Dubai’s strategy is to incorporate all public transport – trains, buses, trains, marine transit and taxis – as well as private vehicles into one smart transport system.
Dubai’s happiness goal is not just in the here and now. It is forward looking and constantly evolving, particularly in the smart transport sector where the goal is to have driverless cars on the streets, flying taxis (not just drones) up in the air, and sub-sonic Hyperloop transport in the near future.
At the World Government Summit early this year, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that it had successfully carried out a test run of an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) capable of carrying a human up in the air.
“The future is now in the making. Our talk about autonomous vehicles has become a reality. It is now high time to move to autonomous aerial vehicles,” said Mattar Al Tayer, RTA director general and chairman of the board of executive directors, at the Summit.
Al Tayer also noted that Dubai’s strategy is to incorporate all public transport – trains, buses, trains, marine transit and taxis – as well as private vehicles into one smart transport system. He said: “We anticipate that the percentage of trips that will be made by the driverless Dubai Metro to reach 12.2 per cent by 2030 compared with 8.8 per cent in 2016 and the percentage of trips made by self-driving buses to reach 6.4 per cent by 2030.”
Similarly, at Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit held last month in Abu Dhabi, Al Tayer spoke at length about the future of self-driving transportation and said: “For last 25 years, many companies are working in this field. In the next five to 10 years, it will be widely deployed.”
“It will require legislation regulations, ready technology, and sustainable infrastructure and most important is culture. Driving behaviour of people too is different from city to city. I expect in next 10 years, 50 per cent of the cars will have self-driving features,” added Al Tayer.
Al Tayer realistically noted: “The Hyperloop, flying taxis and others, in my opinion, will take more than 10 to 15 years. We need to certify that they are safe and suitable for human use.”
Although technologies are evolving rapidly, Al Tayer also took caution and underlined: “We need to improve safety, reduce the travel time as it affects the economy and protect the environment as we talk about green economy.”
Commuters’ happiness is also anchored on shared mobility. Al Tayer noted: “According to studies, one car sharing will replace nine to 13 private vehicles. This will decrease demand of private cars.”
With this goal, Al Tayer challenged car manufacturers “to shift focus from market share to mobility share.”
RTA’s part in the National Happiness Agenda
> The RTA has set its strategic goals in line with the National Agenda for happiness and the Dubai 2021 Strategic Plan. It is the First Government body in Dubai to launch the strategy of happiness at its 4th Customer’s Happiness Week in 2016.
> RTA’s Happiness Strategy comprises of 6 main key factors, namely; Community (Relationships), Education (Knowledge & Development), Economy (Work & Prosperity), Governance (Care), Environment (Health), Culture (Leisure). These are aligned with RTA’s strategy of providing an integrated mass transit system including a seamless roads and marine transport network, and the shift towards smart government and smart services to customers.
> When the Government of Dubai launched the happiness strategy, RTA had already applied the concept across all its service channels that included service centres, smart applications, the website, as well as mass transit modes such as Dubai metro and tram.
> RTA is involved in many initiatives and programmes implemented by Smart Dubai, such as the Champions Happiness initiative, Diploma of Happiness and Hackathon for Smart Travel Experience, Happiness Charter and a Happiness Survey and Index .
Happiness meter and happier milestones
First entity to have implemented Happiness Meter across all customer touch point channels and the highest contributor in terms of votes, with more than 2.7 million votes
Named a street as “Happiness Street” to reflect its solidarity and commitment towards spreading Happiness Agenda
Implemented Happiness Surveys for customers and employees
Realigned all the Customer Service centres to Customer Happiness Centres
Co-sponsored and part of the “Happiness Journey event” held by Minister of Happiness on March 18, 2017
Smart route to happiness
The RTA is also planning to bring to Dubai the best minds in autonomous transport by creating the first international competition on self-driving vehicles.
In an early interview with Khaleej Times, Ahmed Hashem Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency and concurrent head of RTA’s Smart Vehicles Committee, said: “Dubai is the first city to declare such an ambitious project for self-driving transportation (SDT). This international competition will allow manufacturers, operators and universities around the world to showcase how advance these SDT technologies are and this (competition) will also assure the public that autonomous vehicles are safe.”
“The idea is to convince them to come to Dubai because we are a smart city. We want them to do their testing here and we will also learn the capabilities of these autonomous vehicles. Once driverless transport is ready, Dubai is also ready,” he underlined.
RTA’s happiness strategy is also based on providing smart services and integrated mass transit system to achieve safe and smooth transport for all. “The RTA’s Happiness Strategy comprises 12 key pillars, six of them at the community level, and the other six at the individual level. These pillars are aligned with RTA’s strategy of providing an integrated mass transit system including a seamless roads and marine transport network, and the shift towards smart government by providing smart services to customers,” the RTA told Khaleej Times.