Good public transport is vital element to a city's liveability strategy. His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer explains how Dubai Roads and Transport Authority are on a mission to make commuters happier
What do you understand by a city that is liveable?
We see this as the degree to which a city is safe, healthy and affordable. A liveable city has reliable and well-maintained infrastructure, a large array of effective public services and a promising economic outlook. The provision of the required infrastructure is a key driver for economic growth of the city. Cities that value sustainable development, good governance and smart administration, and that provide for the needs of their residents – from healthcare to education, through employment and mobility – are more liveable. It’s all about the physical and moral well-being of the people. To make the link with Dubai’s overarching vision: liveable cities are cities where people are happy.
How do you think Dubai embodies it?
Dubai ranks among the top cities in the world for infrastructure and service provision, technology, innovation and economic dynamism. The fact that Dubai has succeeded in welcoming people from a multitude of nations who work and live side by side peacefully certainly indicates a high level of liveability. But this is not enough. Dubai government departments, agencies and service providers share an ambition to make people happy, not only content or satisfied. This ambition is embodied at the highest level of UAE government by the creation of the Ministry of Happiness, as announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai.
We will continue developing and expanding the city mobility system with more of a focus on raising the level of integration between different transport modes
What about liveability in terms of public transport?
Public transport in the region is improving and the culture of public transport is progressing rapidly. There is an increasing acknowledgement in the region of the key role of public transport in achieving a sustainable and integrated mobility system. Governments have committed to significant improvements to public transport services, particularly introducing new rail systems following the success of such a system in Dubai. The current Dubai Red and Green Metro lines are up and running very successfully. In 2015 the number of passengers carried by the two lines exceeded 182.7 million while the total number of passengers served by all of the public transport modes and taxis is around 512.5million. Currently we are working on the extension of the Red line to the Expo 2020 site. The RTA is also concentrating on making its entire public transport system truly integrated and easily accessible to all.
What areas are you looking to improve?
The RTA provides an array of modes of transport in Dubai, including rail services in the form of Metro and tram, a wide network of bus services and several forms of marine transport services, including ferries, water taxis and abras. Dubai is a dynamic city that has continued to develop at a rapid pace and the RTA strives to ensure that the city’s transport system grows accordingly. The RTA’s flexible approach to dealing with the city’s transport needs has resulted in improving the city mobility system in a drastic way and in providing the many modes and transport services available in the city today.
The RTA will continue to anticipate and embrace new technologies and fresh solutions to transport needs. In the future, we will continue developing and expanding the city mobility system with more of a focus on raising the level of integration between different transport modes and between those modes and their surrounding areas, providing for the first and last-mile mobility requirements, fostering the role of public transport in general and the feeder services in particular to provide better connectivity between public transport stations and their surroundings. In this context, the RTA has embarked on a programme to enhance the walkability around its main transport modes to ensure that accessibility and connectivity are available between transport modes as well as between transport modes and surrounding land uses.