Traffic tolls will shortly be introduced in Abu Dhabi to ease traffic on certain roads, according to a law issued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Department of Transport, which regulates transportation in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, will be authorised to determine the areas where the toll will be implemented, the amount to be paid and the operation times, according to the law, which took effect from the date of publishing on December 31. The department’s recommendations will then be submitted to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council for approval.
Law No. 17 of 2017 also stipulates that the department, through its Integrated Transport Centre, will be responsible for collecting the tariff from vehicle owners that pass through the toll areas. The ways in which the money will be collected is yet to be determined.
The department is expected to release further information on the upcoming traffic tolls soon, and these will be the first such charges in the emirate. So far, only Dubai imposes Salik road tolls on motorists.
Another effect of road tolls is to encourage greater use of both public modes of transport and sustainable practices like carpooling.
Khalid Javed, a senior instructor at the Emirates Driving Institute, said traffic tolls can also be used to raise funds for road maintenance and construction. International statistics also show that tolled roads have lower fatality rates compared to other roads overall.
While details about the location of Abu Dhabi’s toll gates are still unclear, residents have been speculating that Abu Dhabi’s Shaikh Zayed Street, which faces some congestion in the early morning and evening hours, could be the first to be tolled. The route already features variable message boards that resemble Dubai’s Salik gates.
“The traffic tolls are most likely to be implemented on the busiest roads, as well as on routes that see the most accidents because of tolls often calm driver behaviour. In Abu Dhabi, congestion is less compared to other emirates. But, the most congested roads are Al Meena 91, Musafah and E11 street towards new Shahamah,” Javed said.
Some residents have expressed concern that tolls on heavily-used roads will divert traffic to other routes with lesser traffic capacity, thus creating congestion there as well.