RA at the XXVIIth World Road Congress

Monday October 2

Opening Ceremony

Roads Australia is delighted to be in Prague for PIARC – World Road Association’s XXVII World Road Congress as part of the Australian delegation along with our partners at Austroads.

At the opening ceremony, we heard from PIARC’s chair Nazir Alli, alongside Ministers from across Europe, outlining the shared challenges and opportunities the roads sector is facing across a European and global context.

It was pleasing to see an Australian group receiving recognition on the opening day for their academic paper related to asset management and monitoring, including some talented individuals from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Stay up to date with everything happening here in Prague on our social media channels over the next week.


Following our roundtable at the ITS Australia Global Summit with AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials)ITS Australia, and Austroads a month ago it was great to catch up with Roger Millar, President of AASHTO and Secretary of Transport at the Washington State Department of Transportation on the sidelines of the PIARC – World Road Association World Road Congress.

This was an opportunity to continue strengthening the cross-Pacific relationship and continue conversations started a month ago on common challenges while sharing unique insights from our respective jurisdictions.

Roads Australia looks forward to ongoing collaboration with AASHTO, looking at ways to share asset resilience knowledge, sustainable funding and delivery of infrastructure and the changing nature of mobility across urban and regional areas.

Tuesday October 3

Australia and New Zealand Delegation Dinner

Roads Australia was delighted to host a dinner overnight in Prague for Australian and New Zealand delegates, on the sidelines of the PIARC – World Road Association’s 2023 World Road Congress.

One of the highlights of the night was hearing from Andrew Eckersley, Head of Network Performance at Transurban.

Five years ago at a PIARC conference in Lyon, Andrew experienced a lightbulb moment during a presentation on how pacemaker lighting was helping to reduce congestion and travel speeds in the Tokyo Bay Aqua Line Tunnel, which shares the same steep gradient profile as Melbourne’s Burnley Tunnel.

This inspired Andrew into action, quickly moving to introduce the pacemaker lighting system in the Burnley Tunnel on his return to Australia. The new technology has been in operation for six months and has helped improve safety and efficiency by allowing drivers to maintain a consistent speed in the tunnel.

Andrew was joined for a panel discussion by senior Australian and New Zealand transport leaders in Jon Whelan, CEO of South Australia’s Department for Infrastructure and TransportAn Nguyen, CEO of North East Link State Tolling Corporation and Brett Gliddon, General Manager Transport Services at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Across a wide ranging discussion, panellists discussed the shared transport challenges they face, innovative ideas from their respective jurisdictions to meet these challenges and the unique opportunity they had to hear from technical experts from around the world at the Prague conference.

RA looks forward to facilitating more opportunities for information sharing, networking and dialogue between our members.

Wednesday October 4

Trilateral Roundtable/Keynote address

Day 3 in Prague as part of PIARC – World Road Association’s XXVIIth World Road Congress was a busy one for the Australia and New Zealand delegation.

We heard a keynote address on diversity and inclusion from Young Tae KIM, Secretary-General, ITF – International Transport Forum at the OECD – OCDE, alongside technical sessions on global supply chain challenges, asset management and climate resilience.

This keynote address touched on the influence of gender in transport design and how this often results in networks, systems and infrastructure unresponsive to the needs of a diverse range of commuters.

Countries across the globe are tackling this challenge at different paces but progress is essential to create more inclusive and effective future transport networks.

Together with AustroadsRoads Australia also convened a trilateral roundtable with members of the German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport and our Australia and New Zealand delegates, discussing shared challenges across zero-emission transport and ongoing asset maintenance across road infrastructure with a strong focus on bridges.

It was a good opportunity to learn more about Germany’s data-driven approach to bridge capital funding, it’s ambitions around having 7 to 10 million electric vehicles by 2030 and its progressive policies around promoting the private sector to provide fast charging infrastructure.

It was also beneficial for delegates from Australia and New Zealand to share their local insights and expertise around climate adaptation, asset management and policies to promote the uptake of electric vehicles.

Highlights of the discussion included an update from Brett Gliddon, General Manager Transport Services at Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, around NZ’s progressive EV policies and their ongoing efforts to rebuild following the devastating recent cyclone.

Dr Torill Pape, from Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads, spoke to her state’s unique transport challenges, particularly around climate resilience and adaptation.

This roundtable event provided RA members the opportunity to develop new relationships with international counterparts while sharing and receiving expert knowledge.

It was also incredibly pleasing to see Matthew Hall, Senior Specialist – Managed Motorways and Network Optimisation at the Victorian Department of Transport and Planning, showcase his research on the world stage, focusing on the effects of dynamic factors and regional climate variability on motorway safety.

The Congress is facilitating strong international connections across the RA Membership with plenty still on the agenda for the next couple of days.

Thursday October 5

AASHTO Roundtable

The PIARC – World Road Association World Road Congress has provided Roads Australia and Austroads the opportunity to consolidate and further strengthen an important relationship with AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials).
Following the recent roundtable at the ITS Australia Global Summit with Australian transport leaders, RA convened another roundtable with senior transport officials from the United States and the Australian and New Zealand delegation.
The roundtable provided an opportunity for RA members to share insights on the transition to a net zero transport network, how technology can be incorporated into transport systems to drive efficiency, safety and productivity and the challenges with delivering infrastructure programs in difficult economic circumstances.
With many shared challenges, this forum provided the opportunity to transfer knowledge and share fresh perspectives with international counterparts on challenging issues.
The relationships built in Prague will allow the delegation to bring home fresh ideas to tackle complex problems.

UK Roundtable

Following earlier roundtables with German and US officials at PIARC – World Road Association’s World Road Congress, Roads Australia also convened a forum with transport leaders from across the United Kingdom.

Transport agencies in the UK are developing innovative investment programs to support a net zero transport future, with invaluable insights shared about the Live Labs projects and learnings from Smart Motorways across the UK.

An insightful discussion was held on how to balance the often-competing budgetary demands of strong asset management and maintenance with new transport infrastructure construction.

With supply chain pressures and economic challenges across the globe the ability to be able to gain maximum benefit from infrastructure investment will be crucial for governments at all levels.

The new connections established between delegations will allow for further sharing of knowledge and information for years to come.

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