(en) ROADKILL: The Exploitation Superhighway

David Fingrut (hermes3@tao.ca)
Wed, 9 Apr 1997 07:47:07 -0400 (EDT)


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Here's some info on an upcoming confernence put on by a group that's been actively opposed by ELF and Earth First in the UK: The International Road Federation. Calls for actions are now being accepted.

David Fingrut=20 The Media Collective Toronto, Canada

Return-Path: irenek@lglobal.com Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 14:10:17 -0400 (EDT) From: Irene Kantardziski <irenek@lglobal.com> Subject: Guess who's coming to our town?

INTERNATIONAL ROAD FEDERATION (IRF) GENEVA WASHINGTON

XIIIth IRF WORLD MEETING, JUNE 16 - 20, 1997 "Roads ... enhancing the economy, sustaining the environment"

ADVANCE PRESS BRIEFING

AUSTRALIAN ROAD EXPERTS TO JOIN 3,500 PARTICIPANTS AT IRF WORLD MEETING

Geneva - In all countries around the world, modern, safe road networks are the life-supporting arteries of all economies and societies. In most regions, roads carry up to 90% of passenger traffic and up to 70% of all freight transported. They support increased mobilty, trade and urban development in a way that no other form of transport can. Yet increasingly, often based on misunderstandings of the key role they play, road networks are under attack by various minority groups.

It's time to set the record straight and no venue will offer a better opportunity to do so than the XIIIth World Meeting of the International Road Federation (IRF) which is being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada from 16-20 June. With the theme "Roads - Enhancing the Economy, Sustaining the Environment", the Meeting will offer participants and media a major opportunity to assess the contributions of road networks to economic and social progress at the close of the 20th century. During the 5-day event, several of Australia's leading road experts will join more than 3,500 participants to discuss and debate the key economic and environmental challenges for future road infrastructure development around the world.

The International Road Federation mainly represents the world's private sector road industries in encouraging better road and transportation systems worldwide and helping to apply technology and management practises which will give maximum economic and social returns from national road investments. The IRF was founded in 1948 and is a not-for-profit, non-political, service organisation. About 600 companies, associations and governments worldwide are sustaining members of IRF. The XIIIth IRF World Meeting will feature:

* Two Plenary Sessions focusing on the meeting's themes - roads and the economy and roads and the environment. International speakers will offer views on road developments in Asia, North America, Europe and Africa and include: * Former EU Finance Commissioner and the IRF's EUROVIA EEIG Chairman, Henning Christophersen * Noted US economist, David Aschauer, * Canadian environment and business expert, Stewart Smith * The Executive Director - Transport Division - UN Economic Commission for Africa, Mpekesa Bongoy.

* A giant road equipment and services exhibition of more than 22,000 square metres, showcasing innovative systems and informative displays by=7F equipment and material suppliers, contractors, consulting engineers and governments and other transportation agencies and organisations.

* Technical sessions on all aspects of road infrastructure, including roads, transportation and the environment, transportation planning, road safety, urban traffic, road design and geometrics, road financing, pavements, intelligent transporation systems and education, training and technology transfer.

* A special Transport Ministers Forum with more than 20 Transport Ministers from around the world focusing on the challenges of providing adequate road systems in the world's large urban areas.

* A special session on road development in emerging countries

* A special session on road development in NAFTA countries

* Technical tours where delegates will visit the highlights of Toronto's municipal transport infrastructure and Ontario's road systems, including the province's showpiece - Highway 407 - a $1 billion all-electronic motorway featuring the world's first fully automated toll collection system.

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Highlights of key road development issues to be debated at the XIIIth IRF World Meeting

Asia: the explosion in road infrastructure expenditure

More than any other region of the world, road expenditure in Asia, both public and private, has grown dramatically over the past 30 years. Asian governments are now spending more than 20 times the amount they invested in roads in 1965. In 1965, road investment amounted to about US$ 3.5 billion per year. By 1995 it totalled more than US$70 billion per year. In recent years, pushed by the demands of the hot economies of Asia's "economic tigers", there has been an explosion in demand for road networks and vehicle ownership, particularly in countries like China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. As a result, governments continue to increase publicly funded road budgets at a rapid rate and much of their investment is focused on expanding and rehabilitating inter-urban networks linking outlying areas. This is particularly the case in China, India and Vietnam. But, in Asia's densely populated urban areas, much of the demand is for expensive sophisticated throughways or ring-roads. Even with the huge increases in public road budgets, administrations can't keep up with such a demand. So many urban connections are increasingly being developed by private sector toll concessions, often partly financed by foreign investors. Examples of booming toll concession road developments: southern China around Canton, the Beijing-Tianjin region and Wouhan in the centre. Similar toll concession development is underway in Hong Kong, around Jakarta in Indonesia, Manila in the Philippines, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, as well as in the states of Maharashtra and Andra Pradesh in India.

Privitisation of road operations - a key way of future worldwide road infrastructure financing?

The idea that construction and maintenance operations of road infrastructure should be directly paid for by users was unthinkable even a decade ago. But today, with government cutbacks in road investment, privatisation offers added support for publicly funded networks. It also presents tremendous business and financial opportunities for the world's road industries. In Europe, particularly in eastern European countries, almost all new road projects are all or partly to be built by private sector concessions and financed by tolls. The French and Italians have led the way with tolled motorway networks. Most are operated by public=7F sector companies, but Cofiroute, the French private sector operator, offers a stunning example of the success of private sector operations. Its 1996 turnover was around US$500 mn and its net profit was about US$100 mn. In Germany, one of the major holdouts against tolled networks, the Government is now ready to franchise 17 new highway projects as toll concessions and has decided to introduce electronic tolls for trucks on all of its roads by the year 2000. Even in the US, one of the last bastions of publicly financed highways, the current debate in Congress on the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) confirms that public coffers are empty as far as new road finance goes. So it is becoming clear that states will have to turn to tolls to finance their roads. In Asia, most Japanese motorways are tolled. On mainland China, the idea has taken hold with a vengeance. With the imminent integration of Hong Kong and the staggering increase in the demand for modern road networks, China has a good dozen BOT tolled road network schemes underway.

The challenges of building much-needed road networks in Eastern Europe and Russia

In Eastern Europe the problems facing road development in the post-communist era are staggering. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, trade and tourism with Western and Central Europe grew very quickly, as well as an overall rush to private motoring and trucking. The highway system, totally neglected under communist regimes, was not fit for this explosion of road traffic, especially on the West-East axes such as Berlin-Warsaw, Vienna-Budapest or Dresdan-Prague. The need to simultaneously rehabilitate existing links and build new axes compells all authorities to both increase their road budgets and to develop private sector tolled motorway concessions. In Russia, the rapid development of vehicle use, particularly trucks, and the increasing demand for mobility across the country also pose many problems for road maintenance and rehabilitation. Road traffic is increasing by 27% every year. But 40% of the federal roads need pavement strengthening, 19% need rehabilitation and 11% need widening. Local roads need even more rehabilitation and there is also a lack of technical knowledge and little funds to make repairs.

The positive contributions of road networks to environmental protection

The world's road industries support all efforts to build road networks with the best possible environmental protection. This includes providing extensive noise barriers in urban areas and building roads around environmentally sensitive areas. Increasingly across Europe and North America, all new major road projects require intense environmental impact studies. In Europe, particularly in France, motorway design has made dramatic leaps forward to protect the environment. For instance, mandatory environmental impact assessments of new roadworks, diversion of autoroutes around valuable forest areas, new techniques in tree planting, improved sound barrier technology, planting motorway "gardens" and pilot projects where 1% of the motorway budget is devoted to environmental improvement of the area it passes through. These and other road and environment issues will be examined in depth at the XIIIth IRF World Meeting. Case studies to be presented include new techniques for reducing tyre noise, integrated approaches to managing the environmental impact and safety of road projects, critical environmental considerations for Design/Build highway projects, low noise road surfaces, effectiveness of roadside noise screens, road transport and sustainable development and the integrated roadside design concept.

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* The IRF's membership in Asia and Australasia includes companies and government agencies in Australia, New Zealand Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Republic of China. ___________________________________________________________________________ >__________________

The XIIIth IRF World Meeting is co-sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Transportation Association of Canada.

By attending, journalists can meet the world's leading road industry experts face to face and see first-hand the technical innovations and solutions for today's road development challenges.

For more information on the IRF, contact Sandra Woods, Director of Communications. Tel: +41-22-731-7150, Fax: +41-22-731-7158, E-mail: irf@dial.eunet.ch.

To register for the IRF World Meeting, contact: Ed McCabe, IRF XIIIth World Meeting c/o Ontario Ministry of Transportation, 1201 Wilson Avenue, 7th Floor, Atrium Tower, Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3M 1J8. Tel: +1-416-235-5107 Fax: +1-416-235-5151

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About the IRF

The International Road Federation is a not-for-profit, non-political service organisation. Its purpose and continuing objective is to encourage better road and transportation systems worldwide and to help apply technology and management practises which will give maximum economic and social returns from national road investments. The IRF was founded following World War II by business and industrial leaders who recognised the need for an international organisation to attract attention to the growing economic and social importance of good road networks and to help rehabilitate Europe's road systems damaged in the war. Over the years the IRF has been instrumental in major global road infrastructure developments including achieving 1,000 kilometres of new roads in Mexico in the 1950s, the promotion of the Pan-American Highway linking North and South America and launching its landmark publication - World Road Statistics, as well as a variety of road research studies, including a massive inventory of road and transport research in more than 140 countries, in cooperation with the US Bureau of Public Roads. Today, the IRF is the international point of affiliation for national and regional associations around the world. About 600 companies, associations and governments worldwide are sustaining members of IRF, giving assistance and support to the dual offices in Washington, DC and Geneva, Switzerland. The IRF's mission is to promote road development as a key factor in economic and social growth, to provide governments and financial institutions with professional ideas and expertise, to put members in touch with each other to facilitate business exchange, to establish links between IRF members and various external institutions and agencies, to provide support for national road federations and to give information to professional groups that build road infrastructure. The IRF carries out its mission through seven major programmes:

* Trans-national road dvelopment - EUROVIA, Silk Roads, African Highways

* Education - the IRF Fellowship Programme

* Training - Executive Conferences and videotape training

* IRF Advocacy and external activities - lobbying the EU and its institutions for improved road investment and development, working with governments in Latin America to achieve major road reform, participating =7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F= =7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F= =7F=7F=7F=7F=7F=7F Samoter, cooperating with UN and other international bodies to promote road development

* Meetings, Conferences and Symposia - including in 1996 the IRF Asia Pacific Regional Meeting in Taiwan which attracted over 400 delegates and in 1997, the IRF World Meeting to be held in June in Toronto, Canada and expected to attract more than 3,500 of the world's leading road professionals

* Products and publications - RoadEx - a new used road equipment exchange on the Internet, World Road Statistics, Motorway Data Bank for Europe, European Road Sign Inventories and a variety of information publications

* Trade Missions - regular two-week visits to business leaders in developing countries by members of the IRF and the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association (CIMA) to facilitate new business opportunities

IRF programme highlights

Education

The IRF Fellowship Programme The IRF's education programme is one of the key ways in which it carries out its mission. Through university scholarships for graduate engineers and transportation managers, the IRF promotes global road infrastructure development. Since the IRF Fellowship Programme was founded in 1949, 1,037 Fellows from 108 countries have participated and have attended 76 universities in the United States, Canada and Europe. Graduates are highly skilled and efficient and exert a strong influence on the orderly development of worldwide transportation systems. Many have become Cabinet ministers, under secretaries and chief engineers, as well as leaders in the private sector and in academia. The IRF maintains close contact with the Fellows after they return home and throughout their professional careers. They form the core group of the IRF's worldwide network of professional contacts. The 1996/97 Fellowship Class included 21 Fellows from 12 countries: Argentina, Barbados, China, Estonia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, the Republic of China, South Africa, Swaziland, and the USA.

Training

Executive Conferences IRF Executive Conferences provide specialised knowledge on road subjects and issues for road professionals all over the world. The Conferences are one-to-two week short courses designed for senior road professionals on a specific road-related subject. In recent years, four conferences have been held annually: Motor Vehicles and the Environment, Traffic Congestion Management, Road Management and Contract Maintenance. The conferences are classroom style training aids with emphasis on brainstorming and hands-on training. Speakers range from university professors, to bank officials and experts from various disciplines. IRF member firms are involved as speakers and presenters and have the opportunity to meet the senior decision makers who attend as delegates. During 1996, the IRF organised four Executive Conferences: Motor Vehicles and the Environment, The Executive Conference on Contract Maintenance, The Executive Conference on Traffic Congestion Management, The Executive Conference on Road Management To further strengthen the programme in 1997, the IRF has re-vamped the subject line-up. Environmental issues will be tackled in a newly-designed Urban Traffic Congestion and Environment Conference and a new Conference on Road Asset Management will also be held.

IRF videos - practical lessons in road skills Over the past 11 years, the IRF has developed a comprehensive transporation aids video training library of over 11,000 broadcast quality videotapes in eight languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Turkish and Chinese). The tapes are used by governments and businesses in more than 90 countries and offer complete technical training on: road maintenance, equipment maintenance and operation, construction inspection, cement and concrete testing, traffic control, jobsite safety, highway safety, contract maintenence, highway management systems, equipment management systems, construction management systems, low volume roads and technology transfer. In 1996, some 40 of the tapes were revised and updated and translations are now being carried out in Turkish, Vietnamese and Chinese.

1996 Asian Trade Mission

Two-week trade missions are organised regularly to different regions by the IRF and its partner organisation, the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association (CIMA). The concentrated programme of meetings with senior road industry and government officials fosters both business exchanges and access to key decision makers that an individual company would not be able to achieve on its own. During the Missions, graduates of the IRF Fellowship Programme, who usually hold key positions in their country's road and transport infrastructure, introduce IRF and CIMA members to key road transport and industry officials. The 1996 IRF/CIMA Trade Mission in September was the first to multiple countries, in this case, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. In all countries, participants met with senior highways, land transport, economic and rural development officials, as well as road contractors, urban developers, construction industry representatives, distributors and road engineering associations. They also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with potential business contacts.

Road Development

To promote international road infrastructrure development, the IRF acts as a catalyst to develop specific private sector-led road programmes. These programmes advance trans-national road networks and provide business opportunities for members.

EUROVIA: helping the EU to advance trans-national motorways The IRF's EUROVIA is a project for a mostly private-sector funded and developed trans-European motorway network to be completed within the European Union's masterplan - the Trans-European Road Network (TERN). Together, TERN and EUROVIA aim to modernise the existing 43,000 km of EU motorway networks and complete them with 15,000 km of new links, creating an advanced, user and environmentally-friendly integrated system. The initial phases of EUROVIA will be financed by businesses purchasing shares in a pan-European consulting company which will undertake feasibility studies to identify the potentially profitable links for private sector investment. The total budget of the first phase of the EEIG will be 1.5 to 2 million ECUs.

Silk Roads: the IRF revitalises ancient road trading routes linking Europe and China For centuries, the Silk Roads formed the basis of trade between Europe and China. The history, culture and prosperity of what are now the five independent Central Asian republics (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Uzbekistan and Tadjikistan), as well as Turkey, Iran and western China, were dominated by these East-West links. But, as the ancient empires declined, the roads have largely become impassable. To revitalise these road routes, the IRF has created a multi-phase programme with a regional approach. The first phase will publish information on all agencies active in the region. The second phase will be a major IRF international Silk Roads infrastructure conference in Ashkabad in the autumn of 1997, with participants from all countries crossed by the routes, IRF members, and representatives from the EU and funding bodies. The final phases will be the publication of conference proceedings, the creation of an IRF regional training programme for road professionals and proposals for private sector consortia to undertake new road development along the Silk routes.

IRF Products and Publications

Providing statistical information, road data products and information publications is a key IRF activity, helping to disseminate specialist knowledge and to communicate with members and external audiences.

World Road Statistics In November, the IRF published the 1997 edition of its landmark publication World Road Statistics. Prepared in close cooperation with statistical offices in some 200 countries, World Road Statistics offers global information from 1991-1995 on: road networks and traffic; accidents; vehicle use, production and export; fuels; rates and basis of user taxes; examples of average annual taxation, as well as overall road expenditure. The 1997 edition contains added data including illustrative graphs and maps. Since the first edition in 1958, World Road Statistics has been widely used by leading statisticians, economists and journalists worldwide.

IRF information publications The IRF also has a very active information publications programme which produces the IRF Annual Report, the IRF Who's Who - a membership directory, the IRF Fellowship Directory which provides home country contact information for the more than 1,000 gradutes of the IRF Fellowship programme, the IRF Bulletin - a regular members' newsletter, and World Highways an IRF magazine which covers road news, industry issues and developments and IRF activities worldwide. IRF on the "NET": The IRF has two sites on the Internet, providing an electronic window on the world. Visited by more than 100,000 Internet users in 1996, the sites offer complete and sophisticated electronic information on IRF programmes, activities, conferences, meetings, products, policy papers, road articles and press materials. Geneva: http://web.eunet.ch/irf - Washington: http://www.irfnet.org/irfnet

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