I recently attended the UITP Middle East & North Africa (MENA) Seminar on Integrated Mobility in Amman, Jordan on 22 October 2018.
If you were not able to attend this event, find out what happened:
H.E. Dr. Yousef Shawarbeh, the Mayor of Amman, opened the event with by sharing his vision for the future of transportation in Amman.
Amman has made great strides, recently purchasing 135 environmentally-friendly, wheelchair-accessible buses and commencing work on two Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems: one within Amman’s urban area, and the other connecting Amman to Zarqaa.
Mr Ahmad Malkawi (Deputy City Manager for the Greater Amman Municipality) opened his presentation with this quote:
"A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich use public transportation." - Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogota
He and Mr Hazem Zureiqat (Associate Director, Transportation at Engicon Amman) emphasised that public transport is not only a priority for Amman, but at the top of the national agenda for Jordan.
Jordan’s transportation needs are growing and it is important for transport authorities to invest in technology to keep up and deliver smooth transport for all.
In Saudi Arabia, we heard about how the government is eager to regulate by promoting integrated mobility.
Their vision is to activate and further develop existing regulations to enable transport operators in optimising their potential to achieve connectivity.
However, the most impactful presentation for me was definitely the keynote speech.
Mr Alok Jain (Managing Director of Hong Kong-based consultancy Trans-consult Asia) gave an insightful presentation on delivering a world-class bus service. He told us that the future is technology-driven and encouraged openness to new technology.
"Data is the new oil. Artificial intelligence is the new electricity." - Alok Jain, Managing Director of Trans-consult Asia
There was also opportunity for transport operators to share their feedback on conducting business in Jordan and the challenges they are facing.
Managing Director of Trapeze Group Middle East, Matthew Brownlie, presented in the third session on Effective Tools and Policies to Support Integrated Mobility. Matthew has worked in public transport and technology for nearly two decades in Australia, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.
Linking It All Together: Smart Mobility Platform
The global megatrends of population growth and urbanisation have resulted in cities that are congested and overcrowded, which in turn has reduced quality of life and productivity.
Smart mobility or Mobility as a Service (MaaS) are seen as the way to combat this through a combination of reducing private car usage and improving public transport efficiency.
In this talk, Matthew discusses the challenges in making smart mobility a reality, proposes the must-have characteristics of a true MaaS solution and examines the progress our long-time customer, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, has made with Trapeze’s solution.
The seminar was a fantastic learning experience and networking opportunity.
UITP has once again done a great job bringing together private industry players and public transport representatives to facilitate a productive dialogue; I certainly went away feeling like I had a better understanding of the Middle East’s transport ecosystem.
Smart mobility platforms will play a key role in the future and all transport authorities need to be prepared for upcoming challenges.
I am excited to see how Jordan’s public transport vision will be realised over the coming months and years.
Thank you to Mr Mohammad Obaid Al Mulla of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority and Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority’s Mr Fawaz Alshli from and Mr Abdulmajeed Altassan for taking the time to discuss the latest issues and trends in their regions with me.
See you at the next UITP MENA event!
Written by Mounir Sfendla