IRF holds 2nd Annual Latin America Regional Conference
The International Road Federation (IRF) hosted the 2nd Latin America Regional Conference held August 28-30, 2008 in Lima, Peru, showcasing presentations on road safety, pavement technologies and Intelligent Transportation Systems. The 2nd LARC was held in conjunction with the 7th Construction and Management Institute.
Opening remarks by Angel Gomez of the Construction Management Institute and Juan Morales of the IRF welcomed guests and called for more initiatives like this in Latin America.
â€œIt was exciting to welcome the participants to the conference and invite them to join the IRF so we can bring more activities like this one to Latin Americaâ€, said Morales.
The first plenary session highlighted financing and construction of road projects throughout Latin America. Following the first session were two other plenary sessions focusing on the design of road structures including the evolution of pavement and asphalt technologies.
Day two of the conference provided a variety of training tracks offered simultaneously to cater to the specific needs and interests of attendees. The three areas of focus were pavement maintenance, road safety and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
Greg Speier, P.E., Highway Safety Specialist, Speier Road Safety Solutions LTDA, spoke as part of the road safety track and discussed the benefit of attending and speaking at LARC.
â€œIt was great to speak as part of the road safety track at the conference in Peru. It provided a great forum to reach a cross-section of the industry both in Peru and throughout the region,â€ said Speier. â€œI also enjoyed and learned much from the wonderful and visionary presentations made by my colleagues from South America that talked about present and future opportunities.â€
Nidia Ochoa, Director TIC, Universal Simulation System of Transportation Accidents, agreed with Speierâ€™s comments and said conferences like the LARC can make a real impact and help save lives.
â€œUnsafe roads are generated by a lack of knowledge of best practices in design, construction, signage and all the other factors involved in transportation,â€ said Ochoa. â€œAnd the best way of advancing, with a real impact on the continent, is to create international networks that are able to learn from the successes and errors of other countries and adapt gradually - but decidedly.â€
For the final night in Lima, Gomez, of the Construction and Management Institute, hosted a dinner at a local Peruvian restaurant featuring local music and dancers dressed as native Incan warriors and women. The night treated guests to a taste of Peruvian culture that capped off the conference during the last night in Lima.
As part of the 2nd annual conference, the IRF held a Fellows dinner in recognition of past Fellows present during the event, including local Peruvian residents. The 18-member group dined at La Rosa Nautica, an oceanside restaurant attached to a pier in Lima.
After a round-table introduction of everyone present, the group exchanged stories of past IRF Fellow experiences at their respective universities, many of them being alums of the same institutions.