Dubai was ranked the number one city in the Middle East and Africa in terms of urban mobility readiness according to a global annual study.
The index of 60 cities by the Oliver Wyman Forum and the University of California, Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) is a forward-looking ranking of 57 quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure social impact, infrastructure, market attractiveness, system efficiency, and innovation.
The findings show that efficient and equitable mobility networks are key engines of economic vitality and environmental sustainability. Other measures in the overall Index include electric vehicle (EV) charging station network investment and incentives, the number of car-free zones, autonomous vehicle adoption, and public transport ridership and affordability.
Globally, Dubai sits at 30th, moving up from number 32 in 2021. Each city is given a rating out of 100 based on a range of KPIs. At a ranking of 58 per cent, Dubai surpasses the global average of 54 per cent, while the Middle East average is 47 per cent.
The report noted that preference for cars across the Middle East contributes to the region’s low score for utilisation of non-motorised transit, however, generally high penetration of shared mobility services, such as car-sharing, helps to lower congestion levels. Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi were jointly ranked 6th globally for shared mobility penetration.
The report also highlights that Dubai is institutionally friendly to new paradigms in mobility and is a key aviation hub and also has invested in scooter-sharing pilots. It also points out that the city is developing a leading public transport package, with a mature multimodal app – the system includes the city-wide metro, which is one of the largest automated metro systems in the world. However, geographical spread and summer temperatures remain a challenge across the region.
Although the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi dropped one place from 36th place in 2021 to 37th in 2022, the city was ranked number one globally for traffic fluidity (in terms of how well the municipal government’s mobility network enables this) and the second position for public transport affordability. The report also noted that the city has strong initiatives around managing driving speeds to reduce traffic accidents, and is working to make public transport a more attractive option, while also announcing EV infrastructure policies that highlight investment in the technology.
André Martins, partner and India, Middle East and Africa head of transport services and operations said that exploring fresh ideas and piloting new technologies is in the DNA of Dubai, and of the UAE overall. “The Emirates will likely be used in the future as a case study in how to pilot new solutions – from the testing of autonomous corridors to the smart monitoring of traffic and driving behaviour,”
“We’ve already seen so much change in the past few decades – the UAE is building walkable neighbourhoods and has managed to keep traffic flowing and people moving in the face of incredible growth,” said Martins.
The population of Dubai was 850,000 in 2000, today it is about 3.5 million and by 2040 it is projected to be 5.8 million. There has also been an influx of tourists as the country continues to improve its aviation and tourism infrastructure. Such an influx means flexibility and forward planning is built into how the UAE operates – this will serve the country well as the face of mobility continues to change,” said Martins.
Regionally, Jeddah and Riyadh were among the five most improved cities on the 2022 ranking. Riyadh moved from 54th position in 2021 to 49th in 2022, and Jeddah from 58 to 51. The report suggests that current large-scale investments in mass transit and innovation mean the cities will likely continue to rise in the rankings.
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