x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Every home in Abu Dhabi to have its own address

Residents of Abu Dhabi will no longer have to navigate their way through the city by looking for landmarks when the capital has its new street addressing system.

The Executive Committee at the Abu Dhabi Executive Council has given the green light for a project for uniform street addresses in the capital. Jeff Topping / The National
The Executive Committee at the Abu Dhabi Executive Council has given the green light for a project for uniform street addresses in the capital. Jeff Topping / The National

ABU DHABI // Every home in Abu Dhabi will have its own unique address in the next 30 months.

The new uniform street addressing system will begin as a pilot project this month on Al Maryah Island and in Al Falah, and will be gradually expanded to the rest of the emirate.

The system being adopted is much like the one used in the UK, said Abdulla Ghareeb Al Bloushi, managing director of the land and property management sector at the Department of Municipal Affairs.

An address will feature the number of a building, followed by the street name, city, country and postcode. Every street name in the city will be unique, to prevent repetitive names and confusion. Some existing street names will be drastically shortened.

More than 12,000 suggested names have been collected in a database and will be whittled down to about 1,300 after Bayanat, a company contracted to name the streets, decides their suitability.

“This is the time to implement this project. Abu Dhabi is expanding … so we need to deliver this address system now,” Dr Al Bloushi said.

The existing system was created in the late 1990s and is based on an abstract hierarchy of zones, sectors, main streets, internal streets and plots or buildings, arranged sequentially and requiring a long code that is almost impossible to remember.

Residents, visitors and delivery companies have to navigate the city by looking for landmarks, such as a hotel or restaurant, and directions consist of “turn left at the mosque, and we’re behind the bakery”.

Taxi drivers will be trained in how to embrace and use the new system.

Dr Al Bloushi said the idea was to make it easier not only for residents to navigate the city but for the police, ambulance and fire service to provide a more rapid response to emergency call-outs.

When implemented the system will improve security and help residentsw to navigate the city, and provide a welcome boost for the economy and tourism and a chance to place Abu Dhabi on the map, he said.

“We need this especially for security, for the emergency services, and also we want visitors and tourists to see us as a tourist destination without having any problems while travelling in Abu Dhabi,” he said. “For the economy, also, we need this system in place for the distribution of goods.”

After the pilot stage, the system will be implemented on Abu Dhabi island and in Al Ain, where there is a greater population density, before being introduced to smaller, more rural areas.

After the project in Abu Dhabi is complete, the same uniform addressing system will be implemented across the country.

Dr Al Bloushi acknowledged one of the key challenges for the new system will be getting people to use it rather than the current ad hoc navigation by landmark or road junction.

To address this, the Department of Municipal Affairs will launch a publicity campaign using television, radio and newspapers.

jbell@thenational.ae