Parents in Dubai are taking an online survey sent by their children’s schools aimed at understanding and studying the transportation needs of students and parents.

The survey is being conducted by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), in cooperation with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

This is part of Dubai’s new plan to improve traffic flow in the emirate. Among the steps that will be taken to ease traffic is a plan , as announced earlier, to develop a policy to encourage students to use school transport, “which will help improve traffic flow around schools by 13 per cent”.

Active participation of parents
Lisa Johnson, Principal, American Academy for Girls said, “Parents in our school have been responding positively to the survey request. Parents have a strong interest in addressing transportation issues as it is such a huge factor in everyone’s daily lives. Our school has predominantly Emirati families that are highly invested in the role that Dubai’s growth has on current and future city-wide planning and, hence, want to ensure that RTA has proper data to make informed decisions.”

School leaders also stressed that traffic significantly decreases during school breaks, indicating that a substantial portion of traffic originates from parents driving their children to school.

To tackle this issue, many schools promote the use of school buses among parents.

They emphasised this could be achieved by assisting school bus companies in cutting costs and actively highlighting the advantages of utilising school bus services which is also a key point in the survey.

“Traffic congestion in Dubai is increasing, and our parents have flagged concerns in the recent past. These concerns primarily revolve around safety, convenience, and the environmental impact of traffic congestion on our students and the community. Families are also very concerned about the well-being of students having longer commutes and air quality in high-traffic areas,” added Johnson.

Encouraging cost-effective modes of transportation
The 10-minute survey shared with parents starts with some basic questions such as the departure and arrival times for their child's journey from home to school and back.

Then it delves deeper and queries parents about their suggestions on optimal school day start and end times and reasons for congestion according to them.

Additionally, it gauges interest in enrolling children in school transportation services provided by specialised companies in Dubai that could offer high-quality, tailored transportation solutions at a reasonable price.

Meanwhile, principals reiterated they appreciate the survey initiative spearheaded by the authorities.

With the vast majority of their students commuting via road transport at several schools, they pointed out that the findings from the survey will deliver valuable insights for school leaders.

Colin Gerrie, Principal, Uptown International School, said, “The data collected will allow us not only to appreciate current travel patterns but also to collaborate effectively with all stakeholders. Together, we can develop strategic enhancements that positively impact the student journey. This collaborative approach is particularly crucial as we anticipate the forthcoming implementation of the Commercial Transport Strategy 2030, which will influence transport policies in the short, medium, and long term.”

This strategic planning is deemed essential to ensure that improvements align with broader transport and educational goals, enhancing the overall experience for students in Dubai.

Zafar Raja, Group Chief Operating Officer, GEMS Education, said “We work very closely with RTA and KHDA on a continuous basis on a variety of important areas, including traffic management in and around our campuses. We also work in partnership with our families to regularly gauge their views on these topics, understand their needs, and address any concerns. As ever, our aim is to ensure drop-off and pick-up is as smooth and seamless as possible for our families – with the health and safety of the students in our care always our first and foremost priority. We welcome and fully support any initiatives from the Dubai government authorities and education regulator to improve traffic flow, eases congestion, and enhance the experience of our families and staff.”

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