Speed limits on MBZ, Emirates roads cut to 110 kph

By Sheena Amos

DUBAI 14 September 2017: The speed limit on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) Road and Emirates Road has been reduced from 120 kph to 110 kph in Dubai, by Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and General HQ of Dubai Police.

The decision, which shall take effect as of October 15, 2017, has been taken as part of the two parties’ efforts to curb traffic accidents and ensure the safety of road users.

“Lowering the speed limits on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) and Emirates roads is a result of elaborate traffic safety studies and analyses of traffic accident data along with their causes over the past years. It resulted in addressing several traffic safety requirements such as pedestrian bridges, safety rails, and truck lay-by areas,” said Maitha bin Adai, CEO of Traffic and Roads Agency, RTA.

“The current capacity of the two roads is about 12,000 vehicles per hour per direction: 7009 vehicles on Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road in the direction of Abu Dhabi where trucks account for 6% of these vehicles. Traffic studies indicated the number of vehicles on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road amount to 7,821 vehicles in the direction of Sharjah of which trucks comprise 12%.

On the Emirates Road, statistics show that the capacity of the road in the direction of Abu Dhabi is 6,442 vehicles (6% of them are trucks) whereas the number of vehicles heading to Sharjah is 3,416 (14% of them are trucks),” said Maitha.

Aim to Reduce Accidents

“The decision is mainly intended to curb traffic accidents resulting from over-speeding, especially as the two roads witness huge volumes of heavy vehicles traffic in both directions. Controlling the speed limits is one of the most effective measures of reducing traffic accidents. The procedure of controlling the speed limits is based on several criteria highlighted by the design speed of the road, and the actual speed observed by the majority of drivers. It also rests on the extent of urbanisation on both roadsides, pedestrian traffic, availability of schools, mosques and other vital facilities. It also depends on the level of traffic accidents that took place on the road, traffic volume, and the high probability of serial accidents,” added Maitha.

According to traffic safety studies, several hotspots that witnessed recurrent accidents have been examined with the aim of taking corrective measures as per the speed management guide in Dubai. This guide includes flexible strategy and procedures for setting speed limits on roads at world-class standards. It also defines the relationship between the best speed limits and the smooth traffic flow, besides intensifying the basic engineering measures for addressing dangerous speeds. It also calls for intensifying advertising campaigns highlighting speed risks, increasing the use of the best traffic enforcement measures, setting principles for specifying speed limits and reviewing the existing speed limits.

“One of the key factors for controlling the speed limits in Dubai is through speed cameras (Radars). Accordingly, the radar tolerance or the difference between the speed limit and the enforcement speed, has been aligned with the world’s best practices for the safety of lives of road users,” continued Maitha.

Speed Root of Crashes

Major General Advisor Mohammed Saif Al Zaffein, Assistant Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, said, “The objective of reducing the speed limits on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road is to curb traffic accidents, especially fatal accidents, and step up the safety of users of both roads. Speed is a key contributing or associated factor for not less than 60% of traffic road fatalities.

“Lowering the speed limit on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road is an outcome of extensive studies conducted by the Dubai Police and the RTA for raising the traffic safety levels and associated traffic fatalities. The move is compatible with the Dubai Police strategy aimed at reducing traffic accidents to zero percent per 100 of the population. During the first half of this year, the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road was the scene of 99 accidents resulting in six fatalities and 78 injuries. Last year, the Road saw 196 accidents resulting in 33 deaths and 249 injuries. As for Emirates Road, it witnessed 40 accidents during the first half of this year resulting in 10 fatalities and 75 injuries. Last year, the same Road saw 86 accidents involving 29 deaths and 147 injuries,” added Al Zaffein.

The RTA has succeeded in bringing about a quantum shift in the roads sector that merited the UAE to obtain the first ranking in the quality of roads worldwide over the past four years (2013 – 2016) according to the global competitiveness report issued by Davos Economic Forum. The RTA has also won numerous international awards such as the IRF Award for 2014 and 2016, Prince Michael Award, and the GCC Traffic Exhibition Award for the Smart Drive app.

It is noteworthy that a periodic revision of speed limits on some vital streets and highways in Dubai is made to raise or reduce the speed limits according to the condition of the road and the surrounding environment in coordination with strategic partners. The RTA and Dubai Police are coordinating several measures and preventive procedures for the safety of road users. These include changing the speed limit signs to 110 kph instead of 120 kph and the directional signage that govern the traffic relationship between road users. In doing so, the parties concerned adopt best international standards with the aim of providing safe and smooth transport for all.