The pandemic is still ongoing, therefore impacts are not yet complete across the full cycle and public policy objectives continue to evolve in containing the virus and fostering recovery whilst in the roads and transport sector a wide range of responses have been adopted with varying degrees of application and success but there has not been already determined what constitutes best practice and under what circumstances.
In many parts of the world, relaunching the economy is now a high priority on the political agenda. Roads and road construction are ideally placed to play a leading role in investment plans, not only because the sector is vital to the social and economic fabric of society, but also because road construction is a purveyor of jobs that can help address the unemployment juggernaut.
Looking forward, there is an opportunity to re-imagine the post-COVID world. This includes accelerating key trends, such as digitisation, online services, and automation, as well as renewed commitment to tackling pressing pre-pandemic challenges, such as congestion, pollution, and climate change, with new resolve. This means reconfiguring road and transport systems and services to drive a better, greener recovery which supports more sustainable, resilient, and happier communities. As we head into 2021, we should look beyond today’s trials and tribulations, and focus on preparing well to build the economy and society of tomorrow.
These issues, and how they are handled across the globe, was the topic of the first PIARC webinar of the new season, which took place on 30 September, in Spanish. Following its initial activities, PIARC is now continuing to organize further webinars, bringing in new countries, organizations and focus areas. It is also intended that PIARC’s more than twenty Technical Committee and Task Forces will pick up on COVID-19 issues relevant to their topics and lines of enquiry as relevant and appropriate.
Proof of the importance that PIARC attaches to resilience and to reflect the megatrends that are impacting the road sector, is decided to broaden the themes of next winter service congress, to be held in Calgary (Canada), to include resilience so it will be the XVIth World Winter Service and Road Resilience Congress.
All who are interested are welcome to contact PIARC.