RTA announces completion of 29 smart initiatives


-     The number includes seven additional initiatives over & above the approved roadmap
-     Al Tayer: 34 new projects, initiatives and studies under assessment to bring the total to 63 initiatives

HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced that the RTA had accomplished 29 initiatives as part of the Smart City project. This number includes 7 additional initiatives to the roadmap announced by RTA at the time of releasing the Smart City in March 2014. Thus, RTA has become the first government entity to announce the completion of its smart initiatives. Al Tayer has also unveiled the Digital 5-Year Strategy of the RTA (2017-2021). An announcement to this effect was made during the Press Conference held at Al Wasl Auditorium at RTA Head Office in the presence of CEOs, Directors of the RTA.

“The completion of this vital project is in implementation of the initiative of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city worldwide within three years. It also follows the directives of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council; the driving force behind the Smart City initiative. The Smart City envisioned by HH Sheikh Mohammed is a city focused on the convenience & welfare of its residents, and offers highly efficient services using sophisticated technologies. The smart mobility is obviously a key pillar of the Smart City,” said Al Tayer.

“Once HH Sheikh Mohammed launched the initiative of transforming Dubai into a smart city on March 5, 2014 giving 3 years for accomplishing this target, RTA announced its plan for supporting the efforts of the Dubai Government in this regard. It has charted out a roadmap comprising 22 creative & innovative initiatives tailored to the happiness of people. Thanks to the relentless efforts of the team, RTA has accomplished 29 initiatives; 7 more than the approved roadmap and in the process the RTA has become the first government entity to announce the completion of its smart initiatives. The smart initiatives of the RTA have garnered multiple awards both at nationally and internationally. The smart app (RTA DUBAI) has clinched this month the Best Mobile Phone Service Award in the World in the World Governments Summit 2017. It had already won the Best Mobile Phone Service Award in the UAE in the World Governments Summit 2016, and the Best App in the Hamdan bin Mohammed Program for Smart Government in 2015 and 2016,” said Al Tayer

Four Pillars

“As part of its endeavors to deliver best-in-class services and keep pace with the technological advancements worldwide aimed to maximize people happiness, several projects, initiatives and studies have been added to the next phase of the Smart City program up to 2021. This brings the total number of initiatives to 63 initiatives, projects and studies including 34 initiatives currently underway. The new projects & initiatives comprise 4 key aspects. The first is the sustainable smart transport, which focuses on the implementation of the Dubai Integrated Mobility Platform. The second is the Monitor Project, which monitors the condition of bus drivers during driving to spot any negative driving attitudes. The third is the digital bus timetable project and instant passengers’ information project. The fourth is the congestion management inside the Metro stations and coaches.

“The smart transition aspect comprises the construction of the Open Data project with Dubai Data Establishment (DDE), upgrading drivers and vehicles app (Dubai Drive), and loyalty points scheme for users of public transport & services, in addition to 5 smart projects of NOL card. The infrastructure of smart roads & traffic management aspect covers the implementation of Phase II of the Smart Lighting project Phase II of the Smart Parking, the Smart Pedestrian Crossing project, Pedestrian Smart Road Shopping, and the roadway monitoring mobile cameras in major traffic diversions. The Smart Vehicles aspect covers the Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (EHANG), Phase II of autonomous vehicles strategic study, the smart driver testing yard, the first of its kind in the region, and vehicles safety service project,” added Al Tayer.

Smart Transition

Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of Corporate Technology Support Services Sector cum Head of Dubai Smart City Project Support Follow-up & Governance Committee, said, “The smart transition drive of RTA relates to transforming RTA’s services to smart services delivered via user-friendly, quick and effective apps. This aspect tackles a host of projects related to data, information, artificial intelligence and payment systems all of which fall under the strategy of People Happiness.

“RTA is seeking to make nol card the main payment means of government services in the city. RTA has activated the payment of taxi fare via nol and other credit cards in a bid to provide a secure payment means for taxi riders and ease the mobility of visitors and residents who may not have cash. More than 7500 taxicabs have been fitted with machines to run this service. RTA has also provided nol card services at Etihad Museum and nol cards will shortly be used in entering public parks in Dubai and the card can also be used in light retail purchases. Customers can recharge nol cards in less than 2 minutes and verify card balance using smart phones fitted with NFC technology.

“RTA was leading in the field of data management. In March 2015, it rolled out ‘Create Your App’ contest amongst 5 universities who were offered access to RTA data, and led the team tasked to draft Dubai Data law in 2015. RTA has finalized classification of 80% of its data and offered 25 data bundles, some of them clients currently use via Google Maps.

“The Smart Inspection program aims to ease and automate inspection processes, enhance the compliance with governance & transparency, and enable the tracking & verification of transactions in various stages. Inspectors have been issued with 600 smart devices and the program has contributed to easing the inspection processes and curbing complaints.

“RTA DUBAI app tops RTA’s smart achievements and encompasses 43 services including tollgate systems (Salik), smart transport, parking, licensing and taxis. RTA smart apps have clocked 6.2 m downloads and transactions processed have exceeded 7 million transactions,” added Al Madani.

Smart Vehicles

Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency cum Head of Smart Vehicles Committee, said, “The smart vehicles team is currently undertaking 3 strategic projects & initiatives. The first is the Dubai autonomous vehicles strategy project aimed at developing a roadmap for converting 25% of daily journeys to autonomous journeys by 2030. The second is the smart testing yard project, which is currently implemented in the Dubai Driving Center aimed at converting drivers testing vehicles into smart vehicles capable of detecting testing maneuvers areas and gauging the driver’s response to each maneuver. Such vehicles are fitted with powerful cameras & sensors linked to a central processor capable of capturing various information and automatically calculating errors made. The smart testing vehicle is fitted with 5 cameras: 1 in the front, 1 in the rear, 2 in the right and left sides and 1 onboard to read the maneuver lines and road lines. It is also fitted with 8 sensors to specify the direction of the face, steering wheel, safety belt, brake use, handbrake use and acceleration.

“The smart yard testing project is the first of its kind worldwide. It aims to step up the level of transparency, and reduce the error margin in taking pass or fail decision without the intervention of the examiner by using a smart system. It also improves the efficiency of testing operations through a consistent automated operation of smart vehicles, improving the elements of safety busing multiple technologies obviating crash damage, and shifting cadres & competencies to work in a smart environment, which enhances their skills.

“The heavy vehicles safety project aims to boost the efficiency of heavy vehicles, road safety and monitoring drivers conducts through installing remote sensors. The service was introduced to transport companies in Dubai early February and would continue until the end of July this year as an optional phase followed by a mandatory implementation. RTA has launched vehicles safety service center at Jebel Ali Free Zone Area and provided the service for 260 vehicles. The service procedures have been sorted out as regards the activation of the international communication feature as required by certain transport companies,” explained Bahrozyan.

Smart Transport

Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency cum Head of Smart & Sustainable Transport Committee, said, “The Committee had accomplished several projects and initiatives the latest of which was the hourly smart rental initiative introduced last January in collaboration with the private sector. This smart service enables the client to search for the nearest available vehicle out of 200 vehicles, book and operate it via a smart app. It had also rolled out the Smart Taxi app, which was launched in 2015 whereby the customer can search for nearest available taxi in a smooth automated manner.

“Initiatives completed include the deployment of 50 interactive monitors in 23 metro stations since 2015 and the smart mall launched last year in 5 metro stations. It is kind of an interactive monitor where customers can buy commodities and pay for them electronically and have them delivered to the address required. Other smart systems include Wojhati (Journey Planner), which had carried out 303 million transactions last year clocking a usability rate of 83%. They also include the installation of interactive monitors in 200 taxis and the number is set to rise to 400 by the end of next month. The WiFi service would be available starting from this May. About 100 smart shelters installed offering a bundle of vital services such as free internet, light purchases, inquiry about bus movement, inquiry about the balance of nol cards, and payment of bills. There is also Al Masar app enabling the tracking of dedicated RTA’s bus & taxi lanes,” added Younes.

Smart Roads

Hussein Al Banna, Executive Director of Traffic cum Deputy-head of Infrastructure Committee of Smart Roads and Traffic Management, said: “RTA aims to provide smart traffic environment for road users and customers, and upgrade & streamline services. To realize this objective, RTA has undertaken dozens of projects and initiatives including Phase I of Smart Parking Project at Rigga and Sheikh Zayed Road, which offers a new smart service that provides information about the number of vacant parking slots using the smart app besides displaying them on electronic signs on streets. It reduces the traffic congestion caused by the search for the parking slots, as customers will be aware of the parking occupancy in advance. Another initiative is the Smart Roads Lighting Systems Project where the smart lighting system covered more than 200 lampposts on Dubai Water Canal bridge in Sheikh Zayed Road. The system provides remote monitoring of streetlights, with a Wi-Fi service enabled. The initiatives also include Pedestrian Smart Road Shopping, where an international company will deploy about 50 interactive screens in 6 months. These modern and elegant screens, which suit the public taste of Dubai, will be deployed in the most-trodden spots to provide a variety of services such as shopping directly via the smart applications, facilitating access for customers to government applications information, and providing information about the weather & traffic on road network, among others.”

“The Smart Pedestrian Signal Initiative can promptly estimate the time allocated for pedestrians, where these systems adjust the timing of the traffic signal automatically basing on pedestrians movement of sidewalks (before and during crossing), thanks to the signal installed on the footpath and on the asphalt. The Smart Pedestrian Signal was tentatively installed in Al Saada Street, and will later be expanded to 15 sites with specific standards ensuring the required service. The initiatives also include installing roadway-monitoring cameras in major traffic diversions. Five control units are currently available and will be distributed to key diversion sites and remote congestion spots if deemed necessary,” added Al Banna.

Digital Strategy

At the end of the press conference, Al Tayer announced the launch of RTA 5-Year Digital Strategy (2017-2021).

“The launch of this strategy is part of the global future trends that show the world is bracing for a fourth industrial revolution focused on artificial intelligence and robots. The strategy is undertaken in implementation of the directives of the UAE government for shaping the future and realizing the national agenda, X10 initiative and RTA’s excellence drive,” added Al Tayer.

Abdullah Al Bastaki, Director of Technology Strategy & Governance, reviewed the RTA’s comprehensive digital strategy for the next 5 years (2017-2021), which is aligned with the RTA’s strategy as well as the government’s strategies including Dubai Strategic Plan 2021 and the National Agenda, and integrates with RTA’s internal specialized strategies.

“Benchmarks were conducted with leading global entities operating in roads and transport sector to review the key and the latest technologies to identify areas of benefits. The strategy’s mission is render the RTA a world’s leader in implementation of digital technologies in roads and transport. The strategy has 3 key themes: innovation, sustainability and people, where 6 strategic pillars namely: people’s happiness, operational efficiency, asset sustainability, services delivery, information centricity and innovation pioneering,” added Al Bastaki.

“To ensure the implementation of the strategy, a roadmap has been developed including technology initiatives and projects for the coming 5 year roadmap to ensure RTA’s global lead,” concluded the Director of Technology Strategy & Governance

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