Your Nol card to be main payment channel in Dubai: RTA

25% of daily journeys in Dubai to be autonomous by 2030

By Rajive Singh

DUBAI: The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), yesterday announced that it aims to make its Nol card, the main payment method for government services in Dubai. No time frame was given for the project.

It also announced that by 2030, a quarter of all daily journeys in Dubai will be by ‘autonomous’ vehicles.

The announcements were made at a press conference where Mattar Al Tayer, RTA Director General and Chairman, unveiled the Digital 5-Year Strategy of the RTA (2017-2021).

He said RTA has accomplished 29 initiatives as part of the Smart City project. This number includes 7 additional initiatives to the roadmap announced by RTA at the time of releasing the Smart City in March 2014. Thus, RTA has become the first government entity to announce the completion of its smart initiatives, he said.


“RTA is seeking to make Nol card the main payment means of government services in the city,” said Abdullah Al Madani, CEO of Corporate Technology Support Services Sector cum Head of Dubai Smart City Project Support Follow-up & Governance Committee.

He said RTA has activated payment of taxi fare via Nol and credit cards for ease of visitors and residents who may not have cash. More than 7,500 taxicabs have been fitted with machines. RTA has also provided Nol card services at Etihad Museum and Nol cards will shortly be used for entering public parks in Dubai. The card can also be used in light retail purchases.

Customers can recharge Nol cards in less than 2 minutes and verify card balance using smart phones fitted with NFC technology,” he added.

Autonomous Transport

The smart vehicles team is currently undertaking three strategic projects and initiatives, said Ahmed Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA’s Licensing Agency cum Head of Smart Vehicles Committee.

“The first is the Dubai autonomous vehicles strategy project aimed at developing a roadmap for converting 25% of daily journeys to autonomous journeys by 2030.

The second is the smart testing yard project, which is currently implemented in the Dubai Driving Centre aimed at converting drivers testing vehicles into smart vehicles capable of detecting testing maneuvers areas and gauging the driver’s response to each maneuver.”

Abdul Mohsen Ibrahim Younes, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency cum Head of Smart & Sustainable Transport Committee, said, “The Committee had accomplished several projects and initiatives the latest of which was the hourly smart rental initiative introduced last January in collaboration with the private sector. This smart service enables the client to search for the nearest available vehicle out of 200 vehicles, book and operate it via a smart app. It had also rolled out the Smart Taxi app, which was launched in 2015 whereby the customer can search for nearest available taxi in a smooth automated manner.”

Smart Parking

Hussein Al Banna, Executive Director of Traffic cum Deputy-head of Infrastructure Committee of Smart Roads and Traffic Management, said, “RTA aims to provide smart traffic environment for road users and customers, and upgrade & streamline services. To realise this objective, RTA has undertaken dozens of projects and initiatives including Phase I of Smart Parking Project at Rigga and Sheikh Zayed Road, which offers a new smart service that provides information about the number of vacant parking slots using the smart app besides displaying them on electronic signs on streets.

“It reduces the traffic congestion caused by the search for the parking slots, as customers will be aware of the parking occupancy in advance. Another initiative is the Smart Roads Lighting Systems Project where the smart lighting system covered more than 200 lampposts on Dubai Water Canal Bridge in Sheikh Zayed Road.”

‘The system provides remote monitoring of streetlights, with a Wi-Fi service enabled. The initiatives also include Pedestrian Smart Road Shopping, where an international company will deploy about 50 interactive screens in 6 months. These modern and elegant screens, which suit the public taste of Dubai, will be deployed in the most-trodden spots to provide a variety of services such as shopping directly via the smart applications, facilitating access for customers to government applications information, and providing information about the weather & traffic on road network, among others,” he added.

Smart Zebra Crossings

“The Smart Pedestrian Signal Initiative can promptly estimate the time allocated for pedestrians, where these systems adjust the timing of the traffic signal automatically based on pedestrians movement of sidewalks (before and during crossing), thanks to the signal installed on the footpath and on the asphalt. The Smart Pedestrian Signal was tentatively installed in Al Saada Street, and will later be expanded to 15 sites with specific standards ensuring the required service. The initiatives also include installing roadway-monitoring cameras in major traffic diversions. Five control units are currently available and will be distributed to key diversion sites and remote congestion spots if deemed necessary,” added Al Banna.