Public transportation is fundamental to the livability of any country. It has become one of the most important infrastructural pillars in the modern-day world.
With millions of people depending on this mode of travel, there is an increasing need for better quality and further integrated public transport systems both abroad, and at home in the UAE.
The structure of a city and its transportation services has a major impact on the lifestyles of its residents.
As a country with various growing urban centers, the UAE requires well-planned-out strategies and policies to ensure that the quality of life of its residents, is not adversely affected by rapid development.
Questions regarding the sustainability of car-dependent cities have resulted in a renewed interest in public transportation and the increasing need to better its efficiency.
In the UAE, experts have noted that expanding the public transportation network and enhancing road infrastructure will not be enough to ease traffic congestion and improve public transportation in the UAE in general.
Facilitated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai’s public transport network currently consists of the Dubai Metro, buses, water buses, and taxis.
RTA plans to increase the share of public transport in Dubai from where it currently sits at 15 to 30 per cent by 2030.
To put this into perspective, public transport accounts for above 60 per cent in other major cities such as New York and London.
At its young age, the UAE has one of the best public transport shares in the region, though it is still working to develop its network to match the level of some of the most developed countries in the world.
Dubai has set its target to less than half of London’s public transport share, but this will require well-structured policies on solutions to be put in place to help achieve, if not exceed, this target by 2030.
Enhancing the public transport network in the UAE also promises a wide range of mobility, safety, and economic benefits to people and businesses.
Beyond that, it also offers significant environmental advantages that contribute to a better quality of life.
Not only does the increased use of public transport decrease traffic and road congestion, but it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Less vehicles on the road means less required infrastructure, fewer road repairs, and significantly lower demand for new roads.
Cities with effective public transport infrastructure are known to have better security and reduced crime rates, according to a recent study.
The more individuals use public transport, the less the number of cars on the road which results in fewer accidents.
Increased public transport infrastructure also has the potential to boost the employment rate and provide individuals with opportunities they may not have otherwise had.
Bettering the public transportation network in the UAE will also bring ease to those suffering from disabilities by making travel easier and more accessible.
The RTA is currently working to expand the rail network to 421 km by 2030, while options such as autonomous transport systems and marine transport designed to navigate the creek and coasts are also being developed.
In addition, the Hyperloop One transport link is also being designed to facilitate speedy transportation between the Emirates.
By 2020, Dubai will become home to the world’s first Hyperloop One transport link. This multi-billion-dollar super-transport system is expected to lessen travel time between Dubai and the country’s capital to as little as 12 minutes.
The Hyperloop One will create a completely new and integrated means of transportation, and will place the UAE at the forefront of transportation technology and innovation.