| TRANS­PORT

LogisticsNews Middle East - - Contents - By Me­hak Sri­vas­tava

'ueai 57A of½cials com­ment on up­com­ing projects and ex­pan­sion plans

The Roads and Trans­port Au­thor­ity (RTA) of Dubai has been ex­e­cut­ing, man­ag­ing, and en­hanc­ing trans­port and traf­fic projects in the emi­rate since its in­cep­tion in 2005. With ex­em­plary pub­lic trans­port ser­vices such as the Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram to its credit, and its drive to in­cor­po­rate sus­tain­able and tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced fea­tures into the heart of Dubai, the or­gan­i­sa­tion has re­ceived plenty of praise and ac­co­lades for its achieve­ments. We speak to RTA of­fi­cials to gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the cur­rent and up­com­ing plans of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, es­pe­cially with the ad­vent of Expo 2020.

DUBAI METRO

The Dubai Metro was launched as part of a com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy which aims to in­crease the share of pub­lic tran­sit to 30% by 2030. RTA has de­vel­oped a Rail Mas­ter Plan, which de­fines fu­ture rail routes re­quired to serve the growth and de­vel­op­ments in Dubai.

Fu­ture plans for Dubai Metro in­clude the im­prove­ment of the cur­rent ser­vice, as well as the devel­op­ment of new ex­ten­sions; Route 2020, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, will con­nect the Dubai Metro Red­line from Nakheel

Har­bour and Tow­ers Sta­tion to Expo 2020 site (in Dubai South Dis­trict), with an ad­di­tional 15km of tracks and seven new sta­tions. The line will be op­er­a­tional in 2020, serv­ing ex­ist­ing and fu­ture de­vel­op­ments be­side the Expo site along the pro­posed route.

An ad­di­tional 50 new trains will be added to Dubai metro fleet by year 2020, to cater to the Expo 2020 re­quire­ments and to in­crease the fre­quency of the cur­rent metro ser­vices, which will help in pro­vid­ing bet­ter and ef­fi­cient pub­lic trans­port fa­cil­i­ties.

Other planned metro-re­lated projects in­clude the Green Line Ex­ten­sion which is go­ing to ex­tend the cur­rent ser­vices of Dubai Metro Green Line to new de­vel­op­ing sub­urbs; namely the La­goons, In­ter­na­tional City, Sil­i­con Oa­sis, and Aca­demic City. An­other key devel­op­ment in­cludes ex­tend­ing the Red Line from Rashidiya dis­trict to the Mirdif area.

Mean­while, RTA is cur­rently up­dat­ing the ex­ist­ing Dubai Rail Mas­ter Plan for rail projects re­quired to serve the de­vel­op­ments in Dubai for the next 20 years.

ROAD TRANS­PORT

RTA has reg­is­tered rapid progress in im­prov­ing the qual­ity of pub­lic trans­port in the emi­rate of Dubai since its in­cep­tion in 2005.

In 2018, RTA aims to con­tinue to cre­ate new links, ex­pand­ing the net­work cov­er­age, and al­le­vi­at­ing crowd­ing and in­creas­ing ca­pac­ity on high per­form­ing routes. It also plans to op­ti­mise the re­source utilisation in line with the de­mand pat­tern.

In ad­di­tion, ma­jor projects such as the Share Mo­bil­ity Mas­ter Plan (SMMP) and Bus Rapid Tran­sit (BRT), aim to iden­tify the in­crease in bus ser­vices to cor­re­spond with pop­u­la­tion growth and travel de­mand. Other strate­gies in­clude in­tro­duc­tion of ad­di­tional ex­clu­sive bus lanes to re­duce the travel time and en­hance the ap­peal of pub­lic trans­port; link­ing all new de­vel­op­ments with bus routes; im­prov­ing modal­in­te­gra­tion; and en­hanc­ing the reach and qual­ity of pub­lic trans­port prod­uct in­for­ma­tion.

Com­pre­hen­sive pub­lic trans­port plans are be­ing worked out to ef­fi­ciently cater to the travel de­mand es­ti­mated to be gen­er­ated dur­ing Expo 2020. Bus ser­vices have been cal­cu­lated to sup­port the ex­ten­sion of Red metro line to Expo 2020 venue, in­clud­ing ded­i­cated bus ser­vices from strate­gic lo­ca­tions in the city to the event venue.

Fur­ther­more, en­hance­ment of feeder bus net­work be­tween metro sta­tions and neigh­bor­hoods, and high-fre­quency shut­tle buses be­tween Expo metro sta­tion/park­ing lots and var­i­ous lo­ca­tions within the venue will help fa­cil­i­tate easy move­ment for all vis­i­tors. Strong taxi pres­ence at ho­tels hous­ing Expo del­e­gates/ ex­hibitors and vis­i­tors, plus ex­clu­sive bus lanes will save trav­ellers time to and from the site.

There are also plans to pur­chase a new bus fleet and con­struc­tion of new de­pots to ac­com­mo­date the ex­pected in­crease in de­mand, to be used in the net­work ex­pan­sion in the fu­ture.

DUBAI WA­TER CANAL

The Dubai Wa­ter Canal is one of the most im­por­tant tourism projects in Dubai, trans­form­ing the land­scape and fea­tures of the emi­rate, which has es­tab­lished it­self as a shin­ing ex­am­ple for cities around the world. This land­mark is ex­pected to at­tract more than 30 mil­lion vis­i­tors per year.

Dubai Wa­ter Canal project con­trib­utes to up­grad­ing the so­cial in­fra­struc­ture of the emi­rate of Dubai, in terms of qual­ity pub­lic health of the com­mu­nity, of­fer­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for leisure, at­tract­ing mil­lions of vis­i­tors, both res­i­dents and tourists, and adding value to the sur­round­ing ar­eas as well as breath-tak­ing views.

The 3.2km canal ex­ten­sion ranges 80-120m in width and cuts through Dubai’s main artery, the Sheikh Zayed Road, across Safa Park and into the res­i­den­tial Jumeirah dis­trict, even­tu­ally meet­ing the Ara­bian Gulf. This adds 6.4km of water­front and cre­ates 80,000sqm for pub­lic space and fa­cil­i­ties, plus a 3km run­ning track, 12km cy­cling path, and a board­walk with smart light­ing util­is­ing LED lights— a first for a Dubai road project, which has re­sulted in nearly 33% lesser power con­sump­tion.

There is also a me­chan­i­cal wa­ter­fall, where the canal meets the Sheikh Zayed Road Bridge. This mo­tion-op­er­ated cas­cade pumps wa­ter through the bridge in a con­stant flow, vis­i­ble from the board­walk, and can be switched off when a sen­sor de­tects a boat nearby. This is the first time such a wa­ter fea­ture has been im­ple­mented in the GCC.

Five pedes­trian bridges are avail­able— in­clud­ing three across the canal with a unique de­sign— al­low­ing pub­lic move­ments to ei­ther side of the canal at key points, giv­ing pho­tog­ra­phers and view­ers the op­por­tu­nity to ad­mire wa­ter ves­sels pass­ing by be­low.

A man-made penin­sula, formed at the end of the canal, will serve as an ex­ten­sion of Jumeirah Beach Park, adding a kilo­me­tre of sandy beach and in­creas­ing the recre­ational ac­tiv­ity space in the area.

The Dubai Wa­ter Canal has opened up new marine trans­port op­tions us­ing the Dubai Ferry, Wa­ter Taxi, Wa­ter Bus, and Abras, con­nect­ing the his­toric ar­eas of Deira and Bur Dubai through the ex­tended wa­ter­way of Dubai Creek, Busi­ness Bay, and Dubai Wa­ter Canal. At the re­cently held Dubai In­ter­na­tional Boat Show, RTA in­tro­duced the newly air-con­di­tioned abra.

RTA in­tends to turn the wa­ter­way into a first­class marine trans­port hub, with five sta­tions serv­ing six mil­lion pas­sen­gers an­nu­ally. Four

ad­di­tional sta­tions are avail­able in the Busi­ness Bay Canal, and one mil­lion riders are ex­pected to use Dubai Canal’s marine trans­port by 2020.

THE FU­TURE IS NOW

One of RTA’S most re­cent drives—and one that has been gar­ner­ing plenty of at­ten­tion— is au­tonomous ve­hi­cles. At the re­cently held World Gov­ern­ment Sum­mit 2018, RTA launched the tests of the world’s first au­tonomous pods. The au­tonomous pods are de­signed to travel short and medium dis­tances in ded­i­cated lanes. They can be cou­pled in 15 to 20 sec­onds or de­tached, depend­ing on the des­ti­na­tion of riders, in five sec­onds. The au­tonomous pods are fit­ted with cam­eras and electro­mechan­i­cal tech­nolo­gies, and each pod mea­sures 2.87m in length, 2.24m in width and 2.82m in height. It weighs about 1500kg and has a ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date ten riders (six seated, four stand­ing). The au­tonomous pod is fit­ted with a bat­tery that sup­ports three hours of op­er­a­tion; which is charge­able in three hours. Its av­er­age speed is 20km/h. The au­tonomous pods have three pro­tec­tion sys­tems in or­der to en­sure full con­trol and avoid crash­ing into any body. The main sys­tem com­prises 3D cam­eras, and the sec­ond one is a standby sys­tem based on or­di­nary cam­eras, and the last is op­er­ated man­u­ally by the op­er­a­tor. RTA is also in talks with VIMANA, a blockchain airspace cat­e­gory cre­ator, to take for­ward the lat­ter’s fleet of ver­ti­cal take-off and land­ing au­tonomous aerial ve­hi­cles (VTOL AAVS). A dom­i­nant player in the $1tn blockchain airspace mar­ket, VIMANA has de­signed a break­through, patent-pend­ing tech­nol­ogy, that al­lows the com­pany to com­bine ca­pa­bil­i­ties of an air­plane, he­li­copter, and un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle (UAV) on a sin­gle plat­form, and use blockchain tech­nol­ogy to op­er­ate its air­craft and en­able blockchain ap­pli­ca­tions in the air at the same time. VIMANA’S fleet of VTOL AAVS are a mar­vel of aero­space en­gi­neer­ing, de­signed to be lo­calised by “smart cities” (like Dubai) via li­cens­ing deals, to en­able lo­cal mass pro­duc­tion.

COM­MU­NITY TAKES PRECE­DENCE

RTA attaches great im­por­tance to road safety, given its vi­sion of safe and smooth trans­port for all. It aims to en­hance trans­port and traf­fic safety to re­duce ac­ci­dents and fa­tal­i­ties. RTA has al­ready taken steps to re­duce the speed lim­its of roads that wit­ness el­e­vated traf­fic vol­umes. RTA works closely with Dubai Po­lice, as well as other fed­eral au­thor­i­ties, to re­duce the oc­cur­rence of ac­ci­dents, in­clud­ing host­ing train­ing pro­grammes. RTA is also ac­tively in­volved in so­cial and hu­man­i­tar­ian causes. One of their ‘Day for Dubai’ ini­tia­tives in­cluded ‘Kiswat Khair’ (fine cloth­ing), aimed at group­ing ef­forts of RTA vol­un­teers to re­cy­cle dis­carded clothes of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s park­ing at­ten­dants, bus driv­ers, taxi driv­ers, and tech­ni­cal cadres. Vol­un­teers will sort out, ad­just, and re­pair these clothes, and iron them to make them pre­sentable. They will be dis­trib­uted in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Red Cres­cent so­ci­eties and other con­cerned par­ties to those in need.

Mattar Al Tayer, di­rec­tor-gen­eral and chair­man of the Board of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tors, speaks at the World Gov­ern­ment Sum­mit 2018

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