The IRF conference that took place on October 29-31 in Dubai, UAE, was related to the problem of mobility solutions that could be utilized in the future so at to enhance the effectiveness, efficacy, and safety of transportation services in the region and beyond it. Numerous sessions were conducted with the purpose of discussing a wide array of issues pertaining to the topic area.
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Issues Discussed During the Conference
A number of sessions and discussions were held during the conference. For instance, one of the first plenary sessions was related to the rate of deaths due to traffic accidents and examined possible transformational changes in the management system so as to minimize that rate. Numerous executive sessions were held; such issues as innovations in the engineering of highways, environmentally friendly pavement designs, public-private partnerships, innovative ways for managing road contracts and assets, enhancements in bridge design, the problems related to autonomous and connected vehicles, and urban mobility for the new generation were considered.
During investor sessions and panels, there were discussions pertaining to such topics as “smart Dubai” and keeping up with the pace of development; the major programs related to the infrastructure of UAE; large-scale infrastructure programs of Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as of the Middle East and North Africa. A number of partner sessions were held; panels were conducted, during which public transportation, the use of “big data” as a factor enabling “smart roads” and additional transportation services, the utilization of Korean technological expertise, and problems related to efficient tunnel utilization, were scrutinized.
There also were sessions related to enhancing the safety of roads via design. Road safety audits; enforcement of road safety, as well as road safety education and awareness; the safety of vulnerable users of roads; ITS technologies for the safety of roads; data-driven programs for improving the safety of roads; as well as roadside and work zone safety, were thoroughly considered. The problems related to the application of knowledge in practice were also discussed in panels.
There were sessions related to the utilization of PTV-Group findings for service acceleration; the use of retroreflective sign technologies; and the utilization of rubberized asphalt for pavements. Finally, problems pertaining to future mobility were examined; there were sessions related to enhancing the delivery of infrastructure, project management, and the challenges presented by the growth of the traffic.
On the whole, the participants of the conference discussed a wide variety of problems related to the issue of transportation. The presentations and discussions allowed for creating a perspective on the current road and transportation problems so as to prepare this infrastructure for future challenges.
Ayman Smadi, Director of the UITP MENA Regional Office
Ayman Smadi is the Director of the Regional Office of UITP MENA (International Association of Public Transport in the Middle East and North Africa). Mr. Smadi is a recognized expert in the sphere of transportation; he has a Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering, which he attained at Iowa State University; and a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering.1 Mr. Smadi is responsible for the creation and utilization of the transportation policy in Amman.
In the conference, Mr. Smadi served as a moderator during Partner Session #1 of the Conference (“Public Transport: Mobility Evolution in the Making”). In this session, such problems as the manner in which public transportation is developing, and the utilization of new methods for sharing transport, were discussed in-depth.
Koorosh Olyai, Senior Principal, Stantec (USA)
Koorosh Olyai is the Senior Principal of the Advanced Transportation Management Systems (ATMs) in Texas. Mr. Olyai has more than 35 years of experience in planning, creating, and organizing the work of various transportation systems such as transit facilities and highways; he is an authority in Intelligent Transportation Systems and has been recognized internationally.2
During the conference, Mr. Olyai participated in an executive session pertaining to connected and autonomous vehicles. The problems related to design characteristics of specialized infrastructure for automated vehicles were discussed during the session so as to establish a consensus with the purpose of further advancing this sphere.