As well as best practices and ideas being exchanged during the next four days, the Congress will also be an opportunity to demonstrate the development and sustainability of the UAE infrastructure to the world.
Hundreds of delegates will learn more about the remarkable transformation of Abu Dhabi’s roads with the DoT playing an integral role in helping the UAE to be ranked 1st in the Quality of Roads Index in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Reports.
With Abu Dhabi now established as a key destination for trade and tourism, the Congress will significantly boost Abu Dhabi’s long-term vision by putting a greater focus on the knowledge-based industries of the future.
WARM WELCOME BY CHAIRMAN OF FEDERAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY AND PIARC PRESIDENT
During the opening ceremony at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), His Excellency Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime and Claude Van Rooten, President of World Road Association (PIARC) welcomed the audience for the latest premier flagship event and outlined the importance of the World Road Congress.
Addressing the decision-makers, thought-leaders and government ministers from over 150 nations in his welcome speech, H.E Dr Abdullah said the world-class roads network would not have been possible without the vision of His Highness, the late, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President and Founder of the UAE from 1971 and Ruler of Abu Dhabi emirate from 1966.
“Abu Dhabi is the first city in the Middle East to host the World Road Congress and the city has helped the UAE be ranked first for having the best roads in the world for four straight years.
“Under the theme of 'Connecting Cultures, Enabling Economies', the World Road Congress will help us share ideas and best practices and together we can take the necessary action to promote the sustainable growth of road networks, transport and infrastructure around the world, which will benefit the present and future generations.”
Claude Van Rooten, President of PIARC also took to the stage and outlined the importance of the World Road Congress in Abu Dhabi.
He said: “The worldwide community have gathered here in Abu Dhabi and we are all honoured to be in this part of the world for the very first time in the Congress’ history.
“Being here will help us admire a new country and the achievement of how they maintain and operate its state-of-the-art road network. More than 45 ministers will be sharing their vision for the future of their nations and we will be able to learn more about their plans, culture and new projects and vision in building road networks in the Ministerial Session.
“Throughout the week, we will be able to benefit a lot during the discussions. For delegates, this will be a new Congress where will be able to gain new insight and knowledge on many various topics and themes around roads and transport.”
The Ministerial Session, established as a significant activity of the Congress’ programme, saw government officials focus on three critical areas by engaging in 60-minute talks on each topic, highlighting the importance of countries adapting and working together.
With new environmental challenges being presented every day, the ‘Land Use Planning’ session provided an interesting insight on the essential need for planning ahead. Among the topics analysed were how governments can help reduce congestion through smart mobility and exploring the options of whether we need to travel long distances.
Addressing what the future holds for the roads sector, the ‘Artificial Intelligence in the road sector’ session provided a platform for the ministers to talk about the technology revolution. With the introduction of self-driving and electric cars set to hit the roads in the future, the ministers contributed how innovative systems can enhance transport services and how governments can support authorities in adopting these unique technology tools.
His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in UAE who opened the session, explained how artificial intelligence will shape the future of transport.
“In this day and age, when we speak about the future of any sector, artificial intelligence is seen as key to that sector.
“Going forward, every sector is going to be connected by artificial intelligence. Every single one of us uses artificial intelligence on a daily basis with most of us using it to get from one point to another using navigation apps.
“Throughout our history, we have moved from being human powered, technology assisted to today being technology powered by human support.
“In the transport sector, everyone knows artificial intelligence will play a fundamental role in running autonomous vehicles. But there are uses of artificial intelligence outside autonomous vehicles like land usage, traffic management, developing infrastructure and generating monumental amount of data that today are required for us to improve the way we do businesses.”
The third and final session focused on the ‘Future Transport Network’ and how connected technology and innovative services can enable opportunities to change the way solutions are provided by connecting cities and neighbourhoods.
LOOK AHEAD TO DAY TWO
The 26th World Road Congress Abu Dhabi 2019 will resume on Monday with global experts offering their knowledge and expertise.
Among the highlights are keynote speeches with His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority – Dubai and World Health Organisation’s Dr. Etienne Krug taking to the stage.
The second day will also see the findings and outcomes of a number of studies including the ‘Contribution of road transport to sustainability and economic development’ session.
It is one of 19 sessions and workshops that will be held during the day with the ‘Road infrastructure resilience’ and ‘Sustainable financing for transport infrastructure’ sessions also taking place.
From L to R: His Excellency Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuami, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime, Michael McCormack, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court and a member of the Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Department of Transport (DoT) and Claude Van Rooten, PIARC President.
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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 organised 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 organisations, 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