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Dubai saves Dh210 billion thanks to 'smart' transport and traffic projects

The emirate more than doubled its road network over the past 14 years

Dubai saved Dh210 billion ($57.18bn) in working hours, time and fuel between 2006 and 2020 thanks to investment in roads and transport infrastructure, officials have said.

About Dh140bn was spent over the 14-year period to improve the roads and transport network in the emirate.

Dubai more than doubled its road network from 8,715 kilometres to 18,255km during that time, and increased the number of vehicle bridges and tunnels from 129 in 2006 to 844 in 2020.

“Similarly, we have increased the number of pedestrian bridges and tunnels by four times from 26 to 125 around the same time, and extended our cycling track network from 9km in 2006 to 463km in 2020. It is expected to reach 668km by 2025,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director general and chairman of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

He made the announcement during his address at the 18th International Road Federation World Meeting and Exhibition in Dubai.

The authority completed mega projects in “record time” during that period under the direction of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and other leaders, Mr Al Tayer said according to state news agency Wam.

“The Dubai Metro project, [was] delivered in just four years, and the Dubai Water Canal project [was] completed in less than three years," he said.

"The RTA’s projects have cemented the competitiveness of the UAE, which had consequently been ranked number one in road quality worldwide for five years in a row.”

Smart traffic systems

Joint efforts with Dubai Police have helped to reduce road accident fatalities from 22 cases to 1.8 for every 100,000 people between 2006 and 2020, and reduced pedestrian fatalities from 9.5 to 0.5 for every 100,000 people between 2007 and 2020, he said.

The use of artificial intelligence has been vital to this, Mr Al Tayer said.

The Dubai Centre for Intelligent Traffic Systems was inaugurated by Sheikh Mohammed in November 2020.

It cost Dh590 million and centralises a network of smart cameras linked to databases.

"The centre raised the percentage of road network coverage with smart traffic systems from 11 per cent to 60 per cent, which is expected to increase to 100 per cent by 2023,” Mr Al Tayer said.

Technology has also been useful in managing parking, with machine-learning technology capable of scanning more than 10,000 parking spaces every hour, with 99 per cent accuracy, and issuing tickets for breaches automatically.

Mr Al Tayer also discussed the emirate’s goal for one in four journeys to be driverless by 2030.

“This strategy differs from other strategies as it includes all public and private modes of transport, such as the metro, buses, marine transportation, taxis and private vehicles, as opposed to numerous cities focusing on a limited number of modes of transportation," he said.

“In this regard, the RTA signed a partnership agreement with General Motors-Cruise to operate GM’s autonomous vehicles to deliver taxi and shared mobility services by 2023, which would make Dubai the first city in the world, outside America, to operate these vehicles,” he said.

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