Abu Dhabi and Dubai leading Middle East in Urban Mobility Readiness: Oliver Wyman Forum study


Rise in transportation and mobility efforts continues to see GCC countries ranked strongly

Dubai, UAE: Abu Dhabi and Dubai rank within the top 40 cities in the world and lead the Middle East region in sustainable mobility, in the latest study on Urban Mobility Readiness by the Oliver Wyman Forum.

Launched at the Global Mobility Executive Forum Series that took place at the French Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, the 2021 Index highlights how COVID-19 continues to have a major impact on urban mobility. 

For some cities, the year has been surprisingly positive, and resulted in an uplift in sustainable mobility. The report also highlighted how a rebounding local industry and the transition to remote work following the pandemic has reduced congestion and encouraged residents to adopt more physically active mobility options.

Key strengths from the UAE included the following: 

Abu Dhabi has strictly enforced traffic laws, aided by an extensive camera network. Abu Dhabi is also implementing a speed management strategy to further curb road traffic accidents in the Emirate. The capital seeks to make its public transit network as convenient as possible for residents with affordable prices and a comprehensive multimodal app. Despite this, Abu Dhabi will need to invest significantly to boost current low electric vehicles (EV) adoption rates, with charging infrastructure development the most pressing need at present.

Dubai is institutionally friendly to new paradigms in mobility, including significant government investment across the board in shared mobility, charging stations, and CAV technologies in recent years.. The city has sought to develop a public transit package on par with leading global cities, including affordability, frequent service, speed, and a comprehensive multimodal app. Dubai’s residents have been quick to adapt to the sharing economy, with a high uptake of 29.6%. However, like many cities in the Gulf, Dubai exhibits a tendency toward car ownership over public transit utilization. The city’s public transit station density is insufficient for its population patterns; and there is room to improve accessibility via intercity passenger railways.

From a global perspective, Stockholm tops the list due to an increase in walking and cycling, and continued investment in electric vehicle infrastructure and micromobility, accelerating the city’s trend toward sustainable mobility. San Francisco ranks second overall due to a boom in remote working and its ability to greatly reduce the strain on urban mobility infrastructure. 

For a larger number, however, it has been quite the opposite, with falling investment and a shift to greater private car use. 

John Romeo, Managing Partner, Oliver Wyman Forum, said: “The cities coming out on top of the 2021 Urban Mobility Readiness Index have made significant investment in new, sustainable technologies that will only need to be expanded and intensified as we grapple with evolving challenges of the pandemic and climate change. Stockholm is a bright example of what can be achieved, and we should also recognize the efforts made across the globe to make our cities more resilient.”

This year, the Oliver Wyman Forum has added the sustainable mobility sub-index, focusing on how cities are investing and organising themselves to ensure their urban mobility is sustainable. 

Matthieu De Clercq, Partner in the Public Sector and Economic Development at Oliver Wyman IMEA, added: 

“In 2021, we have witnessed a huge shift from GCC counties to achieve net zero emissions, including the UAE’s plan for net-zero emissions by 2050 and KSA aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2060, whilst Qatar has committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change and the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. These initiatives indicate the vision to invest in alternative and sustainable mobility solutions.”

The Oliver Wyman Forum’s Urban Mobility Index is a large-scale initiative that was started in 2019 to provide actionable insights on the future of mobility, leveraging Oliver Wyman’s global expertise across the mobility & transport industry.

About the Oliver Wyman Forum:

The Oliver Wyman Forum is committed to bringing together leaders in business, public policy, social enterprises, and academia to help solve the world’s toughest problems. The Oliver Wyman Forum strives to discover and develop innovative solutions by conducting research, convening leading thinkers, analyzing options, and inspiring action on three fronts: Reframing Industry, Business in Society, and Global Economic and Political Change. Together with our growing and diverse community of experts, we think we can make a difference.

About Oliver Wyman:

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a business of Marsh & McLennan Companies