United Arab Emirates Transport

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The United Arab Emirates have an extensive and 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 multi-lane dual-carriageway motorways, coping with the high demand for road transportation.

Speed limits are 120 km/h (75 mph) on freeways, 100 km/h (62 mph) on rural roads, and 60 or 80 km/h (37 or 50 mph) on urban dual-carriageways. Heavy trucks and buses are installed with speed limiters to prevent overspeeding.

List of motorways

  • E10 Abu Dhabi – Al Shahama. Length: 44 km (27 mi).
  • E11 Al Silaa – Al Qir. Length: 583 km (362 mi). This is the most important motorway of the country, stretching from Saudi Arabia to Oman, connecting Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al Quwayn, Ras Al Khaimah, and other important centres.
  • E12 Abu Dhabi – Al Falah. Length: 34 km (21 mi).
  • E15 Ruways – Wasit Oasis. Length: 145 km (90 mi).
  • E16 Al Rahba – Al Saad. Length: 100 km (62 mi).
  • E18 Ras Al Khaimah – Al Manama. Length: 61 km (38 mi).
  • E20 Abu Dhabi – Al Hayer. Length: 144 km (89 mi).
  • E22 Abu Dhabi – Al Ain. Length: 157 km (98 mi).
  • E44 Dubai–Hatta. Length: 129 km (80 mi).
  • E45 Tarif–Liwa. Length: 109 km (68 mi).
  • E55 Umm Al Quwayn – Al Shuwaib. Length: 131 km (81 mi).
  • E66 Dubai – Al Ain. Length: 130 km (81 mi).
  • E84 Al Malaiha – Fujairah. Length: 43 km (27 mi).
  • E88 Sharjah – Masafi. Length: 77 km (48 mi).
  • E89 Diba al Fujairah – Fujairah. Length: 66 km (41 mi).
  • E99 Diba al Fujairah – Kalba. Length: 82 km (51 mi).
  • E102 Sharjah–Kalba. Length: 119 km (74 mi).
  • E311 Dubai – Ras al Khaimah. Length: 139 km (86 mi).
  • E611 Dubai – Umm al Quwayn. Also known as Emirates Road, formerly Dubai Bypass Road. Length: 110 km (68 mi).

Private vehicles

Private vehicles are commonly used in the country. Driving licenses are available to those who are 18 years of age and above. An extensive and modern road network connects the main coastal cities; the desert roads are less developed.

Major accidents

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.

Taxi services

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


A bus in Abu Dhabi

A bus in Abu Dhabi

Bus services were introduced in Abu Dhabi by the Emirate in 2008 with four routes which were zero fare in their pilot year. At the end of 2011, bus services in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi provided 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.

In Dubai, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) operates bus services under the name DubaiBus. Buses in Sharjah are operated by Mowasalat, and in Ajman by Ajman bus. There are also buses operating between the different Emirates due to the lack of rail connectivity, although this is planned to be rectified in the near future.

Transport payment systems

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 planned 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.[


The only heavy rail transport operational in the UAE is the Dubai Metro since 2009, while the Abu Dhabi Metro is under construction and Sharjah Metro planning.

Etihad Rail was set up in 2009 to manage a national-level freight and passenger rail network within the country, and later to other nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council as part of Gulf Railway. The first phase of the system is complete and freight service has begun. The second phase will connect the railway to Mussafah, Khalifa and Jebel Ali ports in Dubai, and is planned to connect to the Saudi and Omani borders. In January 2016, construction of phase two was suspended for re-evaluation, while service on phase one continued. Costing approximately US$10 billion, the three-stage rail system is planned to have 1,200 km (750 mi) of railway connecting cities in UAE and linking to other Gulf countries. Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Khor Fakkan will be linked by Etihad Rail when construction is completed.

In November 2014, Dubai launched the UAE’s first tram network named Dubai Tram; it operates mainly in the Dubai Marina with new stations being constructed. Also Dubai Trolley runs as tourist attraction since 2015.

Another tram system is being planned for Sharjah and Ajman.


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. In 2011, it banned all aircraft registered in Congo DR, Swaziland, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe due to their poor safety standards.


Dubai International Airport was the busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic in 2014. Abu Dhabi International Airport is the second-largest airport in the UAE.

There are 42 airports in the UAE as of 2013.

Length Number of
paved unpaved
over 3,000 m (10,000 ft) 12 1
2,400–3,000 m (8,000–10,000 ft) 3 1
1,500–2,400 m (5,000–8,000 ft) 4 4
910–1,520 m (3,000–5,000 ft) 4 6
under 910 m (3,000 ft) 2 5
Total: 25 17

Heliports: Five are known as of 2013.


Emirates is the biggest national airline of the UAE and is owned by Dubai. Etihad Airways is the second-largest national airline and is owned by Abu Dhabi. 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)