UMii Report: innovation in the MENA region

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The Urban mobility Innovation Index (UMii) Final Report was released today by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum from Dubai. Sponsored by the Roads & Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) and implemented by UITP in partnership with Future Cities Catapult, UMii seeks to empower city leaders to implement urban mobility policies and measures that are relevant to their ecosystem and enable innovation, whilst promoting knowledge sharing and dialogue.

Distinguishing itself from other surveys by focusing on good practices sharing instead of pure competition ranking, the UMii Report illustrates the performance of the 30 cities according to the maturity level of their innovation ecosystem.The index has been based on the testing of nine innovation levers divided in three categories: readiness, deployment and liveability. A contextual dimension was taken into consideration for each city when evaluating the performances in the different domains.


The results of the survey will be presented in a series of six different news articles, covering the regions in which the UMii cities are located and their specificities. The first article of the UMii series is devoted to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, in honour of its official launch in Dubai, UAE, in the presence of his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

MENA – A region of ambitions

As it is very well documented in UITP’s 2017 MENA Transport Report, the citizens of the MENA region can count on some elaborated public transport systems. It then came as no surprise that the MENA region is well represented with four cities (Amman, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca and Dubai) in the UMii report. They have all been analysed through the UMii model, each having their own realities and challenges.

MENA is a region of great ambitions, but it is marked by important contrasts. When analysing innovation, important differences such as financial support, openness and collaboration with third parties can lead to completely different approaches, and ultimately different results.

The most notable element that comes out of the UMii report for the MENA cities is the concrete implementation of a strategy in each of them to develop urban mobility. RTA and Abu Dhabi have both adopted a precise plan focusing on smart, connected and integrated mobility. Amman and Casablanca on the other hand, both having more than four million inhabitants, have broader development strategies for their cities, with specific targets and goals for public transport.

The most notable element that comes out of the UMii report for the MENA cities is the concrete implementation of a strategy in each of them to develop urban mobility

While Abu Dhabi is favouring a more government-driven innovation process, which includes consultative sessions and workshops with stakeholders and the development of an innovative app which provides users with live data on traffic conditions, Dubai is strongly encouraging collaboration between all actors, even establishing a platform to encourage the exchange of open data. It will also soon launch an “Integrated Mobility Platform” for users to plan their trip.

Data collection and storage is also one of the main priorities of the authorities of Amman and Casablanca. An Urban Mobility Observatory to collect statistics is being set up in Amman and the city of Casablanca has opened a data platform for users to have access. Another important challenge for these two cities is to increase integration between the different services. An objective the city of Casablanca is aiming to achieve by developing 10 multimodal transport interchanges and Amman by developing a formal Integrated Mobility Plan.

The coming years will tell if the MENA region is meeting all the challenges it is facing in reaching its urban mobility objectives. But the determination it has shown and the tools it is developing to achieve its ambitions are clear signs that it is on the right track to doing so.

For more information on how Amman, Abu Dhabi, Casablanca and Dubai drive urban mobility innovation: 

please read the full UMii report!

Don't miss the opportunity to network with key public transport stakeholders in the MENA region at the UITP MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition from 23-25 April 2018!

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