ASECAP Study and Information Days, Marrakech 2008.
The 36th annual ASECAP Study and Information Days were held from 18 to 21 May in Morocco. The theme of this year's gathering was "European road infrastructures beyond the frontiers:Market, Competition and Sustainable Transport as competitive tools for the industry". Two European Union Directives, of crucial significance for the motorway sector, were at the centre of interest of this year"s event. The one is the EC Directive on the Interoperability of Electronic Toll Collection and the other is the Eurovignette Directive the new proposal for which is currently being prepared.
The event gathered together 350 delegates from 170 European companies. The official start of the congress on the 19th of May was marked by the opening addresses delivered by the ASECAP"s President Mr. Fabrizio Palenzone from the Italian AISCAT, by Mr. Karim Ghellab, Transport Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco, and by Mr. Otman Fassi Fehri, Director General of ADM (TBC).
They placed great emphasis on the fact that the toll collection is unavoidable. The greatest challenge faced by all countries is how to ensure funding for the construction of infrastructure, and some countries that have built their network from proceeds of national budgets are now introducing toll collection for trucks (Germany, France on 14,000 km of national roads).
The Working Session 1 was entitled "What frontiers and challenges for structuring an EU regulated framework for the tolling industry?". The participants discussed changes to the Eurovignette Directive where it is proposed that the toll should be used for covering the costs the road traffic has generated to society as a whole (pollution, traffic accidents, etc.).
In this way, the motorway sector is faced with significant changes as toll collection, which was traditionally expected to serve for financing construction and maintenance of infrastructure, may also be assuming the role of a transport policy instrument for the regulation of traffic, reduction of traffic jams, congestions and pollution, and for the promotion of alternative modes of transport, etc.
President Palenzona concluded that the proceeds of taxation, tolling and other road charges, should be used for development of the road sector and return of investment, rather than for disfavouring the road transport.
The second working session provided an overview of activities conducted in the toll motorway sector. Reports were submitted by the ASECAP Secretary General and the Chairs of the three Permanent committees of ASECAP, i.e. COPER I (Toll Policies), COPER II (Safety and Environment) and COPER III (Intelligent Transport Systems). The report was also submitted by the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) from Washington, USA.
In the scope of four parallel working sessions held on the second day of the congress, technical presentations were given about the following themes:
- Role of ITS in developing motorways` safe management
- Environment safeguard: preventing external costs through concession`s schemes
- Payment violations enforcement: legal framework and practices
- Traffic management and emergency rescue: best practices and cooperation examples
The above presentations enabled listeners to gain a better insight into some of the best motorway management practices.
The technical presentations are available at www.asecap.com