11 October 2019 | Abu Dhabi, UAE
The 26th World Road Congress, held in Abu Dhabi (UAE) from 6 to 10 October, gathered more than 6000 participants from 144 countries, more than 3700 delegates and 40 Ministers and Vice-Ministers from all over the world.
The ERF represented the European road industry showcasing main initiatives in road safety, sustainability, road asset management and automation on the French pavilion and in specific technical sessions. Concretely, Rik Nuyttens (ERF President / 3M) participated at the Foresight Session on ‘Building partnerships for better road safety’. In addition, Jean-Claude Roffé (ERF Ambassador) joined a discussion panel in a Foresight Session dedicated to ‘Socioeconomic impacts of connected vehicles land use and streets’ and to a Technical Session on Road Asset Management, together with PIARC Technical Committee representatives.
The Congress, organized for the first time in the Middle East area, was divided in 62 sessions, 13 workshops and 6 technical visits. An Open Stage was installed in the exhibition area offering various presentations and discussions. Christophe Nicodème (ERF Director General) animated a debate on ‘Future Mobility and Resilience of the road infrastructure’ bringing together 9 representatives from different French organisations, research centers and companies.
A milestone for the ERF was the presentation of the first results of the Benchmark Study on New Mobility and Road Infrastructure together with Routes de France, the French Federation of Public Works (FNTP) and supported by FIEC. The initiative will provide a detailed analysis on how countries at international and European level are addressing the subject of road infrastructure and its equipment in the context of the revolution in mobility uses, including the changes in its new services.
The Benchmark Study covers several items: electromobility deployment, autonomous vehicles framework, road infrastructure management and governance, soft and active mobility. Simon Gianordoli (ERF Project Manager, based in Brussels) and Amélie Schäfer (FNTP, based in Paris) have successfully reached 16 countries allowing to identify initial trends. They also had the opportunity to deliver the infrastructure point of view during the session ‘Sustainable and greener long-distance road freight transport’. New Road Authorities have been approached in Abu Dhabi and will provide further contributions extending the content of the second part of the benchmark study. Research will continue collecting the most accurate data and adding new countries to complete the full study to be presented during the first quarter of 2020.
In words of Rik Nuyttens (ERF President), ‘through its intense participation during the World Road Congress, the ERF proved to be a committed partner to PIARC and its members providing industry experience and vision towards mutual challenges such as safety, climate change, resilience, automation and R&I’.
A main objective for the ERF in the coming years is to strengthen this partnership with the public sector fostering dialogue and exchange of knowledge with major road mobility stakeholders, shaping together a better future for our roads and citizens.