The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is celebrating on November 1st 2015, its 10th anniversary with huge achievements despite multiple challenges encountered from the early days of establishing the RTA.
It had to tackle right from the beginning the transfer of tasks, assets and technological systems from the Dubai Municipality, General HQ of Dubai Police, and Dubai Transportation Corporation in a record time. It had also to address the sourcing of competent administrative & technical cadres, ease the traffic congestion, improve the traffic safety level, and increase the ridership of public transport means.
Overall, it has managed to achieve more than 90% of its strategic plan covering matters related to upgrading the infrastructure of roads, public transit means, pedestrian facilities and traffic safety. The flagship projects of the decade are the Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram, followed by the sprawling network of roads, underpasses, flyovers as well as public transit systems and a variety of marine transit modes.
HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, offered thanks and appreciation to HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council, and HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council, for the huge & continuous support they lend to the RTA.
“The bright vision and the continuous support accorded to the RTA by the leadership of the Emirate is the underlying factor of the achievements made over the past ten years. During the first months of establishing the RTA, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum endorsed the strategic plan of the RTA covering roads and public transport network in the tune of AED 75 billion. HH directed all other government departments and entities to extend every support to the RTA during the establishment period. Multiple visits to the RTA were made by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as well as HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who were keen to launch such strategic projects like the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, marine transit modes and a variety of road projects.
“From inception, the RTA attended to improving its performance level, and keeping abreast of successive changes everywhere. It took early action to bolster its ability to introduce modern administrative concepts focused on serving customers better to make them happier, promoting resources, simplifying procedures, encouraging innovation & creativity, unleashing employees’ abilities & skills, and achieving excellence in government administration,” noted Al Tayer.
The RTA embarked on sorting out solutions for challenges confronting the transportation system in Dubai; which focused on easing the traffic congestion involving a financial burden of about AED 5.9 billion worth of time wasted in traffic congestion, traffic accidents related fatalities of about 21.7 cases per 100 thousand of population compared to 5 cases in countries like the UK and 6 cases in Sweden. Challenges also included the limited use of mass transit systems which was not more than 6 per cent compared to 40 per cent in developed countries and even hits 70 per cent in certain countries. Challenges also included serving the requirements of the rapid urban & economic expansion of the Dubai where traffic growth rate clocked 13 per cent per annum compared to 2 to 3 per cent in European cities. The annual growth of Dubai’s population was in excess of 6 per cent during the period 2005 – 2008 whereas the corresponding rate in most European cities was not more than 2 per cent. Equally the increase in the number of registered vehicles in Dubai was as high as 17 per cent per annum at a time where the prevailing corresponding rate was not more than 4 per cent in European cities.
To confront these challenges, the RTA developed a flexible organizational chart separating legislation from construction. It developed a comprehensive plan for upgrading roads network and public transit systems, set a model for forecasting the future traffic movement in the Emirate, and adopted quick solutions in more than 120 locations. It has also undertaken concurrent projects and accomplished them in a record time such as the Floating Bridge, Al Garhoud Bridge, Dubai Metro, and the Business Bay Crossing. It has also developed a high-quality mass transit system comprising the metro, tram, buses and marine transit modes, besides adopting smart technologies to ease the mobility of people.
The RTA has taken the pains of providing premium customer services, and is keen to diversify the services offering outlets highlighted by smart apps where 173 RTA’s main services have been shifted to smart services offered via 10 smart apps. This falls in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, by migrating to the smart government ahead of schedule. The RTA apps are unique, smart, innovative, creative and user-friendly in a way that gives users satisfaction, as proven by the huge download rate of RTA apps which has clocked 3.667 million downloads.
The RTA further broadened its smart services in October 2015 by launching the Smart Mall App in five metro stations. The App, which is the first of its kind worldwide, allows users to do shopping via an interactive innovative screen. It has also launched 100 smart air-conditioned bus shelters for public transport users, where the public can enjoy free internet connection, in addition to a variety of other services.
The RTA adopted innovative solutions to face the transportation challenges in Dubai. Thanks to the support of the wise leadership, the RTA has managed to create innovative customer services to bring happiness to the public. It has a standing innovation committee whose mission is to develop plans, design programs and launch initiatives to contribute to implementing the leadership’s vision of rendering Dubai the most innovative city in the world.
The RTA also established a research, development and innovation section in 2014 and launched an annual scientific research award. It adopted the innovation strategy, which is currently being developed by an international consultant in keeping with the Government drive. It had also launched the Innovation Lab Initiative to adopt the world’s best practices in various RTA operations, which would contribute to the realization of RTA’s vision of ensuring ‘Safe and Smooth Transport for All.’
The RTA has recently started the project of transforming 100 air-conditioned bus stations into smart stations that enable passengers to enjoy a diverse array of RTA services. It has launched the Smart Mall initiative in 5 metro stations; and as part of its efforts to utilize the latest technologies in smart mobility, the RTA is currently considering the use of smart autonomous vehicles in Dubai to be used in Expo 2020.
The RTA is going ahead with its drive to meet the requirements of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2021, and prioritize the construction of infrastructure projects as spelled out in these plans. The RTA is poised to launch a wide-ranging matrix of projects, including the Route 2020 Project of extending the Dubai Metro Red Line from Nakheel Harbour & Tower station to Expo 2020 site, in addition to the project of constructing a network of highways, as well as entry and exits leading to Expo site. The projects also include upgrading Airport Road, Al Wasl and Jumeirah Roads, and the International City Road, in addition to the parallel roads project at the Gardens, as well as the Academic City Road Improvement Project, Al Fay Street Improvement Project, among many other mass transit projects.
The RTA also seeks to implement transport policies and legislations to encourage the use of mass transit systems in cooperation with the local and federal concerned bodies. It also intends to broaden the scope of traffic systems & modern transportation technologies, and raise awareness of users of road networks and transportation systems towards encouraging the use of mass transit means, promoting safety levels, reducing traffic accidents fatality rates and implementing a set of initiatives & procedures to encourage walking and cycling in short trips. More info