Jul. 4, 2018

HE Mattar Al Tayer

UAE, Dubai

HE Mattar Al Tayer

Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA)

“We have the largest public Tesla fleet in the world, consisting of 200 electric airport limos.”


HE Mattar Al Tayer obtained his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1983, after which he worked in Dubai Municipality in several professional and supervisory roles, ranging from Director of the Roads Department to Deputy Director General of Dubai Municipality. He took leadership of RTA in November 2005 where he oversaw the establishment phase. Throughout his professional career, Al Tayer has received multiple accolades in recognition of his successful leadership of the RTA. He also assumed several key posts in Councils, Boards and Committees in Dubai and the UAE, among which Deputy Chairman of the infrastructure and environment committee of Dubai Executive Council and Chairman of the Emirates Society of Engineers.

What have been the main accomplishments of RTA that occurred in the last year?

With the aid of the Dubai government, RTA is leading the transformation of the transport sector into the future. The ongoing expansion of roads and infrastructure projects in Dubai include landmark developments such as the Airport Roads Project, which caters to the 92 million travelers expected to be served by Dubai International Airport by 2020, the Parallel Roads Project that will ease traffic in the area parallel to Sheikh Zayed Road to the east, and the construction of Route 2020 worth AED10.6 billion which is an extension of 15km to the existing Red Line route. In addition, RTA has set strategies to shape the future of transport with the Dubai Self-Driving Strategy, which aims to achieve at least 25% of all trips in Dubai through self-driving transport by 2030. The Dubai Self-Driving Strategy is unique and is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, as it does not only focus on private vehicles but also targets seven public transport modes. RTA is currently studying and piloting several futuristic modes with global firms, such as the hyperloop, self-driving bus rapid transit (BRT), self-driving transport pods, and automated aerial taxis. Another important accomplishment is the Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3), which was inaugurated by HH Sheikh Mohammed in May 2017. It is the largest and most sophisticated facility of its kind. Known as the 'Nerve Center of Dubai,' it links all of RTA's different transport control centers into an integrated central platform, which will also play an important role in managing transport for the upcoming Expo 2020. RTA has recently also approved the RTA Digital Strategy, focusing on innovative technology solutions tailored for users. We already started the smart mobility transformation and have implemented a number of future modes that have made transportation in Dubai smarter and cleaner. We have the largest public Tesla fleet in the world, consisting of 200 electric airport limos. Moreover, we have implemented a number of smart solutions, such as smart car rentals, smart bus shelters, smart yard testing, and virtual reality training for new drivers. We currently have over 173 smart services that have reduced the number of customer visits by more than 50% in the past two years.

What benefits can self-driving vehicles bring to Dubai?

RTA is currently working on many projects to achieve the goal of having at least 25% of all trips in Dubai in self-driving mode by 2030. Examples of these are the connectivity framework, testing procedures, and the legislation framework. As a vital part of the success of our strategy, we already signed MoUs and partnerships with multiple international firms and research universities, such as Daimler, Next Future Transport, Hyperloop, and Tesla. Through our strategy, we will realize both measurable and intangible benefits in Dubai by 2030. Based on our own international research and applying it to our local environment, we expect to achieve environmental improvements, with a 12% reduction in our carbon footprint. Moreover, we expect a 44% reduction in the cost of mobility, a 50% reduction in parking requirements, and at least a 12% reduction in the number of accidents.

How does RTA keep up with the rapid growth of Dubai and prevent traffic congestion?

Cities need to have adequate regulations and technical tools that enable capturing the impact of urban and population growth on transportation systems. In dealing with increased travel demand, RTA has adopted an integrated planning framework that takes into consideration best international practices and focuses on the integration between the development and expansion of roads and mass transit infrastructure, the advancement of smart applications and systems, the application of travel demand management measures, and the attainment of higher levels of integration between different means of transport and land use. Based on this integrated planning framework, RTA has developed and implemented plans that include the development of a high-quality network of roads, bridges, and tunnels, which contributed to the UAE's top position in road quality between 2013-2016 according to the World Economic Forum.

How does RTA contribute to Expo 2020?

RTA has prepared an integrated plan for roads and transportation to prepare for a successful Expo. The plan includes solutions that address the matter of moving people to and from the exhibition location along with managing the movement within the exhibition. As one of the main goals of Expo 2020, sustainability was at the forefront while developing all plans. To ensure awareness and sustainability, the plan includes encouraging the use of public transportation whenever possible. It is expected that the public transportation share of trips made to and from Expo 2020 will be around 51%. The execution of this plan has already started, with the extension of the Red Line of the metro from the Nakheel Harbor & Tower Station to the Expo 2020 location, which is progressing at the moment. The extension will contain seven stations, one of which will be dedicated to servicing the exhibition. The number of visitors using the metro is expected to reach around 12,000 passengers per hour in one direction. Furthermore, a number of bus stations will be provided in Dubai and other Emirates specifically to serve Expo 2020. In addition, there will be buses within the Expo site for internal movement. The plan also entails 30,000 parking places around the exhibition's location, with shuttle buses that will take visitors from the parking area to Expo 2020 location. On top of this, more than 2,900 taxis will be available for servicing the exhibition, with parking and facilities to support these vehicles within the Expo site. Also, a network of roads and interchanges with a total cost of over AED3.2 billion (USD871.21 million) is currently under development to provide flexibility in getting in and out of the exhibition. Many other RTA projects are being developed to help regulate transportation to and from the Expo site. These projects include a significant improvement of the Traffic Control Center via the ITS2020 program and the recently inaugurated Enterprise Command Control Center (EC3). The total cost of transportation infrastructure and services required to serve Expo 2020 is estimated to be more than AED15 billion (USD4.08 billion). These transportation systems and infrastructure will be utilized fully for the benefit of serving the urban development of Dubai after Expo 2020.

What are RTA's main plans and objectives for the coming year?

In the next few years, RTA will continue its journey leading the mobility sector and transforming Dubai into the smartest city in the world. We will concentrate on identifying and catering to emerging transport modes and trends and technologies in order to be one of the world's pioneers in shaping the future of transport. In addition, we will foster our cooperation with innovators and startups to continue testing, trialing, and deploying new trends, technologies, and modes. In this regard, we also work with Dubai Future Accelerators to launch partnership platforms that will make Dubai the global attraction of future transport modes. Another example is our recently launched Dubai Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, the largest international platform for companies and research centers to test and deploy different scenarios of self-driving technology in Dubai. We work closely with the government for projects serving the Dubai 10X initiative, as well as to establish the required regulations and legislations to facilitate the deployment of new and emerging transport modes, trends, and technologies. We also concentrate on safety, security, and privacy issues of such new modes. We will continue our efforts to optimize the efficiency of our mobility systems through initiating and launching different applications and further developing and expanding Dubai's road and public transport systems.