ABU DHABI, 26th October, 2023 (WAM) – As part of plans to establish a smart and sustainable transport environment that eases the movement of residents and visitors to Abu Dhabi, enhances traffic safety and contributes to achieving sustainable development goals, Abdulla Al Marzouqi, Director-General of the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC) of the Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT), has emphasised that the Centre’s plans and strategic objectives related to adopting safe, smart and sustainable mobility solutions align perfectly with the aspirations of Abu Dhabi’s wise leadership to further boost the emirate’s leading position by providing the best infrastructure and services, thus enhancing the overall quality of life.
He confirmed that the ITC is continuing its journey of achievements in order to establish an integrated safe, smart and sustainable transport environment, saying that the number of completed transactions during the first half of 2023 reached around 10 million, which represents a 32% increase compared to the same period last year.
“What the Integrated Transport Centre has achieved so far is an important step towards realising Abu Dhabi’s vision when it comes to building an integrated transport ecosystem that enhances the community’s quality of life. This reflects the constant efforts of the ITC’s working groups and its strategic partners in addition to society,” Al Marzouqi said.
Highlights of ITC’s achievements
The ITC’s achievements report of the first half of 2023 highlighted a number of the Centre’s accomplishments in several sectors, which are aimed at developing services, meeting customers’ expectations through providing sustainable and smart services that ease the procedures, enhancing the levels of convenience and happiness and facilitating their movement in Abu Dhabi, in line with the emirate’s digital transformation journey.
In addition, the report showed that ITC’s 95% Customer Satisfaction and Happiness rate along with 100% of transactions were achieved through its electronic and digital channels, which significantly contribute to bringing services closer to customers and enabling them to access services conveniently, at any time and from anywhere. The achievements of ITC were made across 3 main pillars: Sustainable Mobility, Smart Mobility and Safe Mobility.
The ITC intensified efforts during the first half of the year in initiatives related to adopting sustainable transport solutions by encouraging the use of public transportation and developing an integrated network of smart and environmentally friendly means of transportation, including smart, electric and hybrid vehicles, environmentally friendly and self-driving buses, bicycles and micro mobility means (scooters). These innovations support Abu Dhabi’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, benefiting the community, the economy and the environment, and supporting the goals of our wise leadership’s vision in creating smart and sustainable cities.
The number of passenger trips via public transport buses during the first half of the year reached 39 million, an increase of 19% compared to the corresponding period last year.
In addition, during the first half of 2023, the ITC continued installing new bus shelters, bringing the total number of shaded bus shelters in the emirate to 576, with the aim of providing customers with comfortable and convenient waiting spaces whatever the season.
In the first half of 2023, the ITC expanded its “Bus On-Demand” service to Khalifa City, offering residents and visitors a smart and easy mobility option between various residential areas and facilities within the city. Through this service, the ITC operates minibuses to work on-demand which can be accessed through the “Abu Dhabi Link” app. In addition, the Centre reports that the total number of the Bus On-Demand passenger trips in the first half of the year was over 151,000 in Shahama City, Yas and Saadiyat Islands, and in Khalifa City.
The Integrated Transport Centre also reports that during the first half of the year, more than 206,000 passenger trips benefited from the Abu Dhabi Express service as part of the strategic partnership between the ITC and the private sector to develop public transport services and upgrade the quality of services available to both residents and visitors. Abu Dhabi Express is a non-stop direct shuttle bus service, which makes it one of the fastest public bus transport options available, as transport services become more accessible and convenient for the community. It enables passengers to reach their destinations quickly, comfortably and safely. This service also strengthens the interconnectedness of public bus services and increases the bus transport network’s capacity, as well as contributes to the elimination of unauthorized and unregulated transport.
The number of passengers who used taxis in the first half of this year reached 44 million, with 24 million trips taken, an increase of 24% compared to the corresponding period last year. Low carbon vehicles accounted for 80% of the emirate’s taxi fleet.
The first half of the year saw the launch of Tesla electric vehicles as an addition to the taxi fleet in the emirate, in cooperation with the Arabia Taxi Transportation, with the objective of enhancing the transport sector’s role in achieving sustainable development goals and supporting the vision of the wise leadership to transform the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to a smart, environment friendly and sustainable city in terms of services and mobility.
The number of ride-hailing vehicles operating through smart applications by the end of the first half of the year reached 2,000 and the total number of trips taken by Uber and Careem passengers during the same period is 1.4 million trips.
The number of vehicles operating a car-sharing service is 147 belonging to two companies, Udrive and ekar. This service is a smart service that enables customers to book through a smart app to locate the vehicle closest to them for rental, which drivers can avail and pay for accordingly. The total number of rental transactions in the 6-month period was 12,400.
The first half of the year saw the addition of 5 new areas to existing electric scooter rental services, bringing the total number of areas serviced to 8.
As part of ongoing efforts to diversify sustainable mobility, develop an appropriate infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists and electric bike users, and establish an environmentally friendly transport system that enhances the quality of life in the emirate by encouraging the public to walk and use bicycles as a healthy and sustainable alternative to mainstream transport, the ITC expanded the cycle and walking tracks in Abu Dhabi, bringing the total to over 1,000 km, including 680 km in Abu Dhabi and its suburbs, 260 km in Al Ain and its suburbs, and 70 km in Al Dhafra.
In line with the objectives of the UAE Year of Sustainability, during the first half of the year the ITC organized an awareness campaign called, “Mobility Week Activities” under the slogan of “Connecting People, Connecting Journeys”. The campaign’s objective was to highlight sustainable transport practices and raise community awareness, especially among the youth, of clean and sustainable transport options, as well as enhancing traffic safety rates and maintaining the security and safety of society.
The ITC seeks to achieve leadership in technology and data management, and the smart mobility strategy in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi aims to enhance the existence of an effective and sustainable transportation sector that employs modern technology in the service of society by raising the efficiency, comfort and safety of the transportation system and supporting the process of transition to self-driving, environmentally friendly and sustainable mobility options.
After the success of the Smart Mobility Project on Yas and Saadiyat Islands, the ITC began assessing the project’s experience by collecting, studying, and analyzing operational data with an objective to implement the project in additional areas in Abu Dhabi. The project now includes a fleet of autonomous taxi vehicles operating under the brand “TXAI”, Mini-Robobuses, 15 charging stations on Yas and Saadiyat Islands, as well as the operation of the Automated Rapid Transit System (ART), a fast-trackless transport system.
The Integrated Transport Centre noted that that the number of passengers using self-driving (autonomous) taxis in the first half of the year was 5,000, while the number of users registered on the smart TXAI app is about 14,000. The app can be easily downloaded to book and track taxi services from Google Play and the App Store. The number of people using the Mini-Robobus service reached 9,000.
The taxi transport sector witnessed a number of new services coming online during the first half of the year, including the issuance of an electronic permit to practice the profession of a taxi driver while ceasing the printing of paper permits as part of efforts to achieve environmental sustainability.
The “smart digital screen” project was also launched on the roof of taxis as part of the ITC’s commitment to boost digital transformation efforts in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and enhance the public’s benefit through digital services in a way that keeps pace with future requirements and supports the goals of the Abu Dhabi vision. This vision focuses primarily on using modern technology to serve society and business, contributing to building smart and sustainable cities, employing innovative initiatives in digital marketing, and adopting modern technologies to enhance the digital advertising market by delivering targeted messages to various segments of society in an effective and innovative way.
As part of its efforts to enhance cooperation with strategic partners to benefit from data analytics and artificial intelligence systems and technologies to develop the transportation sector, the ITC signed two agreements with the technology giant Google to enhance the main artificial intelligence priorities in the areas of research and sustainability.
The announcement was made during an event at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), at which the ITC announced the two initiatives, one of which is Project Green Light, an analytical system using AI techniques that collects and analyses traffic data at intersections and provides recommendations that improve the efficiency of traffic lights in the emirate and helps reduce congestion, thus reducing CO2 emissions. The second initiative, Google’s AI Platform, will be utilised to analyse big data generated from Google Maps for forecasting traffic flow and congestion, providing accurate information on accidents that can help develop proactive strategies to reduce them.
In order to improve traffic flow and enhance road safety, 23 new traffic light systems were installed, in addition to improvements to the timing of light signals at a further 43 intersections, reducing travel time across these intersections by 8%. In the same period, Al Maryah tunnel was also opened, which directly contributed to improving the flow of traffic, alleviating traffic congestion, and enhancing traffic safety in the surrounding areas.
In order to improve safety levels in the freight transport sector, the number of heavy vehicles that passed through ITC’s heavy vehicle control stations in the emirate during the first half of the year reached 406,000. The freight and heavy vehicle control systems were put in place to enhance the safety levels in the freight and cargo transport sector by strictly monitoring the weights and dimensions of heavy vehicles and ensuring that their weights and cargo conform to applicable regulations and standards as part of Abu Dhabi’s traffic safety strategy. The ITC also carried out an awareness-raising campaign for drivers of heavy vehicles in truck assembly sites in the Al Dhafra region to inform them of safety procedures in the cargo transport sector.
The total number of vehicles registered on the “Asateel” platform by the end of June 2023 was about 44,000, while the number of companies engaged in freight and cargo services registered on the platform reached 8,000. Companies can register via the website of the Asateel integrated platform through the link: https://asateel.itc.gov.ae.
The Asateel platform is an integrated system that is linked to tracking software and a centralised database that provides access to the location of vehicles. It is designed to help regulate the movement of vehicles, check real-time positioning, organise operational processes, and monitor drivers’ compliance with traffic rules to enhance road safety.
During the first half of the year, 12,000 trucks and 7,000 companies were registered on the hazardous materials vehicles electronic tracking system. The system aims to enhance road security and safety through the application of real-time monitoring, controlling and continuously tracking movement of vehicles transporting hazardous materials and waste.
The number of communications received by the Road Service Patrol in the first half of the year was 13,000. The average response time for assistance was less than 6 minutes, and the average time for clearing affected vehicles from the accident site to the nearest safe point was 18 minutes.
The Road Service Patrol provides 24/7 assistance in the event of vehicle emergencies on the emirate’s roads. One of the most important roles it plays is to ensure traffic flow and safety by removing from the road any vehicle stalled as the result of an accident to the nearest safe location.
In the first half of 2023, the ITC issued 7,600 traffic detour permits, which ensured that road works or changes to the infrastructure were carried out in accordance with the highest health and safety standards and best practices, and in accordance with the provisions of the Traffic Detour Executive Regulations and conditions to be followed when carrying out infrastructure or maintenance work to ensure the safety and security of road users.
Under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi Joint Committee for Traffic Safety in Abu Dhabi, which is led by the Department of Municipalities and Transport and includes the General Command of Abu Dhabi Police, the Department of Health and the Integrated Transport Centre, the Centre launched a comprehensive plan to improve traffic safety for delivery motorcycle drivers in Abu Dhabi. It issued a decision to allow delivery motorcycles to use the right-hand lanes only on certain designated roads at speeds of 100 kph and above to help regulate the movement of vehicles on roads and maintain the safety of road users.
The plan included a number of awareness-raising workshops attended by motorcycle drivers who work for the largest delivery service companies in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, as well as representatives of companies operating in this sector. These workshops aimed to raise traffic awareness among motorbike delivery drivers and enhance their knowledge of safety requirements, relevant safety rules, and the obligations and requirements they must adhere to while on the roads to keep themselves and others safe.
Guidelines and Regulations
The “Abu Dhabi Guideline of Delivery Activity by Vehicles and Motorcycles”, was prepared and launched on the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council website. The guide contains procedures and requirements that bikers must adhere to for their safety and that of others.
The Integrated Transport Centre also organised a special event called “Road Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility”, in line with Gulf Traffic Week 2023.
In the first half of 2023, the Integrated Transport Centre undertook a number of significant initiatives that contribute to the implementation of the highest standards of security and safety for students on school buses to ensure the provision of safe and easy transport services for them, including the carrying out of awareness campaigns on traffic safety requirements.
As part of these initiatives, the first half of the year saw the issuance of 13,000 school transport service permits, 450 school bus supervisor permits, 4,000 permits for school bus operators and 5,000 school bus driver licenses.
With the objective of ensuring that school transport operators apply all safety requirements and procedures on school buses to achieve the highest standards of safety and security for students, the ITC and its relevant strategic partners conducted 2,000 inspection tours of school transport operators and 1,000 field visits to government and private schools and pre-school care facilities. There were 17,000 inspections of school buses to determine operators’ compliance with the safety procedures and requirements in place, with a view to strengthen the school transport system and ensure the safety and security of students.
During the first half of 2023, the Integrated Transport Centre won several accolades, including two awards at the Global Business Excellence Awards 2023, which is considered one of the most reputable award-giving bodies globally and highlights business excellence efforts in various sectors. It is one of most coveted awards by major international institutions. The Centre won two awards in the categories of “Distinguished Social Media Campaign” by the Media Affairs Division, and “Distinguished Finance Team” by the Financial Affairs Division. The ITC also won the “Outstanding Social Media Campaign” award after it implemented a campaign entitled, “For Your Safety” to raise the awareness of safety driving for electric bicycle and scooter users and reinforce the need to adhere to safety requirements. In the Global Business Excellence Award under the “Distinguished Finance Team” category, the Centre won for its new strategies that enhanced customer experience and supported career growth through the development of employee competencies.
The ITC also won 13 awards from the Middle East & North Africa Stevie® Awards for 2023, which highlights innovation in various professional achievements, and is considered one of the most prominent awards globally. The Integrated Transport Centre was crowned with four gold awards, six silver awards, and three bronze awards in recognition of its innovative services, projects and initiatives that support innovation in the transportation sector and contribute to improving the quality of services provided to customers and the community.
These achievements come within the framework of the Integrated Transport Centre’s best efforts to establish an integrated transport system that is convenient, smart and sustainable. The ITC ensures that it meets the aspirations of its customers and members of the community in general, to support local development in all of its sectors and to improve the overall quality of life in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.