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PIARC (World Road Association), founded in 1909 and comprising 125 member governments from all over the world, is the global forum for exchange of knowledge and experience on roads, road transport policies and practices. With consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the Association is contributing to a stable and sustainable global development of the road and transport sector.

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2024: New year, new cycle!

Published on 3 January 2024.

Let's take a look back at 2023, a year marked by PIARC's many activities.

The beginning of this year is an opportunity to review all of PIARC's achievements in 2023, including the big comeback of face-to-face meetings such as the World Road Congress, the numerous publications of our Technical Committees and Task Forces, and the start of collaborations with new member countries. It's also an opportunity to get involved in new projects, as we begin the 2024-2027 work cycle!

Looking back to 2023

PIARC concludes a year in which we successfully held a World Road Congress and more than 15 international seminars organised in different parts of the world by our Technical Committees and Task Forces in collaboration with our partner countries. We organised events with India on tunnels, with Morocco on safe and sustainable mobility, with Tanzania on freight transport, with Japan on bridges and with Mexico on disaster management, to name but a few.

For our Technical Committees and Task Forces, 2023 has been a busy year, and they have once again shown great dedication and commitment. As a result, 34 technical reports were published and are available free of charge on our website. All these reports and projects were presented at the last World Road Congress, which took place in Prague in October 2023. These numerous publications have led to rich technical sessions and fruitful exchanges, which is essential for advancing the road and road transport sector.

The 27th World Road Congress, warmly hosted by the city of Prague in the Czech Republic, was the highlight of 2023. Organised by PIARC and the Czech Road Society, this international event brought together more than 6,000 participants from 120 countries, including 1,700 Czech and Slovak students, 4,000 delegates and 40 ministers from all over the world. With 65 sessions, 16 workshops and 15 technical visits, the Congress provided an opportunity for all its participants to share their views, best policies and practices over five days.

In November 2022, PIARC decided to make gender inclusion and diversity a value of the Association. A number of initiatives have been put in place in 2023, including an issue of the Routes/Roads magazine dedicated to portraits of women, and a social networking campaign featuring female engineers.

During 2023, PIARC also made a point of promoting road safety, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. A project has therefore been running throughout the year, covering all road safety issues and, above all, providing solutions and recommendations. This Global Road Safety Knowledge Exchange Project was managed by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), in close collaboration with PIARC.

Looking back to the work cycle 2020-2023

Since 2023 marks the end of a work cycle, let's take a look back at the work carried out by our Technical Committees and Task Forces throughout the 2020-2023 PIARC cycle:

  • More than 80 technical reports
  • 11 special projects
  • 6 reports on the Covid-19 crisis
  • 16 issues of the Routes/Roads magazine
  • More than 50 international seminars and events
  • More than 40 webinars

What can we expect for this new 2024-2027 work cycle?

First of all, 2024 starts with the kick-off meetings of our brand new Technical Committees and Task Forces, which will take place in Paris at the end of January and in February. These new teams, made up of more than 1,200 international experts, will be able, over a four-year period, to analyse the road sector in greater depth, strengthen or create new collaborations with partners, and share their results through the organisation of events, seminars and the publication of reports and reviews.

This new work cycle will provide an opportunity to look more closely at a number of major issues facing the road sector, as defined by the PIARC Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is the result of an extensive consultation process with First Delegates, Technical Committee members and other organisations. It highlights a number of challenges that the Association's Committees will need to address during the 2024-2027 cycle. These include adapting to the digital economy, responding to the increasing automation of driving, tackling the worsening road safety situation, ensuring the mobility and safety of vulnerable road users, taking ownership of infrastructure investment planning at national level, improve the image of the road sector and raise awareness of the contribution of roads to sustainable transport solutions, increase the use of diverse funding models for road investments, ensure a diverse workforce by creating an attractive and inclusive workplace and improve the productivity of road administrations through digital transformation. Resilience and response to extreme weather events remain cross-cutting priorities. In addition, reducing greenhouse gases from the road sector will be a high-level priority; this is underlined by the creation of a new post of Strategic Coordinator for Decarbonisation.

We can already look forward to the next World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress to be held in Chambéry (France) from 9 to 13 March 2026. Get ready, the call for papers will be open soon! Next up is Vancouver (Canada), which has been chosen to host the 28th World Road Congress from 4 to 8 October 2027.

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