Interview: Mattar Al Tayer
How will the new public-private partnership (PPP) law facilitate more efficient developments? Are you confident the model is the right fit for Dubai?
MATTAR AL TAYER: The new PPP law allows the RTA to implement infrastructure projects more efficiently and with higher-quality services in a value-for-money manner, with the proper allocation of risks involved. It encourages the private sector to innovate and allows private entities to make unsolicited proposals for PPP projects. Moreover, it enables the government entity to contract directly with the organisation that makes such a proposal if it is a very innovative project.
Private sector involvement with RTA projects, however, is not new. One such example is Dubai Metro, currently the backbone for transport infrastructure. The metro’s success encouraged the increasing development of other transit-oriented developments (TODs) such as the Union Oasis project which will transform the centre of Dubai, offering 15,000 sq metres of development next to Union Metro Station including recreational facilities and green areas, apartments, commercial spaces, as well as retail outlets. The success of the Union Oasis TOD is intended to trigger a wave of similar developments under the PPP model, with RTA offering the land on lease to potential developers or investors for a period of 30 years from the date of signing the contract.
In what ways can green transport and infrastructure investment be made more appealing, and what are the most attractive opportunities?
AL TAYER: Within the context of making Dubai’s infrastructure more progressive and sustainable, our approach in adopting energy-efficiency and green economy practices is a bottom-up and a comprehensive one, not only embracing the adoption of new technologies but also advancing the existing practices and processes. Accordingly, integrating sustainability aspects within the core infrastructure projects will increase their life cycle, economic performance and competitiveness. We believe that this will open up attractive opportunities for private sector partnerships and will assist in boosting the green-technology supply chain and cluster in Dubai. Our progress in itself would not be sustainable without embedding innovation in each aspect of our planning and implementation process towards making Dubai’s infrastructure greener, more energy-efficient, sustainable and more resilient from an economic perspective.
How are e-government initiatives assisting with the management of traffic flow? Has it been difficult to encourage use of these services?
AL TAYER: The RTA is a major user and developer of new technologies, committed to investing in new, smart technology as part of its contribution towards achieving the government’s vision of becoming the world’s smartest city and catering to the happiness of Dubai’s residents and visitors. Some of the initiatives include an adaptive system optimising traffic signal timings based on real-time traffic information; managing traffic visibility by implementing next-generation CCTV cameras; and a broadcasting message using a dynamic management system. We have also introduced a range of smart mobile applications for the public to better manage their journey and to avoid congestion. These include the Smart Parking, Smart Drive, Smart Salik, Wojhati, Smart Taxi, Drivers and Licensing, Public Transport, Sharekni and Corporate Services app, with 173 smart services launched under these apps. Our main aim in that sense is improving the adoption of smart services by streamlining the app portfolio and its consolidation based on customer needs and expectations. We would like to use them in next-generation intelligent transport systems (ITSs), where enabling potential solutions can help us provide insights for tactical ( ITSbased) traffic management and control techniques.
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