Hosting the event underscores Dubai’s global leadership as a preferred destination for international events
RTA has completed numerous large-scale projects with a combined value exceeding Dh146 billion
All public buses in Dubai to be powered by electricity and hydrogen by 2050
Dubai Metro constituted 36% of public transport ridership, closely followed by public buses at 25%
Dubai: Dubai has been selected as the host city for the upcoming UITP Global Public Transport Summit, scheduled to take place in 2026.
The leading international event brings together industry leaders, policymakers and experts to discuss and shape the future of public transportation.
The announcement was made by the International Association for Public Transport (UITP) at the this year’s Summit held in Barcelona, Spain. Dubai will host the prestigious event for the second time, following its successful hosting of the 59th UITP World Congress and Exhibition in 2011.
A premier global event on the public transport industry’s calendar, the UITP Global Public Transport Summit features the participation of over 1,900 delegates from 100 countries and attracts more than 15,000 attendees.
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and Mohammad Mezghani, Secretary General of the UITP, signed the hosting of the Summit agreement at RTA’s stand in the UITP Exhibition, in the presence of several officials from RTA and UITP.
Mattar Al Tayer attributed Dubai’s selection as the host city for the Summit to the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as the contributions of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, who have played pivotal roles in shaping Dubai’s progressive and innovative approach to public transportation.
“Dubai’s successful bid to host this prestigious global event is in perfect alignment with the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which strives to position Dubai among the top three cities worldwide. It underscores Dubai’s global leadership as a preferred destination for international events and highlights the international community’s confidence in Dubai’s outstanding global reputation. The selection also exemplifies Dubai’s proven capability to host successful international events, showcasing the excellence and efficiency of its public transport infrastructure,” Al Tayer said.
Al Tayer thanked the UITP presidency for selecting Dubai as the host city for the event. “We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the UITP, which began with the establishment of RTA in 2005, and reached a milestone when Dubai successfully hosted the UITP World Congress and Exhibition in 2011, marking its debut in the MENA region. The collaboration was further strengthened with the establishment of the MENA Centre for Transport Excellence, and the hosting of four editions of the UITP MENA Congress and Exhibition in Dubai, which is slated to renew its hosting of the event for the fifth time in 2024,” he added.
“RTA has successfully completed numerous large-scale projects with a combined value exceeding Dh146 billion. These projects include the Dubai Metro, the world’s longest driverless metro system spanning 89.3km; the 11km Dubai Tram; a modern fleet of over 1,400 public buses complying with the European low carbon emission (Euro 6) standards; and an extensive marine transport system encompassing traditional abras, Dubai Ferry and water taxis,” added Al Tayer.
He said that Dubai has an extensive network of roads and bridges to facilitate quick travel for all modes of transportation to their destinations. “The road network has expanded significantly from 8,715 lane-kilometres in 2006 to 18,765 lane-kilometres in 2022. Similarly, the cycling tracks network has expanded from a mere 9km in 2006 to an impressive 543km in 2022,” he added.
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RTA’s efforts to develop an integrated, sustainable transportation network have been pivotal in cementing Dubai’s position as one of the world’s leading urban economies. These measures have improved environmental sustainability and encouraged people to use a variety of mass transit modes including the metro, tram, public buses, marine transport, taxis, and shared mobility means. As a result, the proportion of mass and shared mobility means increased significantly from 6% in 2006 to 19.4% in 2022, Al Tayer stated.
Sharing figures, he said that the usage of public and shared transportation in Dubai witnessed remarkable growth, with over 621 million riders recorded in 2022, reflecting a 35% increase compared to the previous year’s figure of approximately 461 million riders. Among the various modes of transportation, the Dubai Metro constituted 36% of public transport ridership, closely followed by public buses at 25%. Notably, the Dubai Metro has served over two billion riders since its inception in 2009 until last March.
RTA has taken a pioneering step in the Middle East by adopting the Zero-Emissions Public Transportation in Dubai Strategy 2050, becoming the first entity in the region to establish a comprehensive long-term plan for achieving net-zero emissions in public transportation by 2050. This visionary strategy is designed to combat climate change and minimise carbon emissions across all operations. As part of the plan, RTA aims to transition all public buses to electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2050, while ensuring that taxis and limousines are fully electric and hydrogen-powered by 2040, setting a new benchmark for sustainable transportation in the region.
Mohammad Mezghani, Secretary General of the UITP, said: “When the UITP Global Public Transport Summit arrives in Dubai in 2026, it will be exactly fifteen years since the Summit was last hosted there in 2011. Even back then, the city was very well advanced in terms of urban mobility. Since then, public transport has developed at a truly impressive rate thanks to the strong focus and commitment of RTA. With the changes to our global events strategy, Dubai will become the first city outside of Europe to host the new UITP Annual Summit. I’m excited to see what outstanding urban mobility options the delegates will experience upon their arrival.”
Dubai’s mass transit system serves as the backbone for efficient movement across the emirate, with integrated components that have transformed attitudes towards public transport. RTA’s strategic and executive plans prioritise integration to ensure seamless traffic flow and mobility.
This comprehensive network encompasses road network expansion, crossings, and various mass transit systems including the metro, tram, buses, marine transport, first and last-mile solutions and shared transport. Pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is also prioritised, alongside the implementation of cutting-edge traffic and transport technologies to optimise road and transit efficiency. Supportive policies encourage the public to reduce reliance on private vehicles and embrace alternative modes such as mass and shared mobility options.