Monthly newsletters from the Vice Presidents of the HVTT Forum.

March 2023 Newsletter

Dear HVTT Forum Newsletter subscribers,

We are pleased to bring you news about the upcoming HVTT17/ICWIM9 Joint Symposium in Brisbane! It promises to be a beautiful and rich program with more than 100 submitted papers. For people from outside Australia who want to participate in the symposium, now is the time to make preparations for travel and accommodation. The symposium starts on Monday 6 November and lasts until Friday 10 November.

Detailed information can be found on our website, for example suggested hotels, about ticket prices or if you need an official invitation. The organizing committee in Australia is also hard at work creating its own website. Tickets can be purchased via this symposium website. As soon as it is ready, we will inform you about it via our website.

The deadline for submitting the full papers is March 31. For those who need more time, the deadline has been extended by 4 weeks to April 30. If you want to make use of this, please send a message to the organizing committee with the date on which the full paper can be expected.

A U-turn in approaching the road network

For decades, countries in Europe have gradually moved large parts of their production to low-wage countries. The associated harmful consequences for the environment and public health were also ‘outsourced’. But in recent years there has been a change. And it’s not the only thing that’s changing. The way in which we as a National Road Authority (NRA) now view the infrastructure network and the facilitation of freight transport differs day and night from 5 years ago.

Gradually saying goodbye to fossil fuels because of the climate goals has been on the agenda for some time. But the war in the Ukraine has accelerated this and has also acquired an extra dimension. Europe wants to get rid of its dependence on oil and gas producing countries. What used to be no go areas have now become an uncomfortable but necessary topic of conversation in some countries, such as ramping up lignite production or building new nuclear power plants. For us as an NRA, this means that we must quickly provide a new network of charging and refueling facilities (electricity and hydrogen). This poses all sorts of questions, such as what are suitable locations? At what speed should we roll out the new network? What about safety in tunnels and on ferries? How do we set up emergency aid in the event of a fire? The war in the Ukraine has also led to a demand to test the road network for large-scale military movements.

The desire to bring more production back to Europe has also been fueled by the COVID crisis. Fortunately, this alienating period is behind us, but it has made us realize that we prefer not to depend on others for crucial products such as vaccines. The COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine, but also the consequences of climate change in the form of floods, long periods of drought, have made us realize that we need to make our road infrastructure network resistant to these kinds of large-scale disruptions. Resources must be redistributed, which in the Netherlands means, for example, that the budget for new construction has been transferred to management and maintenance of the road network for the second time. And the existing problems and developments have not disappeared, such as ageing infrastructure, congestion, automation and digitization.

It fits in seamlessly with the challenging title given to the joint HVTT17/ICWIM symposium: Technology Convergence 2023 Setting the wheels in motion – Reimagining the future of heavy vehicles, roads and freight. We need all our thinking efforts and creativity to reshape that future.

A short description of the weather to the beautiful tradition that Anders Lundström (President of our organization from 2006-2010) once introduced. Since the measurements started in 1906, it has only happened 5 times before that the month of March in the Netherlands was so rainy and there were so few hours of sunshine. In general, there was hardly any winter in recent months: rather, one could speak of a prolonged autumn. In this part of the world we yearn for spring, for the sun. There will be no shortage of hours of sunshine in Brisbane in November 2023! We look forward to a great symposium!

Drive safely,

Loes Aarts

President International Forum for Heavy Vehicle Transport & Technology