The Roads and Transport Authority figures show that the city state now has 1.4 million vehicles for a population of just 2.4 million. That is equivalent to 540 cars per 1,000 people, which compares to 305 per 1,000 people in New York and 213 per 1,000 for London, according to the AFP.
Rapid growth in the number of registered vehicles
In 2006 there were just 740,000 vehicles registered in Dubai, a figure which has increased at an annual rate of 8.2%. If the number of vehicles were to continue to grow at such a high rate, that figure could reach 2.2 million by the year 2020, in which the emirate is scheduled to host Expo, the 5-yearly world trade fair.
Although Dubai has invested a lot of money in public transport infrastructure projects such as a metro rail network, which opened in 2009, and a tram network, the first phase of which opened last year, it must be said that the car remains king.
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Authorities have also undertaken huge road expansion projects, but they have struggled to keep up with the growth in the number of vehicles. Residents of Dubai complain about the traffic jams, a problem which looks set to worsen unless people can be persuaded to give up their cars in favor of public transport.
Abandoned luxury vehicles in Dubai
The huge growth in the number of registered vehicles in Dubai does not necessarily mean that they are all on the roads. It is often reported that an incredible number of high-end luxury vehicles are found abandoned on the streets of the emirate, particularly in the parking lot of the airport, as both locals and expats cannot keep up with their payments.
It may seem rather drastic to abandon your Ferrari or Lamborghini and flee Dubai, but harsh local laws mean that debtors can be sent to jail if they fail to pay back money that they owe. The number of abandoned cars spiked considerably in the wake of the economic crisis, with many people realizing that they no longer had the money to afford such extravagant vehicles.