This Sunday, November 1st, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will celebrate its 15th anniversary, which also marks the 11th Public Transport Day. RTA’s era is marked by huge successes and achievements that render it at par with the most prominent entities in Dubai and the world over. It has implemented strategic plans for upgrading the infrastructure of roads, mass transit systems, pedestrian facilities and traffic safety. It has also constructed and operated a host of strategic projects for increasing road networks and public transport services.
RTA’s drive has been characterized by focusing on sustainability and bringing about a paradigm shift in public transit services as evident by the construction of the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, new bus stations and improved bus and marine transport services. It is also reflected in the construction of roads, bridges and flyovers, the introduction of smart technologies and apps, and the implementation of transport policies to achieve an integrated and sustainable transport system.
His Excellency Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA expressed thanks and appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, Chairman of the Executive Council; and His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Vice Chairman of the Executive Council, for their invaluable support and sustained patronage of RTA’s projects. He noted that such support was critical for the successes of the RTA over the past years.
“RTA is forging ahead with projects and initiatives to improve public transport infrastructure and services, roads and the standard of living in the city to bring happiness to inhabitants, be it citizens, residents or visitors. RTA is also endeavouring to drive the smart transformation of customer services and improve its business model. For this sake, it focuses on adopting corporate agility practices such that it will be capable to keep pace with the successive changes and the global trends and at the same maintain its leading role in the industry,” commented Al Tayer.
Indicators and Achievements
“Dubai boasts of high-class roads and transport infrastructure characterized by top quality and wide geographical coverage of the entire Emirate. By the end of 2019, the total length of roads network increased to about 18,000 lane-kilometre compared to 8,715 lane-kilometre in 2006. Similarly, the number of pedestrian bridges and underpasses increased sharply from 13 bridges in 2006 to 119 pedestrian bridges and underpasses in 2019. RTA’s efforts to improve traffic safety has improved road accident-related fatalities from 22 cases per 100,000 of the population in 2006 to only 2.3 cases per 100,000 of the population in 2019. Equally, the total length of cycling tracks increased from just 10 km in 2006 to as much as 425 km in 2019,” said Al Tayer.
“These improvements are responsible for placing the UAE as the first country in the quality of roads worldwide throughout the years 2013-2017 and ranked first in the satisfaction index of roads and highways system 2020. The improvements in Dubai’s public transit networks contributed to increasing the share of public transport in people’s mobility from 6% in 2006 to 18% in 2019. This has boosted the competitiveness of the Emirate in hosting global events such as Expo 2020. RTA has set a goal to push the share of public transport means in people’s mobility to 26% by 2030.
“Dubai Metro, which has completed 11 years, lifted about 1.6 billion riders and achieved exceptional performance indicators in the punctuality of journeys clocking a dazzling 99.7% rate. The Metro has achieved a high assessment rate over 80% in the safety and security systems by the UK’s Office of Rail & Road.
“RTA prioritises customers and is keen on keeping their experience improving all the time to make them happier. RTA offers 317 services via a wide spectrum of channels including the website (www.rta.ae), smart apps, call centre, 7 customers happiness centres and smart kiosks. It has recently developed a package of services that rendered services more accessible such as Hala e-hailing taxis, which slashed the waiting time for taxis from 12 minutes to 3.5 minutes. It also launched the Ferry service between Dubai and Sharjah, the smart taxi (Tech Taxi) offering unique technologies, and the chatbot Mahboub through the website and the WhatsApp,” said Al Tayer.
“From inception, RTA adopted an innovative way of management. This was readily reflected on RTA’s organisational chart that separated the legislative and executive bodies and enhanced the corporate governance methodology. It has also charted an integrated strategic plan for roads and transport and developed a model for predicting future movement, and an approach to risk and opportunities management. Over the past years, RTA succeeded in adapting to government changes and directions such as the migration to the smart city, smart mobility based on autonomous vehicles, the fast adaptation to challenges and changes, resetting of priorities and benefiting from the existing resources.
“RTA has accomplished the Dubai Metro project on time despite the economic crises that hit the world at that time. It also completed sophisticated projects such as the Dubai Water Canal, the course of which intersected several vital roads and localities such as the Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Khail Road, Jumeirah and Al Wasl.
“RTA quickly adapted to the National Sterilisation Programme during the Covid-19 lockdown and switched smoothly to a remote working mode, which is credited to the high operational readiness of RTA’s technological infrastructure. Thus, RTA was able to maintain its business continuity as usual and went about the completion of its projects on schedule,” explained Al Tayer.
Shared and Flexible Transport
“To improve the quality of urban living, bring happiness to people, ease mobility to final destinations (first and last-mile), and to make suburbs, projects and attraction points well connected, RTA embarked on a master plan for shared and flexible transport. It covered non-conventional mobility means such as shared bikes, cars, scooters and buses on-demand. Other micro-mobility means loom on the horizon such as autonomous and individual mobility means.
“RTA currently provides Hala e-hailing service in partnership with Careem, where about 5,500 vehicles are registered in the app. Since launched in May 2019, Hala carried out about 8 million trips. RTA also offered bike share (Careem Bike) service encompassing 780 bikes at 78 docking stations. It has just started the trial run of e-scooter at five areas and deployed buses on-demand at five different areas in Dubai: Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai Internet City, 2nd of December St, Al-Rigga and Jumeirah Lake Towers. The service is operated by three overseas companies and two local firms supported by the Dubai SMEs,” reported Al Tayer.
“The construction of cycling tracks comes in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, to improve the quality of life, bring happiness to people and switch to a sustainable transport model characterised by minimal pollution to the environment. It also responds to the directives of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, Chairman of the Executive Council, to make Dubai a bicycle-friendly city that provides suitable mobility options and encourages people to practice cycling sport. It is also part of the Dubai Vision 2021, which aims to enhance the profile of Dubai as the world’s most preferred and safest place to live, work and visit. Accordingly, RTA embarked on the construction of cycling tracks in several areas of the Emirate. The total length of tracks constructed so far amount to 425 km. RTA intends to extend them further to as much as 688 km by 2025. These tracks will contribute to linking Dubai areas and ease the mobility across them,” commented Al Tayer.
Expo 2020 readiness
Al Tayer confirmed that RTA had accomplished most roads and transport construction projects listed under the master plan for hosting Dubai Expo 2020. “Last July, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, officially inaugurated Route 2020 for extending the Red Line of Dubai Metro 15 km from the Jebel Ali Station to the site of Expo 2020.
“In the first quarter of this year, RTA completed all phases of Roads Leading to Expo Project, which included the construction of intersections on Expo Street, improving the intersection of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Expo Street, besides constructing entry points for Expo area from the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and intersections of Expo Street with the Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street. It also completed the construction of the intersection of the Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street with Al Yalayes Street at Dubai Investment Park as well as the intersection of the Emirates Road with Expo Street. Earlier, RTA completed the improvement of the Airport Road to accommodate the anticipated growth in the number of passengers using the Dubai International Airport.
“RTA is currently working on the construction of permanent bus stations/stops to serve Expo 2020. It covers 17 stations/stops including the recently opened Ghubaiba Station, Jaffiliya and Union Stations and the bus station connected to Etisalat Metro Station. The plan encompasses the procurement of 614 buses and six temporary stations/stops for serving Expo. Two of them are in Dubai Silicon Oasis and the International City, and the other four are in the Dubai Maritime City, Palm Jumeirah, Business Bay 1, and Al-Meydan.
RTA is making every effort to keep abreast of the Government’s future directions of transforming Dubai into a smart, innovative and sustainable city that uses the cutting-edge telecommunication and digital technologies. In this regard, RTA is streaming ahead with the Dubai Self-Driving Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25% of total mobility journeys in Dubai to smart self-driving journeys by 2030. As such, enhancing smart mobility is based on three elements: customer’s centricity integrated and connected transport and motiving innovation and partnership between the public and private sectors.
RTA is also cooperating with leading technology firms worldwide in carrying out tests on various types of vehicles, autonomous mobility means, and future mobility means. It started the trial run of an autonomous electric 10-seater vehicle, and the first air taxi capable of carrying two persons. Post which RTA started trials on connected automated mobility pods operative according to the need and size of demand. It also made a pilot operation of the first autonomous taxi in the region in addition to several other initiatives to boost the leading role of Dubai in self-driving transport. RTA held the first edition of Dubai World Congress and Challenge for Self-Driving Transport bringing together senior officials, researchers, experts, specialists, scholars, policymakers and developers of autonomous transport technologies.
RTA also carried out trials on other future modes of transport such as the wireless charging of buses, electric buses, and environmentally-friendly Abras. RTA is commissioning studies on shared transit future modes such as individual mobility means, and micro-electric vehicles. RTA constructed the Enterprise Command and Control Centre, the most sophisticated in the use of smart technologies and the ability to control and integrate the existing and future multi-modal means. The Centre, which handles 75 million information per day, assists with the sound journey planning to cope with various mobility challenges in the Emirate,” explained Al Tayer.
To build on its successes over the past 15 years, RTA has updated its vision and strategic drive to align them with the UAE Centennial 2071, UAE National Agenda, Eight Principles of Dubai, 50-Year Charter, Dubai Plan 2021, and the deliverables of RTA’s innovation lab: RTA Future 2040. Accordingly, the rejuvenated vision has become: ‘The world leader in seamless & sustainable mobility’.
RTA started to introduce the implementation of the corporate agility practices at the top global standards in collaboration with reputed firms of the industry. RTA has become the first government entity in the region to initiate a change of structures embedding agility in concept and practice. It established a Corporate Agility Transformation Office to oversee the transition and raise the maturity of RTA’s corporate agility. The process covers five aspects: strategy, organizational structure, processes, human resources, and technology.
RTA is proceeding ahead with the implementation of the best global practices and standards and adopting creative solutions that lead to the introduction of quality services and projects that match to the current needs and future challenges and at the same time sustain RTA’s regional and global leadership.
“Such a drive requires fulfilling the needs of the Dubai Government, identifying the priorities of infrastructure projects ensuing from these plans and implementing transport policies and legislation for encouraging mass transit means. It also warrants sustained efforts towards migrating to smart technologies and services in collaboration with the concerned local and federal entities, besides broadening the scope of implementing traffic and modern transport technologies and systems,” concluded Al Tayer.