Dubai, a modern city in the United Arab Emirates, is recognized not only as one of the most affluent cities in the world, but also is home to one of the best public transport systems. Millions of local and migrant workers from various countries are able to get to and from their jobs and around town with ease due to the efficient public transportation. The influx of people who have come there for work has prompted officials to improve the quality and integrate its public transport system more efficiently.

The drone taxis will be completely automated and can ferry a single passenger on a short trip – the taxi gets about 31 miles per charge.

The US, and the rest of the world for that matter, can learn a thing to or two on how the city is crafting well-planned strategies as well as policies to make sure that the quality of life of its people is maintained even with rapid development.  One thing is certain, though: Dubai and other cities in the UAE are relying heavily on public transportation to see them through this century and the next.

The United Arab Emirates is made up of seven states. It is one of the most successful and essential economic centers in the Middle East. Prior to the discovery of oil in the 1950s, the UAE was dependent on the export of pearls. It began exporting oil in the mid-60s and this was responsible for its economic transformation. It has also opened doors for trade, tourism and employment.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) handles the regulation and operation of all public transport networks. This includes buses, water buses, taxis, as well as the Dubai Metro. RTA however believes that merely expanding public transport networks and beefing up road infrastructure won’t be enough to improve the transport systems. Reports said the RTA wants to increase the public transport share in UAE from 15% up to over 30% by the year 2030.

In the US and the UK, public transport accounts for over 60% of available transportation means.

While the UAE’s target is modest and achievable given the number of years and the budget allotted for it, reaching this milestone will require developing larger networks and better structured policies. It must also take into consideration the impact of such systems on the environment, residents, and businesses in the area.

Investing in reliable and efficient public transport would mean decreased traffic congestion and reduced air pollution. There will be immediate cost savings in the area of roads and bridges, as well as in monitoring road safety.

Improving Current Systems

Apart from private cars and taxis, there are also water taxis and water buses in Dubai. These cross the Dubai Creek and go to various destinations such as Deira. Water buses, on the other hand are ferries which carry tourists to different spots. They are also available for rental in much the same way that cars can be rented out for a day.

A hyper modern transport system.

When it comes to buses, Dubai boasts of an extensive public bus system. Riders are required to use a Nol card to ride. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi’s main train station is at the busy Hazaa Bin Zayed road, and it is here where intra-city and inter-city buses start their trips.

In the UAE, the only train system, called the Dubai Metro, is only found in the city. It has two lines. The Red connects the inner city to known landmarks as well as the airport, while the Green line services the entire city. Plans to expand the Dubai Metro include adding Purple and Blue lines to extend the system’s coverage to the city’s outskirts.

The improved system will give employees and workers who drive to work the option to take safe, clean, and reliable public transport. The government also sees this as an effective option to help make persons with disabilities more mobile.

Reports said the RTA is planning to expand the Dubai Metro train system to 421 kms in the next 13 years. They’re also looking at bold autonomous transport systems as well as new and innovative marine transportation lines to help ferry passengers across bodies of water.

Bolder and More Advanced Transport Options

One admirable thing about Dubai and the UAE is their willingness to shell out money on bold projects with a futuristic ring to it. While other countries would dismiss flying drone taxis, or a faster-than-usual Hyperloop System, this forward-thinking nation considers them as the only direction to take in upcoming years.

Hyperloop One, first introduced by tech mogul Elon Musk, is a transport system that makes use of pneumatics and offers truly rapid mass transport between the Emirates. The multi-billion project has already commenced and is being tested in different locations. By the year 2020, Dubai will be one the first countries to offer the Hyperloop One transport link. It will cut travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to as little as 12 minutes, with speeds of up to 760 mph.

Musk introduced this plan in 2012 to positively impact land development, infrastructure development and increase productivity. Its test facility is at a safe site at the Nevada desert.

At the same time, Dubai is also one of the first cities to openly support driverless technology. It plans to launch and integrate flying drone taxis into its transport system this year. The drone taxis will be completely automated and can ferry a single passenger on a short trip – the taxi gets about 31 miles per charge.

This will be a viable option for a businessman who is flying in from the airport and is rushing to get to an important business meeting. The drone taxi will have enough room for a brief case and can carry a maximum load of 220 lbs. Early this year, officials announced that they have working models of the Ehang 184, a self-driving quad-opener electric drone which they have been subjecting to a battery of tests and run-throughs. The automated taxi can fly up to 100 miles per hour.

These taxis of the future will be strictly monitored by Dubai’s transport regulating bodies from a central command station. Reports said they will only be allowed to fly up to 60 mph. They will be equipped with safety harnesses aside from the requisite seatbelts. There’s also a touchscreen console which displays the passenger’s destination.

The Ehang 184 was developed and manufactured in China. Ehang is a massive company known for innovative designs on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Ehang 184 has eight propellers that allow it to fly as high as 984 feet – far enough from monstrous traffic jams during rush hour.

It was built to cope with the demands of extremely hot days and cold nights in Dubai. Charging should be done every two hours, though, which is why it can only ferry passengers relatively short distances.

The Hyperloop One and flying drone taxis can make Dubai and the United Arab Emirates a model for the future of transportation. While developing nations are still relying on cars and building longer roads, this progressive nation is looking far beyond the horizon. They are building a legacy to future generations of modern, safe, comfortable transportation.