- An efficient public transport system is essential to Dubai's future as a global business hub, says H.E. Mattar Mohammad Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, RTA
How can Dubai achieve its vision for the future of transportation that places the Emirate as a global business hub and one of the world’s most preferred cities to live in?
Dubai’s strategic location makes it a key destination for trade and commerce. An efficient public transport system is an essential element in serving the mobility and access needs of people across the Emirate. Our roads and transportation system underpin the framework of the city, while supporting it growth and development, and further enhances its competitiveness.
Being the transport entity of Dubai; Roads and Transport Authority has aligned its strategic indicators & initiatives with the eight defining principles of Dubai, and the 50-Year Charter announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and has set them as a Code of Practice in future .
The RTA has a comprehensive set up for planning the future of transport. Its plans and objectives are always long term. One such example is the Dubai Autonomous Transportation Strategy aimed at converting 25% of mobility means into driverless mobility means by 2030, and undertaking future mobility studies. We monitor the global trends and the latest technologies for re-aligning the Dubai future mobility path. These efforts entail developing innovative transit means and new mobility patterns that suit future generations; which will be revealed on time.
I would like to thank the ABLF Grand Jury for this great recognition. My team and I enjoyed the very well organised event. Congratulations and wishing the platform great innings in the future.
Among the world’s pioneer projects currently under consideration at the RTA is the Dubai Sky Pods; a highly power-efficient futuristic autonomous mobility system; which requires infrastructure much less than conventional transit means. The future projects also include the autonomous air taxi; which is being developed by a big global firm, and the autonomous transit pods. The RTA is working with global labs on trials of innovative transit systems to solve the first & last mile challenges. Other achievements include the extension of road networks by 62% in 2018, improving safety where the rate of fatalities plummeted from 21.9 per 100 thousand of population in 2005 to only 2.3 per 100 thousand of population in 2018, and increasing public transport ridership by 4% compared with 2017.
Last year, the RTA established an e-Hail company with Careem Networks to deliver online taxi booking service in Dubai. The Company aims to improve the experience of taxis riders in Dubai and increase their happiness. Moreover the RTA has launched a package of new services such as the convertible limo, limo bike, mobile customers service, loyalty points programme (nol Plus), smart booking of parking, and the automated conversation system (Mahboub).
Our strategic roadmap of artificial intelligence is fully aligned with UAE AI Strategy and RTA Digital Strategy. RTA aspires to implement AI in many focus areas to deliver values to its core business as well corporate functions. These focus areas include traffic management, getting around Dubai, customer experience, cognitive licensing services, safety, security, and crisis management, asset management, knowledge and innovation management, and intelligent administration.
RTA’s services are designed such that they become both accessible and easy-to-use, particularly as it has to tackle and provide services to a culturally diverse group of customers coming from over 200 nationalities. The entity’s focal attention and methodology has revolved around the customer. Therefore, we were keen on using a variety of communication channels with the customers in order to identify their prime service needs and embark on providing them over the mobile phone.
In RTA, we associate ‘happiness’ in customers with delivering the smart apps to the public from all social segments on one hand, and that the services provided must be seamless, easy and fast on the other. Eventually, we work towards the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-president, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai in bringing happiness to people including UAE citizens, visitors, business persons and tourists from all over the world and not make the city a preferred destination to live in.
How can other Asian nations learn from RTA's innovative model in using urban transportation as a catalyst for economic growth?
Unlike many other countries globally we are very fortunate to have the wise leadership of the government, which has always offered it relentless support to develop the city’s infrastructure while keeping track of timelines and deliverable standards thus making its projects world class.
Moreover, RTA’s flexible working methodology with its partners, consultants and contractors helps in the adoption of the latest project management practices and technologies. This has led the entity to plan and execute its projects in record time while making smart services and infrastructure accessible and economical to its residents and citizens.
The Emirate’s well-developed infrastructure has a favourable impact on trade and commerce and ultimately the economy as millions of dirhams are saved in travel time and fuel.
What is the sustainable future of urban mobility?
Smart and sustainable transportation is essential to keep a population of over 3 million people moving safely and efficiently in Dubai. Sustainable mobility is achieved with smart technology, innovation and an increase in public transport share. RTA has been involved over the past few years in fields of energy saving, carbon emissions reduction and green economy development. These efforts come in line with the goals of the UAE’s Vision 2021 and with the Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, which draw a clear roadmap for us under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. Giving the scale of RTA’s work at the city level, we recognise the importance of gearing up our operations and projects continuously towards making Dubai’s infrastructure more progressive and sustainable.
Over the past decade, a significant shift in the infrastructure and services of mass transport and taxi fleet and services, has led to an increase in the number of users of the system.
On the environmental front, authorities are working to boost the use of electric vehicles. In 2016, Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy announced at least 10% of all newly purchased government vehicles would be electric or hybrid until 2020. The number of electric and hybrid vehicles is also to grow with strong policy push. RTA has set plans to convert 50% of its fleets in Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) to hybrid by 2021; DTC has already converted 1461 fleets to hybrid taxis. Additionally, DTC has signed an agreement with Tesla to have 200 electric cars in Dubai taxi fleet by 2019 out of which 90 is already in place as of 2018 and remaining will be introduced in the year 2019. In order to manage the electric fleets, DTC has already installed 13 electric charging stations. The 75 km long driverless Dubai Metro has zero carbon emissions, while our buses are fitted with Euro 4 and Euro 5 standard engines. Most recently, the RTA launched the trials of the hybrid Abra.
Within the context, our approach in adopting energy efficiency and green economy practices is a bottom-up and a comprehensive approach that not only embraces the adoption of new technologies but also advances the existing practices and processes. Accordingly, integrating sustainability aspects within core infrastructure project will increase its life cycle, economic performance and competitiveness. We believe that this will result into making investment opportunities that are open for private sector partnerships more attractive and will assist in boosting the green-technology supply chain and cluster in Dubai.
The ABLF is a UAE-led leadership platform that seeks to gather the finest minds of Asia in conversations and collaborations. As the leader of RTA, how do you see Dubai’s role in expanding the influence of intellectual platforms that spotlights subjects such as excellence, innovation, mobility and sustainability?
Owing to its strategic location; the UAE connects the East with the West making it an iconic hub for global business and trade. Tourism plays an important role by contributing to the country’s GDP significantly. Accordingly, the strategic objectives set by the government drive its stakeholders to innovate and excel making the Emirate no stranger to excellence and innovation while always surprising the world. At the RTA we believe sustainability in mobility cannot be achieved without innovative solutions
In terms of excellence; the most recent Global Competitiveness Report on the quality of roads, as posted by the World Economic Forum, ranked the United Arab Emirates as having the best roads. While speaking of innovation one key goal announced by the RTA in conjunction with the Dubai Future Foundation is the Dubai Self-driving Transportation Strategy. The initiative aims to make 25% of all transport in Dubai autonomous by 2030, with expected revenues and savings around Dh22bn ($6bn) annually by reducing transport costs, carbon emissions and accidents while raising productivity levels and saving hundreds of millions of hours usually spent in traffic jams. It is envisioned that the strategy will cut transportation costs by 44 per cent and reduce environmental pollution by 12%. The biggest savings will result from improved efficiency by cutting travel time by 396 million hours. As a further benefit it will greatly reduce the number of required parking spaces and congestion in the city.
As part of the strategy, an international request for innovative solutions was launched, known as the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport. This biannual challenge attracts best of talent from around the world to compete towards presenting Dubai with self –driving solutions especially for ‘First and Last mile Transport’. Other innovative but sustainable solutions include the trial run of the autonomous aerial taxi, and the most recent the self-driving taxi.
The initiatives as announced positively impact and influence the Emirate’s development paving the way for constant change.
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