Investments in Dubai's roads and transport infrastructure, estimated at AED100 billion ($27 billion), generated economic benefits in terms of time and fuel savings amounting to AED169 billion ($46 billion) between 2006 and 2018, revealed Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), at the World Road Congress 2019 in Abu Dhabi (6-10 October 2019).“Investments worth billions of dirhams in infrastructure has helped the UAE maintain its top position in the world with regard to quality of roads during 2013-2017. Such investments had also benefited the competitiveness of the UAE in hosting global events, such as Expo 2020,” said Al Tayer.
“The improved mass transit systems of Dubai contributed to increasing the share of public transport in the total mobility journeys from 6% in 2006 to 17.5% in 2018. Moreover, the improved road projects together with awareness programmes in place, contributed to reducing road accident fatalities from 21.9 cases per 100 thousand of the population in 2006 to 2.4 cases per 100 thousand of the population in 2018, thus dipping by as much as 89%,” he added.
Al Tayer attributed the success of the UAE infrastructure projects to nine factors: effective management, comprehensive strategies, proper administrative model and resilient organizational chart, quick decision-making, sufficient funding, governance and control, risks and challenges management, implementation of plans and future foresighting, and applying hitech in projects.
“All projects undertaken by the RTA in Dubai are guided by a clear vision for the infrastructure sector in line with Dubai Plan 2021 as well as the close follow-up to inspect the project progress at site. The RTA has access to a variety of finance sources including the private sector. It applies the principles of transparency, future foresight and the use of sophisticated technologies. In 2017, the RTA constructed the Enterprise Command and Control Centre (EC3), the biggest transportation and traffic control centre in the world, which increased the coverage of intelligent traffic systems in the Emirate from 11% to 60%,” said Al Tayer.
Al Tayer reviewed the core elements of successful project management, including the establishment of a project management office, project priorities, project programme management, risk and challenge management, electronic project management, stakeholder relations management, asset lifecycle management, value engineering, and knowledge-sharing platforms.
“The project prioriy system has a key role in delivering RTA’s strategic plan. It enables the selection of the best project portfolio to realise RTA's strategic objectives within budgets in hand. It is based on a whole host of standards such as value engineering and an integrated enterprise system. The implementation of such parameters contributed to saving billions of dirhams over the past three years. For instance, the implementation of such principles to Shindagha Bridge brought back savings of about AED316 million, thus reducing the cost by 50% due to a revision of the arch design turning it into just an architectural shape.”
Al Tayer reviewed lessons learnt from two mega projects recently accomplished by the RTA: Dubai Metro and Dubai Water Canal. He listed five points learned from the Dubai Metro project: clear responsibilities of respective parties, competent internal technical team, engaging the operator right from the design stage, appointing safety auditor from the start of the project construction, and preparing a complete time-chart for all project works.
Al Tayer also identified three lessons learnt from the Dubai Water Canal project: implementation of value engineering, which saved about AED1 billion from the project cost; partnership with the private sector, which eased the pressure on the government budget; and attention to environmental aspects, which resulted in improving the quality of the Creek water by 33%.