Dubai: Surveillance cameras, heat maps to manage flooded streets after heavy rains

New joint flood management room to monitor response plans, allocate resources to address water accumulation and improve response time by 36%

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 14 Jan 2024, 2:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 14 Jan 2024, 11:03 PM

Weather forecasts, hundreds of surveillance cameras and heat maps are among the technologies that Dubai authorities will use to manage water accumulation and traffic during heavy rains.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched a Joint Flood Management Room to monitor response plans, distribute teams, and allocate resources to address water accumulation during heavy rain. This has already resulted in faster decision-making on deploying teams and resources, leading to a 36% response and recovery time improvement.

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Heavy rains caused major roads in the emirate to flood in November last year, causing delays of up to six hours, especially in low-lying areas. Water-logged streets and rainwater pools had also caused damage to several vehicles. Historically, rains in the country have always brought significant traffic challenges, especially to those who drive between emirates.

Weather forecast

RTA is working with the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) to improve how information on weather forecasts is collected. This will step up the preparedness of relevant teams to cope with water accumulations during heavy rain and promptly broadcast messages to the public.

The authority has also formed a team with representatives from various entities to prepare a comprehensive response plan to deal with weather fluctuations. It has employed several technologies to enhance response effectiveness and improve recovery time for water accumulations from heavy rain on major roads across Dubai. These include:

Heat map (GIS Map): This will identify areas of water accumulations, in addition to the locations indicating pump sites and resources belonging to participating entities.

Video wall screen: It will display live footage from 450 surveillance cameras covering 91% of the identified areas with rainwater ponds on the city's main roads.

CITADEL communication platform: This platform will provide necessary real-time information to supervisory and field teams about the status of ongoing activities.

Mobile command vehicle (MCV): It will be equipped with surveillance cameras connected to the control room, which can be directed to cover areas not monitored by surveillance cameras.

Reaching out to public

During inclement weather, the RTA sends information and warning messages to the public through digital channels. It sends proactive messages based on information from the NCM, highlighting the need for caution and safe driving for road users via social media.

Warning messages about the impact of weather conditions on the road network and transportation means are sent out to the public via social media. Immediate warnings for drivers are also displayed as dynamic message signs on major roads in Dubai.

EC3

Located at the Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3), one of the largest and most sophisticated control centres, the Joint Flood Management Room will be operated in collaboration with partners like Dubai Police General Headquarters, Dubai Municipality, Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment, and representatives from main development areas.

The EC3 manages a transportation network comprising roads spanning more than 8,000 km. The centre features a central control room fitted with a 53-square-meter giant screen connected to 34 technical devices, enabling real-time integration. Moreover, the EC3 can process feeds from more than 7,000 surveillance cameras and use artificial intelligence in managing incidents and crises. It also uses mobile phone data for planning, managing mobility and crowd control.

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