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Sustainable Urban Design and Transportation Case Study

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Updated: Apr 18th, 2022


Sustainable transportation is essential for the economic, environmental and social development of the community. Among the most widespread trends, one can distinguish the increasing role of public transportation, the use of energy-efficient vehicles, and extension of road infrastructure. Currently, people living in the United Arab Emirates have to struggle with such problems as air pollution and traffic congestion. Currently, the government of this country focuses on the improvement of public transportation and the use of fuels. However, at this point, existing problems have not been fully addressed.


The need for sustainable transportation has emerged due to various developmental needs of many societies. In particular, one can speak about such issues as the necessity to reduce the pollution of air, the increasing cost of transportation, and the necessity to improve the welfare of people. These are the main aspect that should be taken into account. This paper is at examining the development of sustainable transportation in the United Arab Emirates. On the whole, it is possible to say this trend is critical for the improvement of living conditions and the long-term development of the country. The government of the UAE should focus on such issues as the improvement of public transport, the adoption of energy-efficient technologies, and the extension of road infrastructure. This is the main argument that can be put forward. Overall, the analysis will be based on the analysis of academic sources such as books and article that can throw light on the approaches to sustainable transportation.

The main elements of sustainable transportation

It should be mentioned that the very notion of sustainability includes several elements. First of all, researchers focus on the need to preserve natural resources which may soon become depleted if societies do not improve more efficient technologies (Boschmann & Mei-Po, 2008, p. 140). This problem will become much more urgent in the future. Furthermore, scholars point out that the lack of sustainable transportation can significantly impair the quality of water, air, and soil (Boschmann & Mei-Po, 2008, p. 140). In turn, the life and health of many people can be impaired. Thus, one should first speak about the environmental dimensions of this issue. They is of great concern to many scientists, engineers, and urban planners. Moreover, much attention should be paid to the economic aspects of transportation. This issue is relevant to such a county as the United Arab Emirates. For instance, Dubai is one of the most important transportation hubs in the Middle East, and the reduction of costs can be important for the sustainability of this city and urban areas. Moreover, the government of the UAE places much emphasis on the importance of tourism for the development of the national economy. Yet, this sector of economy can grow if the natural environment is properly protected. Thus, sustainable transportation is critical for the economy of the country. Finally, one should not overlook the social aspects of this issue. Apart from that upward social mobility of people is possible if they have access to efficient transportation (Boschmann & Mei-Po, 2008, p. 140). For example, transportation is critical for ability of a person to secure employment. So, by looking at topic from various perspectives, one can better understand the need for sustainable transportation. Additionally, it is possible to say that environmental, economic, and social dimensions of sustainability are closely intertwined with one another.

Sustainable transportation in the UAE

It should be mention that that the government of the UAE implements a great number of infrastructural projects, and many of them are directly related to transportation. Policy-makers pay close attention to the construction of new highways because in this way, one can reduce increasing traffic congestion on existing roads (Al Nahyan et al., 2012, p. 499). Sustainable transportation is also critical for many urban areas. Much attention should be paid to Dubai because the population of this city has increased dramatically within the last two decades (Bruun, 2012, p. 1). So, in this case, one can speak about the social and economic aspects of sustainability.

Yet, one can also speak about the environmental aspect of sustainable transportation. Researchers usually focus on the use of energy-efficient vehicles since they are critical for reducing the level of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. When speaking about the UAE, one should pay attention to several important issues such demographic trends and lifestyles of people. First of all, the number of vehicle owners in this country has significantly increased within the last ten years (Worku, 2013). This is one of the main factors that contributed to the air pollution in many urban areas of the UAE (Worku, 2013, p. 108). Additionally, it is important to remember that many people are not willing to use public transport because of its low travel speed and unreliability (Worku, 2013). These are the main reason for their dissatisfaction. Finally, increased traffic congestion increases the emission of carbon dioxide because people have to spend more time while travelling within the cities. These are some of the main details that should not be overlooked by urban planners and policy-makers who must ensure the economic and environmental security of the country. In the future, the challenges that have been identified can become more significant because the population of the UAE can grow.

However, there are some attempts to make the transportation in the UAE more sustainable. First of all, it is important to speak the construction of metro rail in Dubai (Worku, 2013). This infrastructural project can significantly reduce the pollution of air because in this way one can significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the streets of the UAE cities. Moreover, the improvement of infrastructure is important for addressing the economic concerns of people. It should be kept in mind that the citizens of the UAE believe that the cost of transportation is very expensive (Worku, 2013, p. 115). Nevertheless, the use of private car still remains the most widespread form of transportation in many parts of the UAE (Worku, 2013, p. 115). This is one of the problems that have not been addressed by policy-makers. In particular, they should work on the improvement of public transportation.

Apart from that, one should pay attention to the use of fuel. For instance, one can mention that the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company equips its filling stations with natural gas facilities (Abed, Hellyer & Vine, 2006). In this way, they attempt to reduce the emissions of harmful substances that harm the environment. This is one of the initiatives taken by private companies that can also promote sustainable transportation. Certainly, many people are willing to buy vehicles which are based on the use of bio-fuels or electric power. Nevertheless, at this point, these attempts are not sufficient.


There are several complexities that are associated with sustainable transportation. As it has been said before, improved protection of the environment can be achieved provided that there are valid alternatives to vehicles that emit high quantities of carbon dioxide. In this case, much attention should be paid to public transportation such as buses and metro. Moreover, one should focus on the values and attitudes of people who must be more aware about the consequences of their actions and lifestyles. For instance, they should remember that the use of public transport can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is one of the details that is important for understanding the nature of sustainable transportation. Moreover, it can lower traffic congestion in many cities. Finally, one should pay attention to the availability of financial resources. In order to improve existing infrastructure, the state has to make significant investments in order to improve the existing infrastructure. However, these investments can be justified. These are the main issues that can be distinguished.


This overview shows that sustainable transportation can be of great concern even to countries that can have access to natural resources. The need to improve existing transportation systems has become evident to policy-makers who have to increase economic, social, and environmental sustainability of a country. The UAE faces several problems such as increased air pollution and traffic congestion. In turn, it is critical to focus on the improvement of public transportation. This is one of the main points that can be made.

Reference List

Abed, I., Hellyer, P., & Vine, P. (2006). United Arab Emirates Yearboook 2006. New York, NY: Trident Press Ltd.

Al Nahyan, M.,T., Sohal, A. S., Fildes, B. N., & Hawas, Y. E. (2012). Transportation infrastructure development in the UAE. Construction Innovation, 12(4), 492-514.

Boschmann, E., & Mei-Po, K. (2008). Toward Socially Sustainable Urban Transportation: Progress and Potentials. International Journal Of Sustainable Transportation, 2(3), 138-157.

Bruun, E. (2012). An Introduction to Sustainable Transportation: Policy, Planning and Implementation. New York, NY: Routledge.

Worku, G. B. (2013). Demand for improved public transport services in the UAE: A contingent valuation study in dubai. International Journal of Business and Management, 8(10), 108-125.

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