Wednesday 19 February 2020

Dubai's quality road infrastructure 'nets $45bn in savings'

ABU DHABI, October 7, 2019

Dubai government's investments in roads and transport infrastructure has realised economic benefits - both in saved time and fuel - to the tune of Dh169 billion ($46 billion) over a 12-year period  between 2006 and 2018, said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

Al Tayer was delivering a key note session at the World Road Congress taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

The congress provided the opportunity for hundreds of delegates including road professionals, thought leaders and academics to share their expertise on the most emerging trends and challenges in the sector.

During his address, Al Tayer said the Dubai government had spent around Dh100 billion in roads and transport infrastructure.

Outlining the nine success factors of infrastructure projects management, the RTA chief said: "These are effective management, comprehensive strategies, proper administrative model and resilient organisational chart, quick decision-making, sufficient funding, governance and control, risks and challenges management, implementation of plans and future fore-sighting, and applying hi-tech in projects."

Addressing the assembled audience, Al Tayer said: “The UAE has today become a leading country in the quality of infrastructure. It has kept its ranking of being first in the world in the quality of roads for four successive years. Such investments had also benefited the competitiveness of the UAE in hosting global events, such as Expo 2020.”

He also explained why extensive planning is required to deliver a sustainable and fully modern infrastructure.

"Effective leadership warrants a clear vision and close follow-up, be it through meetings or periodic field visits. It also requires timely and well-rehearsed decisions, technical expertise built on different information sources, and playing an effective role in achieving results through the power of persuasion," he noted.

"The improved mass transit systems of Dubai contributed to increasing the share of public transport in the total mobility journeys from six per cent in 2006 to 17.5 per cent in 2018," he stated.

"Moreover, the improved road projects together with the awareness programmes in place, contributed to reducing road accident fatalities from 21.9 cases per 100,000 of the population in 2006 to 2.4 cases per 100,000 of the population in 2018, thus dipping by as much as 89 per cent," he added.

Focusing on the Congress’ theme ‘Connecting Cultures, Enabling Economies’, leading industry experts participated across 19 sessions during the day including workshops and technical discussions.

The importance of investing and planning ahead for infrastructure projects across the transport sector was among the key topics addressed on the second day of the World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019.

Dr. Etienne Krug, director of the World Health Organization, explained why road safety must not be ignored by countries when building road infrastructure.

Addressing hundreds of delegates, he said: "Globally, every year, 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents and it is the number one cause of death of children."

“The key factor that will help road safety is a decision from the top and that includes the government. We have to implement what we know will work. We also have to recognise that tackling speed is one of the important things to improve road safety,” stated Dr Krug.

“Roads are not just for cars, it is for everybody. The infrastructure that is being built should ensure that children can cycle and walk safely to school while there should be better accessibility for disabled people to move around the roads,” he added.

Throughout the day at Adnec, experts contributed to a series of discussions through workshops, technical, foresight and special sessions that took place simultaneously.

Opening the day’s proceedings was the Special Project Session – ‘Contribution of road transport to sustainability and economic development’.

Chaired by Ernesto Barrera, head of roads maintenance department, Ministry of Public Works in Chile, the session revealed that the outcomes and findings of the World Road Association’s (PIARC) study will be published later this year.

Addressing the audience, Graham Pendlebury, director of local transport, Department of Transport in the UK and Chair of the Special Project Oversight Team, explained why the study handbook would be a valuable tool for policy and decision-makers.

He revealed six themes from the findings that highlighted how investment can significantly boost the country’s economy, employment, road safety, environment, the wellbeing of human beings as well as providing better access to education.

Among the other key sessions that took place were ‘Transport is not gender neutral: From increasing mobility to enhancing mobility’.

The session saw the experts engage in a series of topics that showcased the importance of gender equality and creating job opportunities for both men and women.

Guangzhe Chen, global director, Transport Global Practice, World Bank while emphasising why it is essential especially in a transport sector that continues to grow rapidly said: "To achieve the maximum social and economic gains, it requires the expertise and knowledge of both men and women."

"This is an issue that we will take seriously and we want to focus on closing the gender gap in the future and this has been recognised as one of key strategies by the World Bank Group to make a difference in the sector," he added.-TradeArabia News Service


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