Dubai RTA trialing red-colored asphalt to alert motorists to speed limit changes


As part of its long-term mission to improve traffic safety and reduce fatal accidents, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has started coloring the asphalt pavement on streets where there is a change in speed limits.

In line with its policy, and the findings of the Traffic Safety Strategy for zero fatalities in road accidents in the Emirate, the RTA has examined and implemented a proposal on Oud Metha Street, in the sector where the speed limit is reduced from 62mph to 50mph (100km/h to 80km/h). The scheme involves coloring the vehicle lanes with red tarmac, drawing triangular markings on both sides of lane dividers, displaying the speed limit on each vehicle lane, and intensifying the cautionary speed-reduction signs on the specified road sectors.

The experimental road coloring is also due to be implemented on two further roads where the speed limit is reduced from 75mph to 62mph (120km/h to 100km/h). The trials will then be evaluated by the RTA to verify its impact on drivers’ attitudes, as well as whether the procedure has significantly increased compliance with specified speeds, and helped reduce accidents.

The various development projects launched and implemented by the RTA since its inception in 2005, have contributed effectively to decreasing the number of traffic deaths by as much as 50%. Traffic fatalities came down from 332 in 2006 to 166 in 2015, and mortality rate went down from 21.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2006 to 3.5 per 100,000 in 2016, placing Dubai among the top-five cities in the world for traffic safety improvements.

“According to the engineering specifications stated in the Traffic Control Devices Manual, the proposal had been developed for coloring asphalt in red at a distance sufficient for motorists to lower their speed gradually, without obliging them to apply brakes suddenly. We anticipate this course of action will contribute to cutting the number of successive accidents,” explained Maitha bin Adai, CEO of RTA’s Traffic and Roads Agency.

“The process involved coloring all lanes in an eye-catching style, so that the step would help in inviting the attention of road users to the new speed limit. Asphalt coloring will be implemented in phases at locations subject to speed change on some other vital roads in Dubai over a gradual timeframe. We expect motorists to get used to it for their own safety, and they will avoid offences and accidents resulting from over speeding.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).