Building smarter transportation networks in the GCC
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)1 countries face significant fiscal, safety, environmental, and accessibility challenges in their transportation systems. Innovative new technologies offer a means of managing these issues. These technologies include autonomous vehicles, electric cars, drones, traffic management systems, and other advances. To capitalize on such emerging technology, government authorities, ministries of transport, and other regional stakeholders in the GCC should use a four-part framework:
While introducing this framework, governments need to bear two factors in mind. First, GCC governments need not start from scratch. GCC nations can apply the lessons learned from other markets, that are further along in their adoption of transportation technologies, tailoring them to unique GCC needs. Second, technologies are developing quickly, making it difficult to project years ahead. For that reason, governments should avoid focusing on any one specific technology and spread their bets across multiple options, remain flexible, and adapt to changing conditions.
As the GCC population grows and urbanization continues, governments have little choice but to upgrade their transportation systems. The wealth of new technologies can significantly help, provided governments use a systematic framework to assess and implement them. Specifically, transportation authorities should apply a four-part framework that encompasses regulating, pilot testing, building, and incentivizing:
Technology offers GCC governments a means to not only address some of the most pressing fiscal, safety, environmental, and accessibility challenges they face, but also build the regional and global hubs for transportation and logistics that can propel regional economies into the future.
1 The GCC countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.