THE LOOP in Dubai is a new 93 km sustainable urban highway. The project will become the smartest cycling & running infrastructure anywhere in the world.
THE LOOP aims to connect more than 3 million residents using a healthy mode of transport, to key services & locations by walking and cycling within minutes. It will provide an enjoyable climate controlled all-year environment, to make walking & cycling the primary mode of transport for Dubai’s residents, in line with its new 20-minute city initiative. The aim is to make cycling & walking the primary mode of transport for daily commutes for more than 80% of Dubai’s residents by 2040.
THE LOOP project is masterminded by URB, a global leader in developing sustainable cities. CEO, Baharash Bagherian explains how THE LOOP provided a great opportunity to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in urban mobility:
“Dubai is the best place for entrepreneurship in urban mobility. THE LOOP project is an embodiment of that entrepreneurial spirit, which aims to make Dubai the most connected city on earth by foot or bike. In Europe most people ride bicycles or walk to get to work. In Dubai, our aim is to get more than 80% of people to use a bike on a daily basis. Dubai is currently primarily built for car travel. It’s major road infrastructures & networks have disconnected communities by walking or cycling, thus we need an entrepreneurial mindset in reconnecting these neighborhoods, whilst making cycling or walking the primary mode of transport all year round to any part of the city.”
“Our aim is to re-engineer the future mobility infrastructure in Dubai to become more than sustainable transport systems. To think of such infrastructures as much as spaces and utilities for people, where various leisure & community services can also be provided. These types of infrastructures should be an enjoyable mode of sustainable transport, no matter the weather conditions.“
There is currently a big gap in the connections between cycling & public urban transport. The more the two are integrated, the easier it will become for Dubai’s residents to combine cycling & public transport on their daily commutes over a long distance. Safety & year-round useability are some of the critical issues, which THE LOOP also provides. THE LOOP is thus a paradigm shift from car-centric infrastructure to people-centric infrastructure. It will make urban mobility a joyful experience for Dubai residents whilst also making them healthy.
Ultimately, whilst cities race to upgrade their infrastructure towards more sustainable modes of transport, THE LOOP project in Dubai aims to create a new benchmark for the world’s smartest cycling and walking infrastructure. It will become the first active mobility infrastructure of its kind anywhere in the world, with various amenities & sustainability features that will shape the future of urban mobility in Dubai & beyond.
URB has recently unveiled the ‘Dubai Cycle City 2040‘, a masterplan vision to make Dubai the world’s most bike friendly city by 2040, surpassing Amsterdam & Copenhagen.
The study consists of further proposals for a complete cycling network in Dubai, consisting of various types of cycling infrastructure. The aim of the report is to provide the blueprint for Dubai to become the best city for cycling!
New images of THE LOOP are also available!
The increasing challenges of rapid urban expansion and climate change, together with the need of providing a high quality of life, are fueling new thinking in urban mobility to improve walkability & cycling in Dubai. Rapid urbanization has created many problems in the way we travel inside our dense cities. Congestion, safety, air pollution, noise emissions and high levels of CO2 are some of the key challenges that many cities are struggling to cope with. Whilst some cities stagnate in mobility, THE LOOP project in Dubai will provide the world’s smartest cycling & walking infrastructure, which will promote a higher quality of life.
Cycling is a major global trend & a daily source of mobility in some parts of the world. The key challenge in Dubai is that the infrastructure & existing urban fabric is engineered primarily for the use of cars. Thus swapping cars for bikes in an existing highly-developed car-oriented city, requires a seismic shift in urban planning as well as the infrastructure required to enable that shift.
With newly built mega highways & road infrastructures already shaping the way people move around, we need bold visions that will accelerate the transition towards cycling & walking between neighborhoods. Active mobility is more manageable to implement at a neighborhood level, yet at a city-wide level where there are major highways disconnecting communities and the primary mode of travel is on the road itself, opportunities for creative solutions that are safe, pollution-free, resilient & enjoyable to use 24/7 all year round are required.
THE LOOP will reduce car dependency by enabling urban residents to walk or cycle to essential amenities within a few minutes from their homes.
The project is in line with Dubai’s ambition of becoming a 20 minute city, where residents are able to access daily needs & destinations within 20 minutes by foot or bicycle. Active mobility is one of the critical components for creating healthy liveable cities. In the past few years, Dubai has strived to become the world’s most liveable city and launched the 2040 urban masterplan. As such Urban mobility has become a key priority.
THE LOOP will shift the primary mode of transport in Dubai away from cars & taxis. The aim is to make walking, running & cycling one of the primary modes of transports, whilst providing better social infrastructures & facilities for residents, to make Dubai the best place in the world for living.
THE LOOP looks to embrace the Dubai 2040 urban masterplan, by providing better connectivity, resilient infrastructures & shared facilities for neighborhoods. It will become the world’s largest urban sharing facility where multiple neighborhoods can share the same amenities, thus also promoting social, environmental, and economic sustainability.
THE LOOP is much more than an Urban Mobility Infrastructure. It will provide integrated services, with necessary facilities to be shared between neighborhoods, such as leisure & wellness. Thus it will empower a wellbeing economy of the future.
THE LOOP is multifunctional & multiuse. As a mix-use attraction, it will feature leisure & wellness facilities such as fitness stations & sports courts. Tourism assets such as wellness hotels & wellness centers will also be integrated into THE LOOP to promote wellness tourism.
Neighborhood pocket parks & allotments are also integrated into THE LOOP to promote social engagement & better connect communities together.
THE LOOP will be one of the greenest corridors to be planned. The multifunctionality of THE LOOP is one of its smartest features as it provides holistic solutions to mobility, resilience, social infrastructure & economic opportunities whilst also providing many environmental benefits. The technology integrated into the design is another smart feature. It will be one of the highest-tech infrastructures in the world.
THE LOOP also enhances the resilience of the city by being able to provide safe & accessible mobility in any event. It also generates additional renewable energy into the grid whilst also providing food security through the many vertical farms which are integrated throughout.
THE LOOP will provide integrated services across all of Dubai’s highest density districts while enhancing the use of sustainable means of urban transport.
Beyond emission reductions, sustainable active mobility also provides many other benefits, such as but not limited to improved social cohesion, environmental & public health.
The design of THE LOOP improves public health, is resilient to natural hazards and mitigates climate change with broader benefits including, increased physical activity and social cohesion. THE LOOP is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to create inclusive, safe, resilient & sustainable cities.
The project will promote a sustainable and healthy city by encouraging residents to walk or cycle in a highly enjoyable, safe & activity-rich green corridor.
THE LOOP will also have its own app, to give residents rewards for the length of cycling or walking they made daily. The more a resident uses THE LOOP, the more rewards are given. This will motivate residents to make more use of sustainable modes of transport & bring economic benefits to both citizens & governments. Citizens will be healthier & happier, whilst CO2 emissions associated with Urban Mobility will be significantly reduced.
THE LOOP will generate electricity using one of the cleanest and most plentiful energy sources on the planet, footsteps. Human footsteps taken every day will no longer go to waste, as it will be transformed into renewable energy in THE LOOP project in Dubai.
The running tracks are integrated with kinetic paving, which draws usable energy from every footstep. The technology works by using electromagnetic induction generators which vertically displace from the weight of a person’s footstep. That displacement motion creates the energy. It is then fed to generators as usable electricity.
The energy harvesting floors are made from recycled car tires, that flexes when stepped on, thus resulting in kinetic energy. The flooring is also integrated with sensors to provide critical data, such as number of footfalls & amount of energy generated in real time.
The kinetic walkways will promote social engagement in sustainability, whilst encouraging a sense of collective participation in a fun way. THE LOOPs flooring will be an immersive & educational experience, great for school children to learn about kinetic energy.
Ultimately, THE LOOP’s kinetic flooring will allow every individual to have an individual impact.
Prolonged exposure to noise from road transport in cities can lead to health issues, including cardiovascular disease, mental health problems, sleep disturbance & cognitive impairment. THE LOOP will improve mobility for cyclists & pedestrians, whilst achieving safer, cleaner & more liveable urban environments. Active transport improves health, eases congestion, saves money, uses less space & provides efficient transportation with zero carbon emissions.
Physical inactivity amongst children & adults is leading to significant health problems. These include increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, dementia and obesity. THE LOOP in Dubai will reduce such health risks by reducing the physical inactivity of people. Cycling & walking contributes towards improving the liveability of cities and the quality of life for city residents. THE LOOP will also increase access to key services and destinations (e.g. education, employment, social activities), which will have a positive impact on quality of life.
THE LOOP will also create great space savings in the future, as we will need less streets. Existing streets can thus be transformed into vibrant and healthy places, with additional landscape and active areas.
Ultimately, significantly boosting cycling has multiple benefits. Beyond reducing congestion, pollution & carbon emissions, cycling makes people healthier and happier.