The importance of investing and planning ahead for infrastructure projects across the transport sector was among the key topics addressed on the second day of the 26th World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019, which is being held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).
Taking to the stage for the first keynote session of the day was His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, director general, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Authority – Dubai.
H.E Al Tayer revealed that investments of Dubai Government in roads and transport infrastructure had generated economic benefits in terms of saved time and fuel wastes in the order of AED169bn (US$46bn) between 2006 to 2018. He also explained why extensive planning is required to deliver a sustainable and fully modern infrastructure.
In the second keynote speech of the day, Dr. Etienne Krug, director of the World Health Organization, explained why road safety must not be ignored by countries when building road infrastructure. He said: "Globally, every year, 1.3 million people are killed in road accidents and it is the number one cause of death of children.
“The key factor that will help road safety is a decision from the top and that includes the government. We have to implement what we know will work. We also have to recognise that tackling speed is one of the important things to improve road safety.”
Throughout the day at ADNEC, experts contributed to a series of discussions through workshops, technical, foresight and special sessions. Opening the day’s proceedings was the Special Project Session – ‘Contribution of road transport to sustainability and economic development’. Chaired by Ernesto Barrera, head of roads maintenance department, Ministry of Public Works in Chile, the session revealed that the outcomes and findings of the World Road Association’s (PIARC) study will be published later this year.
Graham Pendlebury, director of local transport, Department of Transport in the UK and chair of the Special Project Oversight Team, explained why the study handbook would be a valuable tool for policy and decision-makers. He revealed six themes from the findings that highlighted how investment can significantly boost the country’s economy, employment, road safety, environment, the wellbeing of human beings as well as providing better access to education.
Among the other key sessions that took place were ‘Transport is not gender neutral: From increasing mobility to enhancing mobility’. The session saw the experts engage in a series of topics that showcased the importance of gender equality and creating job opportunities for both men and women.