A growing and welcoming phenomenon in the GCC of late, is the introduction of light rail, an environmentally responsible effort on the part of the governing authorities and a significant service, essential for the healthy development of a city.
As always, Dubai led by the vision of His Highness Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoom has been in the forefront in introducing the latest in technology. This is evident in the practical and appealing design of its tram service, complimented by state-of-the-art facilities. and the extensive network of the best track rails. Plus the ready availability of quality equipment meets the needs of its growing clientele, who have come to call this cosmopolitan hub, their home.
During my years as a transit personnel, one of the most common safety-related errors that I have seen occur, is not to know whose ‘right of way’ it is? This is a fine example of unawareness, as more and more transportation agencies around the world are realizing that the knowledge of sharing the road with public vehicles, has to become part of the driver learning process.
While collisions with cars are the most common form of traffic accidents, cyclists and pedestrians are the group most at risk of death during tram collisions. Cyclists may experience a loss of control if bicycle tires get jammed in a tramway track. I have noticed, reducing measures in the vehicle design and in the traffic areas, especially at and near tram stops, were taken into consideration when planning the system. This has inherently reduced the risk of potential injuries.
Since the habitants of this world-class city, come from all walks of life and backgrounds, this in itself brings with it unique transportation challenges. One would imagine that the element of ‘common sense’ would and should prevail under such circumstances as riding on this tram service or, importantly, sharing the road with this public service transport.
However, as the RTA prepares to meet the challenges of effectively serving the needs of its growing commuters, who have increasingly come to expect and depend on nothing short of the best in service from the public transportation service.
Nevertheless, there would always be certain operational issues that commonly tend to be overlooked, such as the passenger and vehicle safety imperatives.
In my opinion, a conscious effort needs to be made by the concerned authorities to take the residents of Dubai through an induction process which effectively shares the vision and mission of the transportation system. It will help users in better understanding and sharing the responsibilities and make them aware of what is expected of them. The successful systems had always been those that have implemented the three Ps: Private-Public-Partnership.
Its induction is an on-going process to highlight, delegate and implement ‘safe practices’, essential to the success of the organizational structure.
This program or process when implemented, will reduce the number of untoward occurrences, serve as an educational aid, create awareness of responsibilities not to the commuters alone. It takes into its fold, the pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on sharing the road with a display of safe and responsible practices.
I hope this article is taken in the spirit in which it is written. It is a constructive, positive and unbiased feedback on the potential opportunities for improving an already a world-class service.
A.Lawati is an author and a retired Train Operator from Canada. He has written and published several children’s books. His latest book is about teaching children ‘Safety’ when taking public transport.