Editorial - Newsletter October-November 2018
Claude Van Rooten, President
I had the pleasure of chairing the recent statutory meetings of our Association, which were held in Yokohama, Japan. They allowed to measure the extent of the subjects on which our members want the Association to work and develop new knowledge products, whether technical reports, fact sheets, seminars or conferences. These many expectations once again justify the very existence of our Association, as well as the relevance of our positioning on all subjects related to road and transport. It is up to us to structure these expectations into a coherent and ambitious programme, but also realistic and achievable. Such is the purpose of our next Strategic Plan, which will cover the period 2020-2023, and whose main directions are already being outlined, around the themes of infrastructure, mobility, programming, resilience and security. This Plan is currently being finalised and will be unveiled in October 2019.
Yokohama also provided an opportunity to review the preparation for our next World Road Congress, which will be held in Abu Dhabi from 6 to 10 October 2019. We received 612 abstracts in response to our call for papers, organized around 41 topics - the results of their evaluation has just been announced, and it is now up to the authors to write the full papers. Five strategic sessions will address the key issues facing our members. In addition, 13 "special sessions" have been confirmed, involving us with partner organisations such as the World Bank or TRB, and will address topics such as women's place in transport, integrity, transparency and resilience. In addition, our hosts from the United Arab Emirates have decided to invite the ministers to speak at the inaugural session on the issues and opportunities presented by artificial intelligence, spatial planning and the transport networks of the future. If I add that more and more exhibitors are confirming their intention to participate in this major event, you will understand that the 26th World Road Congress is already looking very promising.
The interest of meetings between people is therefore confirmed, even in an era of incessant electronic exchanges, and the Association's seminars and congresses aim to meet this need. Further proof of the vitality of this sector was provided by our colleagues from the Czech Republic, Malaysia and Australia, all three of whom were candidates to host the next Congress. The Council of our Association had the honour to review these three projects, and finally adopted the Prague proposal, which will therefore host the 27th World Road Congress in 2023. I join my colleagues of the Council in expressing my warm thanks to these three countries for the excellent proposals they had kindly prepared.
In the meantime, it is in Abu Dhabi, in October next year, that I invite you to meet me, but even before that, at one of the many activities that we have planned for next year!
I wish you, from now on, an excellent end of the year 2018.
Claude Van Rooten