Abu Dhabi becomes first city in Middle East to feature in global guide on street design

ABU DHABI, 7th October, 2015 (WAM) — The capital’s streets are to feature in an international guide setting out the first ever worldwide standards for designing roads and public spaces, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, UPC, said today.
The UPC has been invited to contribute to the new Global Street Design Guide, GSDG, being compiled by the US-based National Association of City Transportation Officials, NACTO.
The guide, which aims to set a new global benchmark in urban street design, will feature examples from around the world of streets that incorporate international best practices. The UAE is the first country from the Middle East to be included in the guide as part of its Global Expert Network. Abu Dhabi will be used as an example and is one of 50 cities from 32 countries to be featured.
NACTO selected Abu Dhabi for inclusion in the guide because of its growing international reputation for improving quality of life for residents by providing sustainable, safe, visually appealing and walkable streets.
It recognises the success of the UPC’s highly acclaimed Abu Dhabi Urban Street Design Manual, USDM, which equips designers with the necessary tools to plan, design and build safer and more user-friendly streets for pedestrians, transit users, cyclists and motorists across the emirate.
Demonstrating how the USDM improves safety, post-implementation studies on Sheikh Zayed Street, a major artery in Abu Dhabi which was rebuilt following USDM standards, highlighted that remarkable results have been achieved in terms of pedestrian safety. The new standards at refuge islands, the pedestrian area located in the middle of the street, resulted in the probability of pedestrian fatalities at right turn lanes being reduced from 25 percent to 5 percent . Feedback from residents living in the area has also been very positive.
The UPC has provided a series of before and after photographs showing how some existing streets have improved after being redesigned in line with standards set out in the USDM, as well as the UPC’s Abu Dhabi Public Realm Design Manual and Abu Dhabi Utility Corridors Design Manual. The pictures demonstrate visible improvements, including wider, more attractive walkways, which create a safer, pedestrian-friendly environment.
“It’s an honour for us to be included in a prestigious publication that highlights best practices around the world, and it shows that Abu Dhabi is increasingly being recognised as a model of a sustainable, highly live-able urban landscape,” said Abdulla Al Sahi, Acting Executive Director, Planning and Infrastructure Sector, UPC.
“Our inclusion is testimony to the success of our approach to street design guided by innovative tools such as the USDM and Online Street Design Tool, which were implemented to ensure safer and more walkable streets in line with the objectives of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.”