Dubai dumps cars?

Summary:Well, not exactly. But if you're in the oil rich United Arab Emirates' largest city today, you might notice a lot less of them.

Dubai Burj_Al_Arab_ Josa Piroska Wiki.jpg
Any cars out there? Dubai.
If you've been in Dubai today, you might have noticed fewer cars on the road.

That's because it was the city's annual "car-free" day in which it encourages everyone to leave their vehicles at home and use public transportation, reported United Arab Emirates newspaper The National. It quoted Hussain Lootah, director general of the municipality:

“It’s not just about the carbon footprint of one day,” he said. “It’s a day to educate people about the effects of carbon emissions on many factors, including the environment and our health, and getting them to change their lifestyles."

It's a bold move coming from a city inside an eponymous emirate that is part of the UAE, which derives a third of its gross domestic product from oil (although Dubai itself is not oil rich, other constituent emirates are, and Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the UAE's prime minister).

But the UAE has taken a number of steps in recent years to reduce its domestic use of oil, which it still seems eminently happy to export. It has ambitious solar energy plans , has built a model "sustainable city" - Masdar City , and plans to construct four nuclear reactors in partnership with South Korea

Maybe by then it could put those cars back on the road, with electric motors charged up by nuclear.

Photo is from Josa Piroska via Wikimedia

More from Dubai and the UAE:

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter.

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