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The landmark international gathering will take place in Lisbon from 25 to 28 May 2010, dedicated to the theme of ‘‘Sharing the Road’’. The overriding goal of the Meeting is to identify the dynamic responses to modern demands for freer and cheaper mobility, making optimum use of new cost and energy efficient materials and technologies. First and foremost, this will call upon us to develop the industry in harmony with growing environmental awareness and the finite resources of our planet.

The World Meeting presents an outstanding opportunity for authoritative discussion on key issues in the domains of mobility, transport, infrastructures, road safety, security and sustainability. In addition, it will provide a unique forum for exploring themes of the utmost importance and topicality for the future of our industry, including the latest cutting-edge techniques and technologies, as well as innovative road financing and management mechanisms. A comprehensive series of parallel workshops will complement the main sessions to leave room for a more complete debate on the core topics. There will also be a special session devoted to the continuing education of road managers and supervisors in the public and private sectors, which will be jointly hosted by IRF and the World Road Association (PIARC).

It is particularly appropriate and auspicious that Portugal should have the honour of hosting this prestigious World Road Meeting. Over the last two decades, the country has developed a substantial motorway network by mobilising a variety of, often innovative, financing systems. It has similarly achieved exemplary progress in the domain of road safety, to such an extent that the European Commission’s 2002 target, calling on each EU Member State to halve road fatalities by 2010, was already attained by Portugal as early as 2006. Now a thriving modern economy, Portugal is built on centuries of tradition, with a long history as one of the oldest countries in Europe; maintaining the same borders for some eight centuries. Lisbon and its surroundings are universally acknowledged as one of the world’s most beautiful tourist areas.