H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), stated that the shrewd vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, enabled the Dubai Emirate to thrive and prosper like no other city in the region, rendering it a creative city punctuated with investment projects spanning airports, ports, rail and transport systems.
Al Tayer made this statement in the Engineers Society Forum recently held in Kuwait where he reviewed RTA’s experiment (foundation, challenges and achievements) in the presence of H.E. Dr. Fadil Safar, State Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Public Works; Dr. Engineer Husam Al Kharafi, Chairman of Kuwaiti Engineers Society; Engineer Adel Al Kharafi, President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations; and Engineer Abdullah Fahad Al Anzi, Member of the Municipal Council and Chairman of the Technical Committee; and a number of officials and engineers in Kuwait.
RTA Chairman of the Board and Executive Director Mattar Al Tayer briefed the participants on the challenges encountered by the RTA from inception and achievements made in its transition to mass transit modes in Dubai.
Al Tayer said, “RTA was established to provide an excellent roads and transport infrastructure that supports the vision of Dubai Emirate, consolidate the roles and responsibilities of developing roads and transport systems in the Emirate under a Single Service Management, address the overriding challenges highlighted by the traffic congestion and traffic safety issues, and introduce a new structural thinking based on a corporate system. From the start, RTA faced a number of challenges topped by the transfer of roles, assets and technological systems from the Dubai Municipality, the General HQ of Dubai Police and Dubai Transport Corporation in a record time.
It also had to source the competent administrative and technical staff and sort out the traffic congestion which costs the Emirates about 4.8 billion worth of losses in terms of time wasted in tailbacks. Challenges also included traffic safety issues where traffic fatality rate was as high as 22 cases per 100 thousand of population in 2006 compared to 5 – 6 cases in countries like Britain and Sweden. RTA had also got to cope with the limited use of mass transit systems; which accounted for no more than 6% whereas this rate was as high as 40 – 80% in the advanced countries, and keep abreast of the needs of the fast economic and urban development seen by the Emirate of Dubai.”
“RTA has therefore developed plans to overcome these challenges. As far as the transfer of roles and assets is concerned, RTA formed joint work teams with various concerned departments. In the field of human resources, RTA attracted qualified individuals locally and abroad, sought the support of specialist recruitment agencies and dispatched specialized teams to various countries to select qualified personnel. In the field of traffic safety, RTA set out an integrated program aimed at gradually reducing traffic fatalities where the number of fatalities dropped from 22 cases per 100 thousand of population in 2006 to 8 cases in 2010. In the field of protecting the environment from carbon emissions, the plan envisaged the introduction of Euro 4 standards on vehicles emissions and made the satisfaction of the environmental standards a standing requirement in all newly procured buses.
As to the traffic congestion issues, RTA undertook a number of road and bridge projects and accordingly the number of lanes crossing over Dubai Creek has jumped from 19 lanes to 48 lanes recording in the process a 153% increase. The total length of roads network in Dubai Emirate increased from 8715 km in 2005 to more than 11208 km in 2010 (a 29% increase), the number of bridges increased from 108 to 319 bridges (a 195% increase), the number of tunnels increased from 21 to 54 tunnels (a 57% increase), and the number of pedestrian crossings increased from 25 to 74% (a 71% increase),” Al Tayer said.
“RTA also attended to a radical modernization of mass transit systems through undertaking the Dubai Metro, the world’s longest metro project undertaken as a single project stretching 75 km and spanning 47 stations. Phase I of the project (Red Line) was opened on 9/9/2009 and next September the Green Line will be opened. RTA also modernized the bus fleet which was beefed up from 620 buses in 2005 to 1421 buses in 2010 and 800 air-conditioned bus shelters for waiting bus passengers were constructed throughout the Emirate.
Modernization drive also covered the marine transit systems; which were previously restricted to traditional abras but today include the water bus, water taxi and ferry Dubai, besides engaging in the trial run of abras CNG-powered abras. Thanks to these projects, the number of mass transit users jumped from 163 thousand riders in 2005 to 309 million riders in 2010. moreover, work is up and running in the construction of Al Safouh Tram; extending 14 km covering 19 stations; which is expected to be operational in mid 2014,” continued Al Tayer.
In his speech, Al Tayer touched on the e-services offered by the RTA where the transition rate has clocked 100% of all services previously agreed upon with the Dubai e-Government. Services include vehicle registration, payment of fines, payment of parking fees through the mobile phone (mParking), the Dynamic Navigation System (Dalili), upgrading of the traffic technologies, toll gate systems (Salik) and other programs namely Wojhati, Sharekni and Awselni aimed at enhancing the role of public transport. It also posted the details of public transport on Google Maps, thus Dubai became the first MENA city that managed to post its public transport network in the digital space (Google Maps). RTA also launched innovative e-services such as the online taxi booking system or through an SMS.
Al Tayer concluded his speech by reviewing the key excellence aspects of the RTA which revolve around five elements namely: Leadership, result-oriented, quality-driven, customer centricity and caring for human resources. He stated that the implementation of these principles contributed to RTA receiving coveted local, regional and international awards.
The speech delivered by Al Tayer was well received and praised by senior Kuwaiti officials who were impressed with the massive efforts and achievements made by the RTA in a record time. They also commended RTA strategic plan set for upgrading mass transit systems in Dubai Emirate as well as the integrated and balanced approach adopted by the RTA in its transport and traffic strategic plan.
During the visit, Al Tayer was accompanied by the Acting CEO of Strategy and Corporate Governance Sector Nasir Hamad Bu Shehab, Director of Development and Corporate Performance Ahmed Al Hamadi, and Manager of Public Relations and Events Fahad Hadi.