Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s Policy Brief


An opportunity to strengthen the urban transport system is an objective that can not only enhance the local infrastructure but also increase the credibility of the city in the context of its administrative system. This appeal is directed to the Road and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai, the board that coordinates all the issues related to renovation and strategic planning projects regarding the development of the city’s transport system. Addressing this topic is of great importance for enhancing the image of Dubai on a global scale, and several valuable implications may be achieved through the implementation of relevant initiatives. As specific interventions, introducing robotic technology and automatic transport systems are objective measures that are consistent with the city’s plans to improve its digital infrastructure. The participation of the RTA in the practice of promoting the necessary innovative initiatives is a mandatory task, and an accessible substantiation base confirms the relevance of potential solutions to achieve the sustainability of urban transport in Dubai.

Background of the Issue

The importance of creating a sustainable transport system in Dubai is justified by several significant prospects. According to Al-Hosani and Salam (2018), this city is the main tourist destination in the state, and the significance of strengthening urban infrastructure and, in particular, creating an advanced and reliable transportation system is relevant to maintain its positive image. Based on the study conducted by the authors, 60.1% of tourists surveyed support the idea of ​​introducing different types of transport as a mechanism on the path to renovation and increasing the sustainability of this urban industry (Al-Hosani and Salam, 2018, p. 1000184). This ratio of votes confirms the importance of measures that can help transform the Dubai public transport industry, and the participation of the RTA in evaluating these statistical results is mandatory due to the direct interest of this board in coordinating and planning related changes.

At the moment, the public transport system in Dubai is highly developed since this network offers residents and visitors of the city convenient ways to travel, in particular, trips on modern trams. This administrative unit was the first city outside Europe to create an advanced power supply mechanism for this type of transport, which ensures passenger safety, ease of movement, and independence from contact cables (About the tram, 2020). Nevertheless, in addition to the tram system, other types of transport infrastructure also deserve attention because increased sustainability means optimization aimed at improving and enhancing convenience. Moving around the city should not take much time and, in parallel, create inconvenience to drivers of personal vehicles. Therefore, not only technical renovations are essential but also logistics changes that may allow achieving an even higher quality of service.

Another reason why the RTA’s participation is essential in enhancing the sustainability of Dubai transport infrastructure is the importance of strengthening trade interactions within the city. Ziadah (2018) notes that many public organizations use urban transport as a means of moving goods, which explains the relevance of providing resilient delivery mechanisms. In addition to ground transportation, the Dubai metro system can also be optimized based on passenger traffic and the workload of individual lines. The introduction of a sustainable monitoring system is significant about traffic congestion and the complexity of continuous movements on all city routes. Thus, the validity of the RTA’s intervention in enhancing the resilience of Dubai urban transport is explained by a natural step towards innovation, improved urban traffic, and the establishment of convenient passenger transportation.

Goals of Promoting Sustainable Urban Transport in Dubai

The implementation of the program of promoting sustainable urban transport in Dubai is in line with several significant objectives that the RTA can address as important national development goals. The practice of knowledge management may be effective to achieve them, and the board in question can increase the potential for intervention by assessing upcoming tasks correctly. Firstly, according to Yunus and Rashid (2019), opportunities to collect data about such essential parameters as traffic load, the frequency of communication among individual city locations, and other indicators that demonstrate the functioning of the transport system increase the likelihood of effective measures. The prospect of organizing a system that will work stably and reliably even in case of unforeseen situations meets the standards of ensuring the safety of the population. As a result, collecting the necessary data with their subsequent analysis and comparison of the obtained indicators based on the information from other major cities of the country should be the short-term goals of the RTA.

Secondly, the adoption of appropriate measures to strengthen the urban transportation system of Dubai is consistent to renovate the city’s infrastructure. Yunus and Rashid (2019) mention the 2030 Development Plan and argue that the city in question is one of the central objects of transformation by a long-term sustainable development program. Alawadi (2017), in turn, notes that the modernization of the Dubai transport system along with the optimization of building and landscape infrastructures are interrelated tasks and should be implemented based on the state’s sustainable development plan. In the short term, the goals of this work are based on engaging all interested parties to draw up a detailed action plan. Consequently, the RTA should assess the range of upcoming interventions to prepare an appropriate material and human resource base.

Finally, one of the significant goals of ensuring a sustainable transport system in Dubai is to establish stable communication between the city and other neighboring localities. As Ngah, Tai, and Bontis (2016) remark, the RTA is responsible for creating reliable passenger channels both inside the Emirate of Dubai and beyond. The agency has enough resources and authority to realize this goal. According to the researchers, “the population of employees in the RTA represents almost 20% of the total public sector employees in Dubai” (Ngah, Tai, and Bontis, 2016, p. 185). This means that the organization has sufficient resources to establish a system that could allow implementing the provisions of the renovation program while not stopping its activities in other spheres. Thus, the aforementioned goals are significant objectives that have a solid background and are regulated at the national level.

Potential Interventions

To implement a program for the development of sustainable urban transport in Dubai, first, the RTA needs to develop a special maintenance system that could allow controlling all interventions. This may be implemented either as part of the standard activities of the organization or as a separate project. Regarding specific changes that can be proposed, a robotic-driven mechanism may be launched as a tool for monitoring urban traffic indicators automatically. Alawaysheh et al. (2020) call this practice convenient since it allows not only calculating probable control algorithms but also eliminating any errors caused by the human factor. In addition, a fully automated system helps determine the optimal resources that may be required to resolve any unforeseen situations. This method is consistent with the innovative development and digitalization plan promoted by the UAE government.

As a broader intervention, the introduction of e-government services could enable the sustainability of the urban transport of Dubai. According to Elnaghi et al. (2019), navigating the local traffic can be greatly simplified if the monitoring of the situation on the city roads and any citizens’ appeals are processed through a special digital platform. The Dubai police example cited by the authors confirms the success of such measures and proves that control can be optimized if a corresponding platform serves as a monitoring and feedback program (Elnaghi et al., 2019). Moreover, introducing e-government services is included in the plan of the modernization of the country’s social infrastructure, which makes the issue of creating the necessary digital site a necessity but not a long-term prospect. Therefore, the RTA should take into account the experience of the Dubai police and implement the urban transport control project by using an electronic tool for monitoring and information exchange with all interested parties.

Finally, direct interaction with city road users can also be a potentially effective measure to strengthen the infrastructure in question. As an example of Uber shows, which Sharp (2018) cites, a user-friendly application fits well with the digital renovation format and finds approval among city authorities due to the exclusion of intermediaries. Periodic discussions of existing problems and ways to solve them with residents can help the RTA to not only gain credibility and trust but also receive valuable information about current issues that require addressing. At the same time, realizing this goal by engaging interested parties in the digital space is the most convenient solution. Thus, the introduction of automated control systems and virtual platforms for interacting with the public are potentially effective strategies to strengthen the urban transport of Dubai.

Positive Implications

The aforementioned interventions may be highly relevant in the context of promoting the sustainable transport system in Dubai. Lane (2019) confirms the convenience of digital interaction and any operations performed by electronic tools and notes that such a principle of communication should come in place of outdated remote methods of work via telephone or fax. In addition, the productivity and ease of the maintenance of virtual mechanisms will help minimize the costs of monitoring the situation on the city roads, which will save valuable assets for the RTA and make it possible to implement new change programs. Due to digital and robotic systems, the authorities will have accurate information on how the city transport network functions, what management gaps exist and how much time it may take to address specific shortcomings. The relevance of all these interventions is because, as Currie and De Gruyter (2018, p. 333) argue, “Dubai has one of the highest shares of its territory devoted to the use of public transit (37%)”. Therefore, strengthening control through efficient algorithms is an objectively important task in the context of providing safe public services.

Another significant implication of promoting sustainable urban transport in Dubai is the development of the tourism industry. Khan et al. (2017) note an increased interest in the UAE and the city under consideration from foreign travelers in recent years and indicate the importance of creating smart infrastructure. A well-developed transport system is one of the advantages that tourists can note during their stay in Dubai, and providing people with high-tech services for ordering vehicles, smart parking and other modern achievements maybe contribution to replenishing the city’s treasury due to the constant influx of guests. According to Khan et al. (2017), mobility as an important component of a well-developed transport system can be achieved both by offering special virtual applications and establishing a competent transport infrastructure, for instance, the construction of smart roads. The RTA should pay attention to these innovations and implement such projects, which will allow Dubai to increase the influx of tourists and, therefore, earn more money for the further improvement of the city.


The RTA, as a responsible public agency, should take the necessary measures to ensure the sustainability of urban transport in Dubai. Possible omissions and shortcomings should be addressed competently to not only satisfy the needs of residents and guests of the city but also follow the state problem of renovating the infrastructure of the country’s large administrative units. As goals, the organization should pay attention to knowledge management, establishing transport links between Dubai and neighboring cities, and implementing the 2030 Development Plan guidelines. The automation of control and the introduction of robotic mechanisms for monitoring and forecasting can improve the transport system, and several valuable implications may be achieved, in particular, the accuracy of assessing the situation on the roads and the attractiveness of Dubai as a tourist destination for foreign guests. The participation of the RTA can help realize all the assigned tasks effectively, and the organization’s management needs to pay attention to the proposed interventions.


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Ziadah, R. (2018) ‘Transport infrastructure and logistics in the making of Dubai Inc.’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 42(2), pp. 182-197.

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