U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
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Founded in 1909, as the Permanent International Association of Road Congresses (PIARC), the World Road Association (WRA) is an international forum in the road sector whose goal is to enhance a better global road community in order to promote economic growth and social welfare. It brings together the road administrations of over 120 governments and has members in over 140 countries.
The United States is a member of the WRA and is represented by delegates from the U.S. Department of Transportation, FHWA, and representatives from the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials. United States WRA participation gives the United States insight into some of the most recent technical and policy road developments originating abroad. It is also a good channel for communicating innovations to the rest of the world. Participation affords the United States the ability to contribute to guidance and reference documents that are used by road practitioners worldwide. A synthesis report documenting the benefits of the U.S. participation in the World Road Association over the 2008-2011 and 2012-2015 cycles can be found here.
The WRA operates on a four-year cycle with a strategic plan comprised of up to five theme areas. These themes embrace the work of several technical committees and task forces, which have the task of carrying out studies in defined subject areas on technical topics. The themes for the current cycle (2016-2019) are:
Every four years, the WRA sponsors two types of congresses: the World Road Congress and the International Winter Road Congress. Both meet in a member country to enable members to share techniques and experiences in the field of road transportation and to showcase the key accomplishments and findings of its technical committees. The next International Winter Road Congress will take place in Gdansk, Poland, in February 20-23, 2018. For information please visit http://aipcrgdansk2018.org/
The 2019 World Road Congress will be held October 6-10 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In January 2017, the Office of International Programs coordinated a meeting led by FHWA’s executive director to review efforts by U.S. representatives to WRA technical committees. It was a discussion of the progress achieved from its participation in the committees and included a report by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on expected 2017 activities and efforts to enhance U.S. input into the technical and management-level deliberations of the WRA.
The meeting also focused on how to increase the U.S. imprint on WRA products, how to better share U.S. perspectives with low- and middle-income countries, and how to integrate learned international perspectives into the U.S. mainstream. Attendees also discussed opportunities to further U.S. priorities in the WRA’s strategic plan for the 2016-2019 cycle.