Transport in the United Arab Emirates

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The United Arab Emirates have an extensive and very well developed road network, principally in the Northern Coastal area, where the main population centres are located. Many of these roads have been improved to become multilane dual-carriageway motorways, capable of coping with the high demand for road transportation in the country.

List of Motorways[edit]

Private vehicles[edit]

Private vehicles are commonly used in the country. Driving licenses are available to those who are 18 years of age and above. Unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, women with valid driving licences are allowed to drive.[1] An extensive and modern road network connects the main coastal cities; the desert roads are less developed.[citation needed]

Transport payment systems[edit]

Fares on Abu Dhabi buses are paid by the Hafilat Card since 2015, which is a contactless smart card to be flashed when entering and exiting the bus at mini-terminals inside of the bus. It is currently only available for bus travellers but will gradually be expanded into the water transport systems and the under -planning Abu Dhabi Metro, Etihad Rail and the Abu Dhabi Tram System. The Ojra card is used by frequent travellers. The Nol card is a contactless smart card used for Public Transport in Dubai. It is also used for payment on buses between Dubai and other cities.


A Bus in Abu Dhabi

Bus Services were introduced in Abu Dhabi by the Emirate in 2008 with four routes which were zero fare until the end of the year.[2] At the end of 2011, the Bus Services in Emirate of Abu Dhabi could provide more than 95 service routes with 650 buses to transport 50 million passengers in the region. In the Bus Network Plan in 2013, 14 bus routes were operated in Abu Dhabi City.[3]

Bus services also run in Dubai under the name DubaiBus and are part of the RTA. Buses in Sharjah are operated by Mowasalat.And finally in ajman by the name of "Ajman bus " Bus services also operate in between the different emirates due to the lack of rail connectivity, although in the near future, this will change.[4][5]


The only intercity railway operational in the UAE is the Dubai Metro, while the Abu Dhabi Metro is under construction. Freight is transported through Etihad Rail, it was set up in 2009 to manage a national level freight and passenger rail network within the country and later to other nations of Gulf Cooperation Council. The first phase of the system is complete and now freight service has been started. The railway is then expected to reach for connection to Mussafah, Khalifa and Jebel Ali ports in Dubai in phase two and will connect to Saudi and Omani borders according to Shadi Malak as the Executive Director of Commercial and Operations of Etihad Rail. Reported in January 2016, phase two of construction is suspended for the company decides to re-plan the timing and delivery of the construction as phase one will still operate as originally planned. Costing approximately $10 billions, the three-stage rail system is expected to be built 1200 km long to connect cities in UAE including the railway connection of Dubai and Abu Dhabi to improve UAE's infrastructure, as well as to create opportunity to reach out to further in the world to transport products through links in other Gulf countries. As expectation, cities of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Khor Fakkan will be linked by Etihad Rail when completion is reached.[6][7]

In November 2014, Dubai launched the UAE's first tram network named Dubai Tram, it currently operates mainly in the Dubai Marina with many new stations being constructed.

Another tram system is being planned for Sharjah.and ajman[8]

Taxi services[edit]

Taxis services are operated by both government agencies as well as private agencies.[9]


The largest airports in the country are Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) started applying an advanced program in 2010 that allows the assessment of aircraft registered in foreign countries in order to ensure their safety and airworthiness.[10] In 2011 it banned all aircraft registered in countries like Congo DR, Swaziland, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe due to their poor safety standards.[11]


There are 42 airports spread across the UAE as of 2012.[12]

Airports with paved runways

  • total: 25
  • over 3,047 m: 12
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 4
  • under 914 m: 2

Airports with unpaved runways

  • total: 17
  • over 3,047 m: 1
  • 2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
  • 1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
  • 914 to 1,523 m: 6
  • under 914 m: 5

Heliports 5 are known as of 2012


Emirates airline is the biggest national airline of the UAE and is owned by Dubai.[citation needed] Etihad Airways is the second largest National Airline and is owned by Abu Dhabi.[citation needed] Other airlines are flyDubai, Air Arabia and Royal Jet.


Crude oil 830 kilometres (516 mi); natural gas, including natural gas liquids, 870 kilometres (541 mi)[citation needed]

Ports and harbors[edit]

There are various ports spread across the 7 Emirates, they are Ajman Port, Fujairah Port, Das Island, Khalifa Port, Mina' Zayid and Mina Jabal Al Dhanna in Abu Dhabi, Khawr Fakkan, Mina Al Hemreya and, Mina' Khalid in Sharjah, Mina' Jabal 'Ali, Port Rashid in Dubai, Mina' Saqr in Ras Al Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain Port.[citation needed]

Merchant marine[edit]

  • total: 68 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,107,442 GRT/1,795,235 tonnes deadweight (DWT)
  • ships by type: bulk 1, cargo 18, chemical tanker 3, container 8, liquified gas 1, livestock carrier 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 27, roll-on/roll-off 7, specialized tanker 1 (1999 est.)[citation needed]

Major Road Accidents[edit]

Six people were killed, at least 40 were injured and dozens of vehicles burned March 11, 2008 when hundreds of cars collided on a fog-shrouded Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway.[13]

See also[edit]