Online Exclusive: Abdul Younes, CEO Strategy, RTA
Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim A. Younes, member of board of directors and CEO of strategy and corporate governance at Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA), reveals the huge challenges posed by the emirate's recent growth.
How big is the task facing the RTA with regard to organising transport in Dubai?
To be honest, you need to take a look at some of the numbers and statistics to fully realise just how many challenges we face in terms of transportation in Dubai. We have a population increase of more than 6% annually, together with a 70% increase in the number of cars annually. Furthermore, there has been a 25% increase in the number of people getting driving licences every year. You also have to understand that purely in terms of size, in the last five years, Dubai has grown from 500 square kilometres to more than 950 square kilometres.
How can you overcome these challenges?
We understand the difficulties and are taking a six-dimensional approach to solve them. The RTA will add more than 500 kilometres of roads in the next 10-12 years, and we will also be upgrading more than 120 interchanges in the city. In addition, plans are going ahead to add some ring roads within high-density population areas.
How are plans coming along for the Dubai Metro?
The red line will come online first, and we are still aiming for that to be open this September. The green line will be ready to go live in March 2010. Altogether there will be 47 stations, and 15 kilometres of underground track.
What other measures are you taking to ease congestion?
We are expanding our bus fleet from 700 currently to more than 2500 buses, plus we are adding a number of marine transportation systems. Due to the number of water channels in Dubai and the islands being built here, we are planning to launch a ferry system by July, together with water taxis.
What do you think will be the end result of all these moves?
Well, at the moment, the RTA is only capturing 6% of total daily trips in Dubai. The plan is that by 2020, we will be able to account for around 30-35%, which will ease the pressure on the roads.
How is the RTA planning to help the logistics industry in Dubai?
At the moment we are looking at what we call a freight comprehensive study, which examines in detail the movement of goods in Dubai. We are in the final stages of that study. Due to the assistance of international consultants who are working closely with the RTA, we expect that we will come up with recommendations to resolve the problems associated with the movements of goods.
Maybe there will be a mass transit system for goods movements and maybe there will be an expansion of the existing road network to provide connectivity between ports and nodes in the city. Hopefully, we can come up with some strong recommendations to organise the movement of freight more effectively.