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RTA says Dubai traffic has doubled in eight years

Dubai now has more cars on the road per person that either New York or London

The number of vehicles on Dubai's roads has doubled in eight years, say authorities.
The number of vehicles on Dubai's roads has doubled in eight years, say authorities.

Dubai has more cars on the road per person that either New York or London, according to statistics released by the Road and Transport Authority.

The RTA says there are now 1.4 million vehicles in Dubai, a city with a population of 2.4 million people – making that 504 cars per 1000 residents in the bustling city. London’s figures rate at just 213 cars per 1000 people, while New York has 305.

In just eight years, the number of registered vehicles in Dubai has almost doubled- from 740,000 in 2006 to 1.4 million in 2014.

Authorities in the emirate have, in that time, opened the Dubai Metro and Al Sufouh tram service to alleviate pressure on the city's road infrastructure - and they are also investigating other measures.

During the recent Construction Week UAE Infrastructure Summit 2015, Eng Anwaar Al Shimmari, the Ministry of Public Works director of projects in its planning department, said they intend launching a study this year looking into contraflow lanes concept on federal highways in a bid to ease traffic congestion.

Al Shimmari said the contraflow lanes idea is part of a wider plan on the next stage of development of the UAE’s primary and secondary routes.

“It’s really important to consider the connectivity of these routes over the next few years, as well as developing new routes,” she added.

The UAE needs about 10 extra lanes linking between the Northern Emirates and Abu Dhabi and Dubai to cope with current traffic flows, she explained.

Some of this extra capacity could be achieved by building new roads, and Al Shimmari revealed that the MoPW has plans in place for a new link between the Northern Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, she cautioned: “We haven’t finalised this yet because it’s between all of the Emirates and this would require more of a federal/political decision.”

But on the reversible lanes concept, she said it could be an alternative to building roads as it requires no additional land.

“If we are talking about current traffic, then we need about 10 extra lanes. But this means losing land to create more highways and roads, which is not feasible as we cannot just keep building more roads and highways. And this can’t happen without having a strong public transit system,” she said.

“We don’t want to say the solution is only to provide public transit, because it’s not enough, and we don’t want to say the solution is to create new lanes, because this is not feasible. Yes, we will introduce new lanes in the future, but for the current situation we need to consider utilising the existing infrastructure.

“We have been thinking of the idea of creating something that already exists in some of the United States cites – the reversible lane. We will be appointing a consultant to study the feasibility of the idea. Either by utilising the existing infrastructure or by introducing a super structure – like continuous bridges – within the existing right of way.”

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