UAE- Roads and Transport Authority grows by leaps and bounds

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times)

The Roads and transport Authority (RTA) marked its 10th anniversary on November 1 with huge achievements despite multiple challenges encountered from the early days of establishing the RTA. It not only took on the transfer of tasks assets and technological systems from the Dubai Municipality General HQ of Dubai Police and Dubai transportation Corporation in record time but also addressed the sourcing of competent administrative and technical cadres ease traffic congestion improve traffic safety level and increase ridership of public transport means.

Overall it has achieved over 90 per cent of its strategic plan related to upgrading the infrastructure of roads public transit means pedestrian facilities and traffic safety. 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.

Mattar Al Tayer Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA offered thanks and appreciation to His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council; and Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council for the continuous support given 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 10 years. During the first months of establishing the RTA Shaikh Mohammed endorsed the strategic plan of the RTA covering roads and public transport network in the tune of Dh75 billion. He 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 Shaikh Mohammed as well as Shaikh Hamdan and Shaikh Maktoum who were keen to launch such strategic projects like the Dubai Metro Dubai Tram marine transit modes and a variety of road projects.

"Since inception the RTA has been working to improve its performance level 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 and creativity unleashing employees' abilities and skills and achieving excellence in government administration" noted Al Tayer.

RTA services OVER the years

Traffic safety: The RTA has implemented a series of quick solutions to improve traffic in more than 120 spots which resulted in improved traffic safety and mobility. The roads safety promotion efforts made by the RTA in cooperation with the Dubai Police contributed to reducing the traffic accidents fatality rate from 22 deaths per 100000 persons in 2006 to 12.7 deaths per 100000 people in 2009.

"This downward trend continued in 2014 diving to about 3.5 deaths per 100000 persons while pedestrian fatalities rate plummeted from 8.4 deaths per 100000 persons in 2006 to less than one death per 100000 persons in 2014" said Mattar Al Tayer Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA.

Public bus fleet: The public bus fleet in Dubai soared to 1512 buses - 170 double-decker buses 996 standard buses and 346 articulated buses. New integrated bus depots were built in Jebel Ali Al Khawaneej Al Rawiyyah and Al Awir. The RTA also announced the launch of the first green bus in Dubai with clean-environment technology powered by biofuels produced from re-refining edible oil.

Dubai Metro: The Dubai Metro has 79 trains each of which consists of five coaches with a capacity of 643 riders (four riders per square metre). From the start of operations in September 2009 till September 2015 the Dubai Metro has transported more than 656 million riders.

Dubai Tram: On November 11 2014 the Dubai Tram was inaugurated. The tramway extends 11km along Al Sufouh Road starting from the Marina up to the Tram Depot near the Dubai Police Academy. It comprises 11 stations focused on high population density and business activity areas. The fleet comprises 11 trams each of which can accommodate 292 riders.

Dubai Water Canal: The Dubai Water Canal project will link the Business Bay District with the Arabian Gulf. Bridges will be built over the canal on the Shaikh Zayed Road Jumeirah Road and Al Wasl Road. The canal will also feature five marine transport stations.

Licensing: The number of vehicles registered in Dubai increased from 740000 in 2006 to 1526667 vehicles in September 2015. The total number of driving licences issued has crossed two million.

International and regional traffic safety awards received:

Prince Michael International Award for Traffic Safety in 2012 Gulf Traffic Award for Traffic Safety Achievements in 2009 and 2013 International Road Federation (IRF) award for traffic safety achievements Vital road projects Planning designing and construction of major roads and transport projects take a long time but the RTA has made several mega achievements within a short period:

Number of lanes crossing Dubai Creek increased from 19 lanes in 2006 to 48 lanes in 2015 reflecting a 153 per cent rise. Business Bay Crossing established with 13 lanes and a capacity to accommodate about 26000 vehicles per hour. The old Al Garhoud Bridge was replaced by a new one comprising 14 lanes with a capacity of 32000 vehicles per hour. The six-lane Floating Bridge was constructed using military technology. Al Maktoum Bridge widened from 9 to 11 lanes. The length of roads network extended from 8715 lane-kilometres in 2006 to 13335 lane-kilometres by the end of September 2015 recording an increase of 53 per cent. Former six-lane Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road widened to 12 lanes with a capacity of more than 24000 vehicles per hour starting from the entrance of Sharjah up to the Arabian Ranches Interchange. Emirates Road improved with 12 lanes and 15 interchanges including three flyovers and 12 underpasses for turns with a span of 72 kilometres extending from the entrance of Sharjah up to the entrance of Abu Dhabi. Al Khail Road now extends about 15 km starting from Al Meydan Road intersection to Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road intersection and comprises six lanes in each direction. Former four roundabouts have been converted to multi-level free movement interchanges. Work is currently underway to complete the construction of new parallel roads on Sheikh Zayed Road with total length of about 31 kilometres. The project includes the construction of 23 bridges extending 8km at interchanges to ensure the smooth traffic flow in the area. Cycling tracks The RTA has built cycling lanes of more than 178-km long of which 138-km track extends from Seih Assalam up to Nad Al Sheba. The project is to encourage Dubai residents to practise cycling as a sport and a hobby. It is also part of RTA's master plan to provide cycling tracks covering the emirate in its entirety.

Marine transport The RTA upgraded marine transport systems which sees over 13 million passengers every year. Shaikh Mohammed inaugurated the Dubai Ferry on March 4 2011 which can accommodate 100 passengers. It is the third project in RTA's strategic plan to upgrade the marine transit system besides the Water Bus and the Water Taxi. Over the past 10 years the RTA has completed a number of key projects including the retrofitting of 149 abras. The fleet now consists of 175 abras with renovated abra stations and marinas.

In August 2015 the RTA launched five modern abras emulating the design of traditional abras. They are eco-friendly and operate on octane fuel which produces lower carbon emissions.

Taxis Today RTA's fleet of taxi comprises 9927 vehicles including the vehicles of Dubai Taxi Corporation and franchise companies. This sector offers quality and diverse services to meet the needs of all community segments.

Since inception the RTA has been keen on operating environmentally friendly public transport. In this regard the Dubai Taxi Corporation has started operating hybrid taxis powered by both eco-friendly fuel and electricity as part of a comprehensive plan to curb pollution caused by vehicle emissions in Dubai.

In 2008 the RTA started the tentative operation of 20 hybrid vehicles to assess their feasibility. The number of hybrid vehicles jumped from 20 in 2013 to 145 in 2015.

Safe school transportation In April 2015 starting from the academic year 2015-2016 111 world-class and eco-friendly buses were deployed to transport private schools students.

The school transportation buses are equipped with state-of-the-art technologies such as Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) and Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) that are compatible with the smart geo-addressing system (Makani) of Dubai Municipality and the Tracking System through the Operations Control Centre.

Smart Services Around 173 RTA's main services have been shifted to smart services and is now offered via 10 smart apps. 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 3.7 million downloads.

The RTA further broadened its 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 shop 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.

Khaleej Times

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