Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), stressed the importance of adopting innovative solutions for financing RTA’s future projects, establishing creative models for funding mobility projects, and boosting the public-private partnership (PPP).

Al Tayer made the remarks during the opening of the Innovation Lab about the forecast of future financial resources and their impact on the finance of mobility projects in Dubai. The event, which was branded (NexGen Fund), had taken place in the presence of several CEOs and Directors of RTA as well as finance experts. The event focused on gaining a thorough review of projects accomplished by RTA, identifying additional innovative and futuristic finance sources, and customising innovative tools and techniques to RTA’s needs.

“RTA plays a pivotal role in providing transport, environment, and sustainable infrastructure; which are part of the national priorities of the UAE Vision 2021. RTA also supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the happiest city on earth through adopting the Smart City initiative,” he added.

“Innovation has become a global demand for building a sustainable and knowledge-driven economy. To nurture innovation, RTA had set up a higher committee for shaping the future, Innovation and Knowledge Department, and Sustainability and Future Section. It has so far held 28 innovation labs and is coordinating with the Dubai Future Foundation through the Dubai Future Accelerators. It has launched an array of initiatives such as the Driverless Pods, and the Dubai Vehicle Chain as part of Dubai’s 10X initiative. In the context of cementing the partnership with the private sector, RTA rolled out the Transit-Oriented Development and outsourced some services. It has also forged partnerships with startups such as Volocopter and Virgin Hyperloop, and has ambitious plans to pursue investment in the future of mobility,” added Al Tayer.

The Lab discussed a variety of issues such as tapping new commercial revenue sources to enhance the cash flow of non-tariff activities, allocating budgets for the next generation, and exploring new techniques for securing finance under the current limitations. Discussions also covered innovative funding for the RTA, financing future projects through PPP, and the creative financing of assets through the creative utilisation of assets base to save additional money.

The team has been divided into five groups and each one presented three ideas; the Lab has come up with 15 proposals relating to the funding of RTA’s future transport projects.

The Lab hosted Dr. Vikram Mansharamani; a finance specialist and lecturer at Yale University and The Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.