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26th World Road Congress concludes with focus of sustainable future

The 26th World Road Congress in Abu Dhabi was an important event in reshaping the future of the transport sector worldwide.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Abu Dhabi | Updated: 10-10-2019 21:14 IST | Created: 10-10-2019 21:14 IST
26th World Road Congress concludes with focus of sustainable future

The need for driving change for sustainability, connected and automated vehicles and road safety were among the topics addressed during the fifth and final day of the 26th World Road Congress.

Continuing the momentum of the previous four days of high-level discussions, hundreds of delegates including thought-leaders, engineers, and academics gathered for the last day to reflect back on the success of the Congress as a major step was taken in reshaping the future of the roads sector worldwide.

At Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), eight sessions took place in the morning before the first Congress to be held in the Middle East was officially closed during a spectacular ceremony.


During the closing ceremony, His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Federal Authority for Land and Maritime Transport, expressed his gratitude to all the delegates that attended the World Road Congress.

He outlined that the important discussions that took place during the week will contribute towards improving the way we travel in the future. He also explained how Abu Dhabi has brought together the rest of the world in line with the theme of the Congress.

He said: "We are honored to have hosted the 26th World Road Congress which took place for the first time in the Middle East and we hope it will not be the last time.

"Under our theme – 'Connecting Cultures and Enabling Economies', we have seen people connect not just through roads but also through intellectual communication. This showed Abu Dhabi has succeeded in hosting a successful World Road Congress.

"We have seen the discussions revolve around different topics and Congress has provided viable solutions that will help with the development of sustainable infrastructure using positive energy roads and implementing artificial intelligence.

"We have also provided the opportunity to showcase Abu Dhabi's world-class road infrastructure through a series of technical visits and show why the UAE has been ranked first in the Road Quality Index in the Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report for four years in a row."


The closing ceremony also provided an opportunity to reflect back on the past five days of discussions and analyze what action needs to be taken ahead of the 27th edition in Prague.

Claude Van Rooten, PIARC President took to the stage to introduce the World Road Association's Strategic Plan for 2020-2023. He emphasized even more on the importance of PIARC's mission by discussing and sharing knowledge on roads and transport policies and practice and integrating a sustainable transport system.

He said: "Road administration, mobility, safety and sustainability, and resilient infrastructure are the four strategic themes that PIARC will focus on during the next four years."

Patrick Mallejacq, Secretary-General of PIARC, said this week's discussions will play an integral role in developing the road's infrastructure and emphasized regular talks will be needed going forward.

He said: "This week we have exchanged ideas, best practices on different topics such as disaster management, monitoring information, transportation strategies, and electric vehicles which have all been useful."

"But roads need to have find a place in the larger context in a holistic approach and we have to continue enabling regular dialogue between road authorities, regulators and service providers to build sustainable infrastructure."


Mansoor Salem Al Mehairi, Project Manager for the World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019 and Director - PR & Communication at DoT said the event was a significant experience for all attendees.

He said: "We welcomed more than 3,000 delegates from 144 countries and 45 ministers to Abu Dhabi for this World Road Congress with over 400 formal speaking engagements and senior bilateral meetings taking place.

"The delegates heard from seven keynote speakers who provided their insight and knowledge while we delved into discussions on various topics.

"The Congress is about establishing facts and through networking, questioning and sharing expertise and on behalf of the organizing team in Abu Dhabi, we believe that we have Connected Cultures and Enabled Economies.

"We are extremely pleased to have delivered an exceptional World Road Congress in Abu Dhabi and the significant international presence speaks volumes of how well organized and successful this event was."


A delegation from the Czech Republic flew into Abu Dhabi and personally invited the delegates to the 27th World Road Congress which will be held in 2023 at Prague.

The delegation, led by Tomas Cocek, Deputy Minister for Transport and Adam Scheinherr, Deputy Mayor of Prague revealed they are looking forward to hosting the event for the second time in its history after first staging the Congress in 1971.

A delegation from Canada also invited the audience to Winter Road Congress in 2022 in Calgary. They highlighted the nation will build on the success in the UAE and will provide another opportunity to engage in a series of important topics.


During one of the morning sessions, experts discussed the impact of connected driving and the challenges and opportunities it presents to road operators.

The delegates heard that the innovative mode of transport will rely on exchanging information through embedded sensor technology that will improve the flow of traffic.

As part of a study, experts conducted surveys in more than 20 countries including Japan and South Korea and found that connected driving can have significant benefits with road safety and the environment.

It also identified that steps must be taken to deal with emergency vehicles to avoid accidents.



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