RTA@10: Has it redefined mobility?

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RTA@10: Has it redefined mobility?
The number of registered vehicles in Dubai rocketed by 106% in nine years - from 740,000 in 2006 to 1,526,667 vehicles as at September 2015.

Dubai - Residents wonder why traffic still in the slow lane despite big projects.

by Dhanusha Gokulan

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Published: Sat 31 Oct 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 1 Nov 2015, 11:41 PM

Traffic jams, busy streets and long queues at taxi stands and bus stops are common sights in Dubai. Motorists in the emirate constantly complain about the number of hours they spend on the road due to heavy traffic.
With Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) celebrating its 10th anniversary today, the authority has said it has achieved over 90 per cent of its strategic plans. The authority's flagship projects of the decade are the Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram. It has built sprawling networks of roads, underpasses, flyovers and a variety of marine transit modes.
According to the RTA, it has increased the share of public transport means in the mobility of people from less than six per cent in 2006 to about 14 per cent in 2014, and is still seeking to reach the target of 30 per cent in 2030.
Despite these achievements, road users say they are stuck in traffic for several hours. According to some residents, the traffic situation has worsened in recent times.
Egyptian national Kareem Farouk has been living in Dubai for the last three years. He told Khaleej Times: "I use public transport because it is convenient and getting a driver's licence in the UAE is very hard ... Though Metro coaches are very crowded, when I look at the highways, I realise that car drivers have it worse than regular public transport users."
Indian national Zara Afas said: "I live in Al Nahda, Sharjah. I have to leave home two hours earlier if I need to get to Dubai for work at 9am. Sometimes, I leave home as early as 5.30am just to avoid traffic.
"In the last 10 years I've been living here, I haven't seen traffic jams as bad as I am seeing right now ... Thursdays are the worst."
Many residents prefer public transport over private transport.
Indian national Ansar Kuttiyal has been living in Dubai for the last three years. He said: "I use the Metro to travel mainly because I don't get stuck in traffic. However, during the peak hours there is no place to even stand inside the Metros ... Even the 'Gold Class' of the Metro is very crowded."
Kuttiyal said during the rush hours, taxi drivers refuse to go to certain areas. "The Metro is a very efficient means of public transport ... I just wish that it get extended to all other emirates as well."
Yael Abvel, a Filipino, said: "The Metro is very convenient ... but during the rush hour it is very inconvenient." However, Abvel said in comparison to the traffic rush in her hometown, the traffic is Dubai is "nothing".
Javed Khamisiani, the curator of the Twitter account @trafficdxb, said: "According to recent reports, we would have 10 per cent more cars on roads in Dubai, which means more traffic. Of course that is one of the main problems, but the real problem is driving etiquettes. People just don't want to slow down or adhere to basic traffic rules.
"Very few people use indicators to change lanes and I think lane cutting is a big reason for accidents - both big and small."

How RTA services have grown 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 100,000 persons in 2006 to 12.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009.
"This downward trend continued in 2014, diving to about 3.5 deaths per 100,000 persons, while pedestrian fatalities rate plummeted from 8.4 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2006 to less than one death per 100,000 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 1,512 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 lifted 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.
Roads network: The number of lanes crossing the Dubai Creek soared from 19 lanes in 2006 to 48 in 2015. Several vital projects have been executed, including the 13-lane Business Bay Crossing with a capacity of about 26,000 vehicles per hour. The RTA replaced the old Al Garhoud Bridge with a new one comprising 14 lanes, with a capacity of 32,000 vehicles per hour. The six-lane Floating Bridge has also been constructed using military technology, in addition to widening Al Maktoum Bridge from nine to 11 lanes.
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 740,000 in 2006 to 1,526,667 vehicles by the end of September 2015. The total number of driving licences issued has crossed 2 million.- dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

Dhanusha Gokulan
Dhanusha Gokulan

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