Despite the slump in oil prices, GCC infrastructure projects are seeing unprecedented investment, with government expenditure expected to hit $288bn through to 2020, according to a report by project tracker, Ventures Onsite.
According to industry experts, combined government expenditure in the GCC over the next four years is forecast to hit $480bn – and a minimum of 60% of that expenditure is destined for infrastructure and transport projects.
The significant investments in roads and transport infrastructure is required to offset the effects of high traffic density and increasing congestion in urban areas, as well as upcoming mega events such as the Dubai World Expo 2020, the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar and growth of the annual Haj.
The GCC states are currently working towards eliminating traffic accidents and improving road safety, and the UAE’s 2021 National Agenda specifically aims to transform the country into the global number one in terms of the quality of its roads and traffic systems.
The UAE government has already implemented an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) that utilizes real-time data from traffic sensors to reduce congestion and enhance road safety. These systems provide a wide range of services using information and communications technology.
Road projects scheduled to be implemented by 2017 include the Dubai–Fujairah highway, phase two extension of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and the Masafi–Fujairah road.
In Dubai, the Deira Traffic Systems Control Centre, which operates around-the-clock, is linked to 356 cameras and 455 signalized junctions to monitor and control the traffic movement in the emirate.
In June 2016, the RTA also awarded the main construction contract for Dubai’s Route 2020 project, which is being built at a cost of $2.89bn, to a consortium of French, Spanish, and Turkish firms.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has also received approval to construct a new $91m control center ahead of the Expo 2020 aimed at easing traffic congestions and reducing transit times.