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increased by 36 per cent between 2006 and 2014, yet the number of registered cars in the country doubled

in the same period – without including the large inflows of non-Dubai registered cars entering and exiting the Emirate every day. The city has started to think about new ideas to address the problem. Secondly, this traditional approach ignores current

trends in urban transport, particularly aroundmajor technological and behavioural changes. Today, we can clearly see that the dominance of the private car as themainmeans of transport is coming to an end. The “sharing economy”means services such as e-hailing and car sharing and the rise of digitally enabled transportmodes are booming all over the world. Given the young, connected population in theMiddle East, this is creating a greater shift in transport habits than in other geographies. For example, in Saudi Arabia, 50 per cent of the population is below 25, and 77 per cent owns a smartphone, driving a sharp increase in e-hailing usage – the localUber service announced amonth-to-month increase of 50 per cent in the number of trips taken in 2016.

SMART MOBILITY MODEL A few advanced cities have taken different paths, trying new approaches to remodel their transport networks in order to respond to challenges. The key principles of these new approaches are to: Develop a holistic view of themobilitymodel;  Integrate all availablemobilitymodes seamlessly and holistically;  Consider both supply and demand levers to reshape urban transport; and  The effective use of innovative, newmobilitymodes (such as shared or autonomous transport); Middle Eastern cities provide a favourable

environment for this newmode formultiple reasons:  They do not have heavy legacy transport

infrastructure tomanage;  Infrastructure rollouts are faster and easier given

the short decision-making process; and Most of these cities are undergoing ambitious

transformation plans with the aimof increasing their attractiveness: an innovative urban transport experience is seen as a strong argument for differentiation. At themoment, we can see that the smartmobility

approach is a breakthrough leading to progressive urban development opportunities. Themodel opens the door to create true impact in a city to:  Push public transportmodes via integrated

offerings, hence reducing congestion and carbon emissions;  Provide a seamless customer experience – search, book, pay – integratingmobility and other sectors;  Promote a complementary approach between transportmodes, rather than a competitive one; and  Prepare the city to accommodate futuremobility modes.

LESSONS LEARNT FROM THE MIDDLE EAST Set solid foundations on the supply side: This includes infrastructure investments as well as investments in newmobilitymodes.On the infrastructure side, Dubai is a rolemodel in rapid decision-making, planning and deployment of big infrastructure initiatives. The recently openedDubaiWater Canal, which runs through the heart of the city, took only three years tomove fromthe start of the planning process to opening. Set awareness for the necessary shift inmobility

demand: public transport’s share of journeys is only 14.4 per cent inDubai. This is very low compared to othermajor cities in Asia, Europe and theUS (where it reaches 35–55 per cent).One explanation for this might be climate related, but themajor reason is the mindset of users.Historically, individual transport was the only possibility users had.NowDubai is aiming to jump directly froman individual-centred mobility systemto an integrated one. Think ofmobility as an integrated system: The set-

up and optimisation of singlemobilitymodes and infrastructure components is important. ButDubai understood at an early stage that the entire system could only be successful if singlemodes were networked and integrated in a systemthat solved a mobility “challenge” for the user: to go fromA to B. A trip on themetro fromstation to station is worthless if the user does not know how to proceed fromthere, especially with a hot climate and (still) underdeveloped walking and cycling options. The answer is to integrate the supply side as well as the demand – infrastructure andmobilitymodes have to be interlinked like a well-oiledmachine in order to provide a seamlessmobility experience. Be at the forefront of newmobility technology:

Dubai is continually searching for the latest technologies. Innovation labs, international experts, panel discussions, fairs and visiting trips are used to identify technology thatmightmove themobility systemforward.When “pearls” are identified, decision-making and pilot programmes are rapid. EE

 Public transport will be one link in a smart mobility chain for future citizens of Dubai

 To readmore online about transport infrastructure, scan QR code or visit

20 /// Environmental Engineering /// October 2017

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