Dubai shaping smart, safe transport for future

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Dubai shaping smart, safe transport for future
Delegates at the Global Manufacturing and Installation Summit held in Abu Dhabi.- Photo by Ryan Lim

Published: Wed 29 Mar 2017, 10:03 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Mar 2017, 12:13 AM

Giving a visionary and realistic assessment of future transportation, a top official from the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority said all the innovative modes of transport will take upto 10 to 15 years and safety is the top priority.
Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) Director General and Chairman of the Board Mattar Mohamed Al Tayer placed the onus on shared mobility during a keynote address on 'Transportation of the future' at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit.
Al Tayer said unlike other countries, in the UAE, it's the government and not the private sector that's leading the change in the transportation sector.
"With the Fourth industrial Revolution, new technologies are evolving rapidly. Transportation is driven by two factors - urban planning and technology. Changes in this sector will be very fast compared to any other. This requires government to address three important issues - safety, security and privacy. We have to be proactive to prepare the infrastructure for this change."
Thinking about the future, he earmarked three areas to look at. "We need to improve safety, reduce the travel time as it affects the economy and protect the environment as we talk about green economy."
He said lots of companies are investing time and money into research. "Everybody is focusing on those three areas." 
Al Tayer said even as he is optimistic about future trends, the immediate need was in addressing few main concerns. "Human safety should not be left to trial and error. New modes must be done by specialised company. We should have adequate certifications because they are meant for safety. One accident is enough to make people scared. Urban transportation must also adapt new modes. Selecting plans for urban areas is a challenge. There's need for customisation to local requirements. What's good for Paris mayn't be good for Dubai. Managing zonal limitations needs to be addressed. Funding of new transport modes and upgrading existing ones is a challenge."
Talking about future shift of transportation, he said, there are main 'common enabling factors'.
"You have to find right legislation for every different type of transport as every city had different infrastructure needs. Cost of travelling is different from country to country and the cost needs to be affordable."
Hyperloop, flying taxis
Talking about the self-driving transportation, he said: "For last 25 years, many companies are working in this field. In next 5 to 10 years, it will be widely deployed. It will require legislation regulations, ready technology, and sustainable infrastructure and most important is culture. Driving behaviour of people too is different from city to city. I expect in next 10 years, 50 per cent of the cars will have self-driving features."
On the innovative modes, he said: "The Hyperloop, flying taxis and others, in my opinion, will take more than 10 to 15 years. We need to certify that they are safe and suitable for human use. Some may be upset by this but this is a fact. Aerial personnel transport will take even longer. In the future, the aircraft legislations may change. We are governed by international regulations and you can't just play with them."
Highlighting trend of shared mobility, he said: "According to studies, one car sharing will replace 9 to 13 private vehicles. This will decrease demand of private cars. Manufacturers need to shift focus from market share to mobility share." Moving the audience, Al Tayer said there may not be any road signs in future. "It will be embedded in the car. There will be smart apps that will save billions spend on traffic signs."
He stressed on Green Mobility with higher use of electric and hybrid cars. Al Tayer said the onus is on the government to implement all the trends. -


Ashwani Kumar

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