Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The rapid rise of Dubai is relatively unprecedented in urban planning, as in the course of decades, deserts has given way to a world-class city that is currently one of the wealthiest and most iconic. However, despite Dubai’s innovative buildings and land-use projects, such as The World and Palm Islands, mobility in Dubai is relatively restricted to automobile use. This is evident in the the layout of wide roads and various highways that run orthogonally throughout the city. In addition, as one of the wealthiest cities in the world, Dubai has a rich car culture, which is not only embraced by individuals (as some of the rarest production cars ultimately end up in Dubai), but is also embraced by the city, which captures this enthusiasm by auctioning off low number plates (e.g. #1-999) for millions of dollars. In addition, the city maintains an exotic supercar fleet for its police force, consisting of various Mercedes-AMG models, a Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari LaFerrari, etc. While Dubai’s socioeconomic conditions and automobile dependent infrastructure make Dubai an undisputed supercar hotspot, the dependence on automobiles has resulted in severe traffic problems, with the average Dubai driver spending 80 hours in congestion every year. While Dubai has attempted to address these problems through the construction of the Dubai Metro, the Metro system appears to link mostly tourist areas. In addition, Dubai lacks a rail link between Dubai and its nearby sister city of Abu Dhabi. So while Dubai tries to spin its transportation woes by promoting their plan for flying taxis, in reality, the young city is trying to expand its metro system in order to be less-reliant on automobiles. In this sense, the mobility of Dubai is not emblematic of its reputation as a city of the future, but is more inline with other car-dependent cities that have bold plans to be more multimodal.

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