Future of Transport in Dubai – fly but don’t drive

Radical shake-ups in how we get about within the next few decades

By Shahzad Sheikh

Jim Carrey traffic

Fed up with traffic and spending tons of hard-earned on a car you never really get to fully exploit or enjoy?

Well buy a Playstation instead, because you won’t be driving, but you might be tramming, riding or even flying soon, and you may probably not own a car within the next two decades, if you’re living right here in Dubai.

Mattar Al Tayer conference

An incredible futuristic vision of transport in Dubai was presented by Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), at the recent the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) in Abu Dhabi.

Here’s the key stuff you need to know:

Why all the changes?

Really? Do I need to spell it out? Like all major international cities, take a look around – the arteries are all clogging up. And when you do get to where you’re going, you can’t find any parking. And if you do, it costs a flippin fortune!


Plus look up and see the smog (we’re right up there on the pollution index), then think of the number of crashes you see in a week – imagine at best the loss of time and expense in each one of those incidents, and at worst potential injuries and loss of life.

Some days frankly, as much as I absolutely hate to admit any argument in favour of autonomous vehicles, it does seem as it might be better if the human involved wasn’t doing the driving.

Drunk robot

So what’s in store?

According to Al Tayer – widely available autonomous transport solutions within 10 years and beyond that things like the Hyperloop and even flying cars – oh yes, the future is nigh!

Of course you won’t get to fly them though – they will be fully autonomous like the Drone Taxi recently highlighted.

Drone taxi

Targets include:

  • Converting 25% of total journeys in Dubai into journeys on self-driving transport by 2030
  • 50% of private cars will have self-driving features within 10 years

Now we’re not just talking cars here – or should I say personal transport, don’t forget the Dubai Metro is driverless and that shifts over 650,000 passengers a day. Phase II of the Dubai Tram will see more driverless transportation.


Why own when you can share?

30% of commuters are expected to be car-sharing within the next decade – it’s estimated that this would mean one car replacing between 9 and 13 vehicles in the current car parc. If manufacturers are lamenting sales dives right now, wait till this transpires.

Of course in the shorter term the news is better for manufacturers, they’ll see a push from the government to get people into cleaner more modern cars with the latest self-driving technology.

Tesla dubai

And that starts with fleets. Already 7.5% of the Dubai taxi fleet is hybrid – that’s set to increase – and the 200 Tesla cars recently acquired by the RTA will be put into service at the airport.

How will this actually help?

  • 12% reduction in Dubai’s carbon footprint
  • 45% reduction in the cost of mobility to consumers
  • 12% increase in transport safety
  • 50% car parking spaces freed up

Breaking Bad challenger car park


And if you’re feeling confused about all the different ways to get about town from trams to taxi drones, don’t worry there will be one App to rule them all.

The Dubai Integrated Mobility Platform is currently being trialled – a first for the region. It will help travellers to access all transit means in Dubai with one centre linking up all of RTA’s transportation services and hubs.

So seamless, safe and sensible travel for all.

Dubai transport

What to do now

Sigh. It’s brilliant. I hate it. And because you’re on Motoring Middle East, you probably do too. But we have to face it, it’s inevitable.

Petrolheads get your fix whilst you can, rush out and buy a cool car now! You’ll lose a ton of money, but it’s the last hurrah for our kind.

See you on the tram.

stay cool

One response to “Future of Transport in Dubai – fly but don’t drive”

  1. […] For example 25% of all journeys in Dubai by 2030 are expected to be by driverless vehicles – read here. […]

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