|07 October, 2019

Importance of efficient investment in transport infrastructure drives discussions on day two of the world road congress

His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Authority - Dubai, addressed the audience in the first keynote speech on day two of the 26th World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019.

Importance of efficient investment in transport infrastructure drives discussions on day two of the world road congress
  • Second keynote speech saw Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of the World Health Organization explain the importance of road safety
  • More than 15 sessions held as thought-leaders, pioneers and decision-makers offer their knowledge on various topics including road infrastructure at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

Abu Dhabi: 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.

Taking place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), the Congress provided the opportunity for hundreds of delegates including road professionals, thought leaders and academics to share their expertise on the most emerging trends and challenges in the sector.

Focusing on the Congress’ theme ‘Connecting Cultures, Enabling Economies’, the experts participated across 19 sessions during the day including workshops and technical discussions.


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 AED169 billion between 2006 to 2018.

Addressing the assembled audience, he said: “The UAE has today become a leading country in the quality of infrastructure. It has kept its ranking of being first in the world in the quality of roads for four successive years. Such investments had also benefited the competitiveness of the UAE in hosting global events, such as Expo 2020.”

He also explained why extensive planning is required to deliver a sustainable and fully modern infrastructure.

He said: “Effective leadership warrants a clear vision and close follow-up, be it through meetings or periodic field visits. It also requires timely and well-rehearsed decisions, technical expertise built on different information sources, and playing an effective role in achieving results through the power of persuasion.” 

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.

Speaking in front of hundreds of delegates, 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.”

He added: “Roads are not just for cars, it is for everybody. The infrastructure that is being built should ensure that children can cycle and walk safely to school while there should be better accessibility for disabled people to move around the roads.”


Throughout the day at ADNEC, experts contributed to a series of discussions through workshops, technical, foresight and special sessions that took place simultaneously.

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.

Addressing the audience, 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.

Pendlebury outlined examples of nations including Latvia which showed financial backing that has improved journeys in their capital Riga. He also revealed the importance of building a roads network that caters for cyclists after highlighting Denmark has invested in cycling across the country with 49% of children aged between 11 to 15, cycling to school.

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.

Guangzhe Chen, Global Director, Transport Global Practice, World Bank while emphasising why it is essential especially in a transport sector that continues to grow rapidly said: “To achieve the maximum social and economic gains, it requires the expertise and knowledge of both men and women. This is an issue that we will take seriously and we want to focus on closing the gender gap in the future and this has been recognized as one of key strategies by the World Bank Group to make a difference in the sector.”


The 26th World Road Congress will resume on Tuesday for another crucial day of talks. The programme will feature 19 more sessions with the electric roads systems, positive energy roads and disability-inclusive road transport among the topics to be discussed.

The keynote sessions will see Guangzhe Chen, Global Director of Transport Global Practice and Regional Director of South Asia Infrastructure Department World Bank and Nazir Alli, Founder and Former Chief Executive Officer of the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) address the audience on two key topics.

Chen will share his expertise on ‘The road to sustainable transport – tackling the finance challenge’ while Alli will later take to the stage to speak on the topic - ‘Enhancing infrastructure for social cohesion and trade in Africa’.


Press Contact: 
Noorul Hijaz
Seven Media
00971 55316 3123


Download the official World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019 program: http://www.aipcrabudhabi2019.org/events/abu-dhabi-world-road-congress-2019/custom-119-9cdd9b3dccdc450991da91decda350b4.aspx 

About PIARC 

The World Road Association (PIARC) was established in 1909 as a non-profit organisation to be the world leader in the exchange of knowledge on roads and road transport policy and practices within the context of integrated, sustainable transport.

As of December 2018, the Association counts 122 national member governments from all over the world, including two-thirds from low and middle-income countries, and more than 2,000 members from industry, administration or academia as well as individuals.

About Department of Transport - Abu Dhabi

The Department of Transport of Abu Dhabi (“DoT”) was established by Law No. (4) of 2006, as amended by Law No. 5 of 2008 and No. 6 of 2018 issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the U.A.E., as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, to carry out the legislative, regulatory, supervisory and control functions related to the surface, maritime transport and the civil aviation sectors in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as well as all commercial activities related to these sectors.

As part of its efforts to establish an integrated and sustainable transport system in line with the population and urban growth and the rapid technological development in the transport sector, DoT continuously works in cooperation with its stakeholders to develop projects that provide the best services in line with the Abu Dhabi Development Agenda and public policy.

About World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019

Since the first World Road Congress held in Paris in 1909, PIARC has organized Congresses every four years in a member country with the aim of sharing worldwide techniques, innovations, political strategies, trends and developments, best practices and experiences in the fields of road, infrastructures and transport between Ministers, governments, private sector, road and transport administrations and organizations, academics, solutions’ providers, experts and practitioners from more than 140 countries across the planet. 

The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT) won the bid to host the prestigious 26th Congress and, taking the current international situation across the globe into account, came up with the topic “Connecting Cultures, Enabling Economies” to enable multilateral talks as innovative way to establish new ideas towards better understanding not only of road, infrastructure and transport works but also regarding the cultural part that should be implemented among all.

© Press Release 2019

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