Al Tayer delivering a speech during the opening virtual session of Moscow Urban Forum-1625659787511

Dubai: Dubai has spent more than Dh145 billion over the last 15 years on roads and transport projects, a top official has revealed.

Mattar Mohammad Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), and Commissioner-General for the Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Well-being Pillar in Dubai, presented the figure during a remote speech delivered at a keynote session of Moscow Urban Forum.

Al Tayer said Dubai has made great strides in transforming to a sustainable city under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the follow-up of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

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“Over the last 15 years, RTA had undertaken roads and transport projects worth more than Dh145 billion highlighted by constructing the Dubai Metro and Tram projects, beefing-up the public bus fleet from around 600 buses in 2006 to over 1,700 buses in 2020, and increasing the cycling track network from 10km in 2006 to over 463km in 2020,” Al Tayer said.

Expansion on track

“We plan to increase the cycling track network to around 750km in five years, which will position Dubai among the top bicycle-friendly cities. RTA’s efforts contributed to positioning the UAE as the first globally in the quality of roads for five years in a row [2013 to 2017] according to the reports of the World Economic Forum.”

‘20-minute city’

He said the Dubai Urban Plan 2040 revolves around the principle of sustainable transport. The plan concentrates on “human-centric and sustainable mobility concepts” through the creation of five main urban centres in the city and the adoption of a “20-minute city” concept. The idea is to provide more than 80 per cent of people’s needs within 20 minutes of walking or cycling. “As such, integrated service centres will be developed in all Dubai zones with an emphasis on improving the standard of living, and increasing the population density nearby main transit hubs,” added Al Tayer.

Mega projects

In his speech, Al Tayer reviewed RTA’s experience in delivering a portfolio of key infrastructure projects, led by the Dubai Water Canal project. “The Dubai Water Canal project was extremely complex as it had to pass under the central Sheikh Zayed Road corridor, the main highway of Dubai. This meant that we had to construct the water canal under a live eight-by-eight lane highway and the Red Line of the Metro, and other main roads in an area, with complete and massive networks of vital utility lines. Despite these challenges, the project was delivered on time.”

Ready for Expo 2020 Dubai

Al Tayer also reflected on Dubai’s preparedness for hosting Expo 2020, which begins in October. “RTA has completed all the public transport requirements of the event. Accordingly, RTA is operating the 15km metro link — Route 2020 — extending up to the site of Expo 2020, including the construction of seven stations to serve a host of surrounding developments. These projects will ease the arrival of visitors to the site of the event,” he said.

The traffic movement to and from the site of the Expo will be managed by the Enterprise Command and Control Centre, “one of the biggest, latest and smartest control centres worldwide”. It uses high technology to control and command various transport means of RTA, besides managing 30,000 car parks at the expo site, added Al Tayer.

Concluding his speech, Al Tayer said “accelerated demographic growth” would require improving the quality and efficiency of the urban infrastructure and services. “It also requires migrating to a smart and sustainable city that uses the latest technologies, information and digital means to improve the quality of living in the Emirate.”

About the forum

Moscow Urban Forum is an annual global event bringing together governors of major cities and experts in urban planning to discuss key topics with the leaders of the real estate sector across the world.

Attendees of the opening event included Maxim Liksutov, Deputy Mayor of Moscow and Head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development; Violeta Bulc, former European Commissioner for Transport; and Mohammad Mezghani, Secretary-General of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP).