SZR Interchange
A view of first interchange on Sheikh Zayed Road. Projects by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have made traffic in Dubai freer flowing than 10 leading cities with a comparable population, such as Los Angeles, Sydney and Rome Image Credit: RTA

Dubai: Projects by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) have made traffic in Dubai freer flowing than 10 leading cities with a comparable population, such as Los Angeles, Sydney and Rome, a top official said on Saturday.

Mattar Mohammad Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA, said: “The globally acknowledged congestion metric is the Travel Time Index (TTI), which measures the ratio of travel time in the city during peak time to the travel time during off-peak time. Thus, the smaller the index, the lesser is the congestion level. The roads and transport projects accomplished by RTA since established contributed to a TTI of 1.23 in 2019, which is superior to the TTI of 1.33 prevailing in 10 metropolitan cities with population numbers similar to Dubai such as Los Angeles, Berlin, Montreal, Sydney and Rome.”

Saving time

"Studies indicate that the total value of time and fuel wasted in traffic congestions would have reached Dh248.8 billion if RTA had not undertaken roads and public transport projects," said Al Tayer. For instance, the travel time from Dubai International Airport to Bur Dubai would have increased from 20 to 40 minutes if RTA had not carried roads and transport projects. Equally, the travel time from Jumeirah 3 to Dubai Mall would have increased from 21 to 55 minutes. Moreover, the travel time of long journeys, like Khawaneej or Mamzar to Mall of the Emirates, would have increased more than six fold should those projects not have been implemented, added Al Tayer.

Studies indicate that the total value of time and fuel wasted in traffic congestions would have reached Dh248.8 billion if RTA had not undertaken roads and public transport projects.

- Mattar Mohammad Al Tayer

Safer roads

The construction of roads and public transport networks prevented the worsening of the traffic congestions and saved time, effort and money of road users in the emirate. For example, saving of time and fuel in 2019 amounted to Dh24.42 billion, which is equivalent to Dh7,400 dirhams of savings per resident of Dubai. Moreover, the probability of involving in a fatal traffic accident in Dubai has diminished 10 times. The traffic mortality rate dropped from 21.7 cases per 100,000 of the population in 2007 to 2.3 cases per 100,000 of the population in 2019, which translates into an elevated feeling of safety and security among road users.

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“RTA’s efforts in the field of traffic safety in Dubai from 2007 up to now contributed to limit the escalating financial losses due to road accidents and reduced the costs related to traffic accidents. The amount of savings during the period 2007 to 2020 is estimated as Dh46 billion. The carbon dioxide emissions dropped by 661,000 tonnes per annum, which is equivalent to a blanket of 39cm in thickness covering the entire urban space of Dubai,” added Al Tayer.

Investment in infrastructure

He also said that investment on the infrastructure is the main driver of the economy of any city in the world. Al Tayer revealed that international studies confirmed the feasibility of spending on road projects and transport systems. A British study conducted on 300 projects concluded that the economic return on each dirham invested in those projects ranged from Dh1.84 to Dh4.3.

“Earlier, RTA conducted a benefit-cost study of the Dubai Metro and several road projects in collaboration with a British University. The study found that the rate of benefits to costs of Dubai Metro reached 1 in 2016 (i.e. benefits covered costs). The rate was projected to reach 4.3 in 2030. Recently, RTA commissioned feasibility studies of improvements of Umm Suqeim Street Project and the Airport Street Project in collaboration with an international consultant. The study concluded that the benefit-cost ratio of improving Umm Suqueim Street was Dh8.8 (Dh8.8 of benefits per dirham of cost), whereas the benefit-cost ratio of improving the Airport Street was Dh3.8 (Dh3.8 of benefits per dirham of cost).”

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Dubai Government investments in the infrastructure of roads and transport, which amounted to Dh130 billion during 2006-2019, contributed to savings amounting to Dh193.3 billion in terms of time and fuel saved. It also contributed to reducing road accident fatalities from 22 cases per 100,000 of the population to 2.3 cases per 100,000 of population. Additionally, it reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 661,000 tonnes per annum during the period 2016-2019, Al Tayer said.

Wide coverage

“Dubai has superb roads and transport infrastructure characterised by high quality and wide geographical coverage across the Emirate. The network comprises of 18,000 lane-kilometres, 119 pedestrian bridges and underpasses (including metro tunnels and footbridges), and 425km of cycling tracks. The network contributed to the ranking of the UAE in the first position in the quality of roads worldwide during 2013-2017. The improved mass transit systems in Dubai was instrumental in increasing the share of public transport in people mobility from six per cent in 2006 to 18.3 per cent in 2019. These indicators enhanced Dubai’s credentials and competitiveness in hosting mega-events such as Expo 2020,” said Al Tayer.

Future mobility

“RTA is focused on upgrading the capacity of Dubai’s infrastructure and supporting the plan of the Emirate for migration into a smart, innovative and sustainable city. A city that uses cutting-edge communication and information technologies as well as modern digital means to accommodate the growing numbers of residents and vehicles. RTA has pilot plans for futuristic mobility means that suits the Emirate.”

RTA is proceeding ahead with the Dubai Smart Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 per cent of total mobility journeys in Dubai to smart self-driving journeys by 2030. To enhance the smart mobility drive, RTA is teaming with technology leaders worldwide in carrying out tests on various types of vehicles, autonomous mobility means such as the air taxi and connected automated on-demand mobility pods. It also launched the pilot operation of the first autonomous taxi in the region to raise the leading role of Dubai in self-driving transport. RTA held the first edition of Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport which brought together senior officials, researchers, experts, specialists, scholars, policymakers and developers of autonomous transport technologies. The second edition of the Congress and Challenge will be held in 2021.

Command and Control Centre

RTA constructed the Enterprise Command and Control Centre, the most advanced in the world. It handles 75 million information per day. It deployed new transit means integrating with the conventional transit means such as the metro and buses. These means include shared vehicles and bikes, bus on-demand in addition to individual mobility patterns to be launched shortly.