ESCWA held this event to discuss the content and outcome of the new report on Technology and Innovation for the Development of Land Transport in Arab Countries. The webinar was organized as part of the 2021 Digital Cooperation and Development Forum and featured the participation of the report’s authors and peer reviewers, in addition to around 60 participants. It addressed, inter alia, the integration of emerging digital technologies in land transport, which serves the implementation of goals 9 and 11 of the sustainable development goals on building resilient infrastructure and inclusive cities; the use of these technologies in the Arab region; and the role of digital technologies and solutions in developing the land transport sector.
Technology and Innovation in Land Transport
- Participants emphasized the importance of digital technology and innovation for developing road transport in the Arab region. They pointed out that technology has become an essential element for improving the efficiency of road transport, traffic safety and transporting goods, as well as for rationalizing energy use.
- It is essential to continue efforts in using technologies for developing the land transport sector, and to analyze the situation in some Arab countries towards identifying practical steps for developing the sector in these countries.
- It is necessary to set the priorities of technological investments in the land transport sector in Arab countries; and to base these priorities on the level of development of technology and transport sectors, including the transport of goods, and the development priorities of each country.
- The telecommunications and Internet infrastructure constitutes the backbone for investments in digital technologies in various sectors, including the transport sector. Therefore, it is necessary to provide and expand the use of broadband services, reduce the costs of Internet access, rely on fibre optics technology, and publishing the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).
The importance of technology in the transport sector was overviewed, covering the conceptual framework of the transport system and the related key technological inventions and digital drivers of change.
In this section, the role of emerging digital technologies and solutions in developing the land transport sector were addressed, covering the Internet of things, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
This part covered the status of digital technologies and innovation in the transport sector in the Arab region; and it highlighted the socioeconomic and environmental benefits. The use of technology and innovation can enhance the sector's management, efficiency and safety, and reduce its carbon footprint and fuel consumption.
The key messages resulting from a recent ESCWA report were presented, covering eight areas: regulatory frameworks, financial incentives, open data, innovation and entrepreneurship, fuel consumption, privacy and security, ubiquitous connectivity, and standardization and interoperability.
The feedback included proposals for ESCWA to continue its work in this areas and to assess the use of technology in road transport in several Arab countries, as well as identify the priorities for each country or a similar group of Arab countries. The assessment should show the use of technology in the transport sector amongst Arab countries, especially in the transportation of goods, and to provide recommendations for its development due to its importance for trade exchanges.