation towards self-driving transport. He cited Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of total mobility journeys into self-driving and smart transport journeys by 2030 from the current rate of nine per cent.

“RTA is currently examining 11 future mobility projects involving the operation of seven self-driving transit modes by 2030. In 2017, RTA inaugurated the trial run of the first autonomous air vehicle in the world, followed by test-runs of autonomous pods, automatically connected smart mobility units, and the first autonomous taxi in the region along with shared mobility solutions,” said Al Tayer.

He also shed light on the global challenges of future mobility such as adapting the latest technological advancements to the existing infrastructure, understanding the impact of sophisticated systems on planning and the urban fabric, and sourcing the necessary funding. Among the challenges, he referred to was the offering of modern transit systems to the public at affordable rates, and ensuring the smooth migration from conventional systems to modern mobility patterns.

Al Tayer touched on solutions governments ought to take to improve future mobility in key cities such as mapping out strategies with clear targets for the transformation into self-driving transport, developing legislation and policies for the success of the transformation, and providing the appropriate infrastructure for mobility systems. “Solutions also include educating the public about the future mobility systems to make them acceptable, enhancing the partnership with the private sector to improve future transport technologies and services, and ensuring the sound implementation of mobility systems in terms of safety and privacy,” he noted.

He toured the exhibition stands accompanied by Mohammad Obaid Al Mulla — RTA Board Member and Chairman of the Higher Committee of MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition, Ahmad Behroozian, CEO of Public Transport Agency, Dr Yousuf Al Ali, CEO of Dubai Taxi Corporation, along with a host of RTA’s directors and engineers. During the tour, Al Tayer was familiarised with the latest innovations in public buses and the smart transport technologies. He visited stands of several companies specialised in the manufacturing and operation of buses where he was briefed about new designs and environmental-friendly technologies associated with the operation of buses.

RTA stand

The RTA stand in UITP Global Transport Summit in Stockholm was busy with VIP visitors, including ministers and senior officials who were received by Al Tayer. Among them was Pere Calvet, President of International Association for Public Transport (UITP). Discussions held covered the strategic relationships between the UITP and RTA, and RTA’s preparations for hosting UITP MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition along with updates about MENA Centre for Transport Excellence.

Al Tayer also received Kristoffer Tamsons, Regional Minister for Transport of Region Stockholm and Chairman for Stockholm Public Transport. The two parties discussed bilateral cooperation and the latest trends in Stockholm’s transport. He also received Mrs Catherine Guillouard, Chairwoman and CEO of RATP Group, France, and discussions covered the collaboration between RTA and the Group in public transport.

The stand highlighted RTA’s efforts in the smart transformation for serving public transport riders such as the integrated mobility platform (S’hail), which enables clients to access all transit means in Dubai via a smart app. He also briefed visitors about nol Plus loyalty programme, free WiFi for taxi riders, Al Merqab system for monitoring and streamlining limousine and e-hail companies, and buses on demand service.

A range of RTA’s future projects was also on display at the stand such as the hydrogen vehicle, autonomous air vehicle, autonomous pods, Skypod, and the new traffic control centre project at Al Barsha to manage traffic movement in the city. It also displayed RTA projects related to Dubai hosting of Expo 2020 such as Route 2020 for extending the Metro Red Line to the site of Expo 2020, and the Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3).

A corner of the stand was dedicated to awards and conferences organised by RTA such as the Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, Dubai International Project Management Forum (DIPMF), Hamdan Bin Mohammad Award for Innovation in Project Management, and UITP MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition.

Transport Award

Al Tayer and Calvet attended UITP award’s ceremony, sponsored by RTA. The award consists of several categories, namely; diversity and inclusiveness, marketing campaigns, multi-modal integration, operational and technological excellence, urban and public mobility strategy, smart finance and young researcher categories.

In a speech delivered during the ceremony, Al Tayer exuded pride in the excellent relationship between RTA and UITP since the establishment of RTA, which culminated in Dubai hosting UITP World Transport Congress and Exhibition in 2011 for the first time in MENA region.

This partnership contributed to RTA’s efforts to prop up the migration to public transport through increasing the share of public transport journeys from 6 per cent in 2006 to 17.5 per cent in 2018 under a plan to push this share to 26 per cent by 2030.