Dubai is a unique example of how a city can be rebuilt for a short period of time to create a barrier free environment of all people including and physically challenged people.

Barrier-Free Environment

Dubai Authorities have been extensively rolling out a living standards improving program for people with high support needs such as senior citizens, physically challenged people and healthcare centers' patients since 2006.


Just imagine: nowadays any person either young or elderly one, in a wheelchair or without it — is easily able to move around Dubai with comfort, doing shopping in Dubai malls, having a rest, sunbathing and enjoying life. Every person despite of his/her physical capacities! Welcome to civilization!

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Dubai International Airport

Dubai airport is the first to start my pictorial story. Having arrived at Dubai all travelers including wheelchair users find themselves in a zone of special comfort. For comfortable and convenient moving there are moving ramps (travolators) allowing to reach desirable destinations inside the airport with little effort.

The same travolators — aclinal and incline — lead to an underground station.

* It may be either "Airport Terminal 3" or "Airport Terminal 1" depending on the terminal.

Dubai underground

In case of not having any personal vehicle you can use Dubai underground allowing you to reach any city area.

*Currently Dubai underground has two lines: the green one (mainly covering old areas of Dubai) and the red one (run along the main Sheikh Zayed Road Street).

On the way to the underground trains there are high entrance turnstiles with one of them to be obligingly a little wider to fit a wheelchair. It has a specific mark on it.


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A helpful tip: every underground station is equipped with gentlemen and ladies' rooms, baby changing and physically challenged people facilities.

Wheelchair users’ comfort has been thought out carefully here including wider booths to fit a wheelchair, low washbasins, morrows, hairdryers and a number of other useful and convenient things. By the way, similar toilet facilities are in all large Dubai malls.

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Trams, busses and taxi

New rapid trams system looks like the surface Dubai underground. This kind of public service vehicle is accessible to all without any exceptions.

It is possible to get around the city means of busses and taxi. The majority of city busses are equipped with special flat spats for wheelchair users. Such busses are equipped with special seats.

As for taxi service, nowadays you can call a taxi indicating that the client is a wheelchair user (phone number 04 208 0808).

A purpose-built taxi for physically challenged people, senior citizens, and healthcare centers' patients is going to appear in Dubai soon. This new service developed by The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is called "Awnak service".

A purpose-built taxi combining the design of a taxi and an ambulance will be specially equipped for the citizens of the categories mentioned above transportation. The Authorities promise to hand-pick and to train drivers for driving such taxies.

Parks, streets and public gardens

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A lot of municipal parks are being modernized in Dubai at the moment for barrier free environment development. Eventually all the parks will have children with special needs equipment, wheelchairs, specially equipped toilet facilities and parking lots.

Nowadays City Authorities are building special playgrounds allowing all children to play together despite of their physical capacities. These way children with special needs will be adapted and integrated into modern society.

"My society. Place for everyone." project has been successfully implementing since 2014. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai, is the one to initiate this project. Due to this project the city is planned to be rebuilt tailored to everyone’s needs.

Dubai new districts

If the old part of Dubai (such areas as Deira, Bur Dubai) has not been completely reconstructed for wheel users’ convenience, Dubai Downtown and Dubai new areas (such as Jumeirah Lake City, Dubai Marine, Jumeirah Beach Residence) have been designed tailored to people with different physical capacities interests.

There are special wheelchair ramps, elevators and parking spaces for physically challenged people.

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Purchasing, relaxation and entertainment

Dubai is the largest center of international commerce. Having found yourself here you are obsessed by visiting these famous malls. And here is good news: a wheelchair user can easily find himself/herself inside Dubai malls moving around with the help of spacious elevators or convenient trevolators.

The largest Dubai malls such as Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre can be entered from the similarly-named underground stations with passages equipped with elevators and trevolators.

In brief, everything is made for people! Enjoy yourselves and have a good shopping!

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  • Cropping me
    Author and photographerVictoria Lazareva
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