RTA’s futuristic new command hub starts operations in Dubai

EC3 main control room
EC3 main control room

Dubai - The EC3 is geared towards operating a "streamlined transportation requirements of around 25 million visitors in 2020.

By Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 23 May 2017, 4:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 24 May 2017, 12:09 AM

With at least 3.5 billion journeys expected across Dubai by 2020, the Roads and Transport Authority's (RTA's) Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3) is now live to handle present and future transport challenges.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, together with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, inaugurated the EC3 on Monday.
Built at a cost of around Dh335m, the new nerve centre, which monitors and controls all of Dubai's mass transit, including the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, public buses, taxis and marine transit, and traffic control systems all under one roof, also supports the requisites of hosting Dubai Expo 2020, Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of RTA's Corporate Technology Support Services, told Khaleej Times during a media tour of EC3's state-of-the-art facilities on Tuesday.
Al Madani underlined that the EC3 is geared towards operating a "streamlined transportation requirements of around 25 million visitors in 2020."
The EC3, aimed at improving traffic management and easing road congestions, is the first project completed to support Expo 2020, Al Madani noted. "EC3 is responding to today's needs and to the requirements of Dubai Expo 2020 and beyond," he added.
According to the RTA, "since the start of the Metro operation, the number of metro riders has exceeded 950m; the length of roads network has doubled over the past decade; the number of registered vehicles in Dubai is expected to go beyond two million by 2020; and the number of journeys made by individuals using various mobility means in Dubai is expected to be in the region of 3.5 billion journeys by 2020. All of these considerations require an integrated control centre (EC3) to cope with future mobility challenges."
The EC3 is also capable of supporting future mobility systems like the Hyperloop, driverless cars, unmanned aerial vehicles and drones that are deployed by the RTA to monitor traffic and road condition.
Al Madani told Khaleej Times that 34 systems are connected to EC3 and it handles 55M records every day.
"Some of this information is already available to the public through the RTA apps, like the Wojhati (for information of bus timings, taxi information and bookinds, etc)," Al Madani said. "But because of EC3, more relevant information will be made available to the public to improve their mobility."
Aside from providing real-time information about the traffic situation and the condition of the transport network, the EC3 will also manage and plan major events.
On Tuesday, the RTA showed reporters a simulated study of managing traffic and people's mobility on Sheikh Zayed Road, along the Burj Khalifa area and Burj Al Arab, based on data culled from the New Year's eve celebration in 2016.
The EC3 will also work on managing emergencies and other contingencies such as flooding whilst keeping the public and media informed of any developments.
It will also act as a lab for investigating transport accidents and analyse Big Data and manage information in support of decision-making as well as to provide security and protect the operational, technological systems of the RTA against security threats and risks.

EC3 facts and figures and Dubai's rapidly growing transport network

Dh335m - rounded up cost of building EC3 (Dh160m spent for construction and furnishing; Dh143m went to developing technological systems and infrastructure; Dh29m disbursed for design and consultancy)
18 months- construction period
22 months - spent for project design, during which the initial studies and architectural contests were launched
6 - number of cosmopolitan cities the EC3 was benchmarked, these include Singapore, Seoul, London, New York, Houston and Tokyo. The EC3 was also benchmarked with other major cities with similar control centres.
55m - records are processed and evaluated every day at EC3; the big data is expected to grow rapidly by 2020
24/7 - crisis management centre
11,231- CCTV cameras are utilised for overall planning and coordination of transportation network
6,996 square meters - project's land plot          
10,900 square meters - total built floor area
Total area of Main Control room - 430 square meters, rising 13 meters in height, with a capacity to house 35 staffs and supervisors per shift -
74 slots - to park vehicles inside the compound plus outdoor yard for parking; also easily accessible by Metro (right across Emirates Metro station)
Gold Class mark from LEED's Green Buildings Certification for its environment-friendly specifications, efficient use of water and energy and for its building quality
The design of the building renders an iconic landmark in Dubai, which has unique facilities in abundance.
The external glazing of the centre has special features rendering it resistant to tremors and seismic activities.
25m - visitors expected in 2020
500m - rail passengers by 2020
292m - taxi passengers by 2020
354% - growth in road networks from 1991 till date

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