Road Safety Speech

2006 Pro-Chancellor, Prof. S. Jugessur, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. I. Fagoonee, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen On behalf of the members of the Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence Transport, I have immense pleasure, as Theme Leader of this Centre, to welcome you this afternoon to the Forum on Road Safety. I am sure most of you present here today, are wondering what is this MCE Transport? Let me start with a brief introduction on MCE Transport.

Well, all the credit goes to the University of Mauritius for this innovative initiative to group experts from different fields under one umbrella in the form of an Excellence Park. Each component is called a Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (MCE). MCE Transport is just one member of this growing family of MCEs. Why an MCE Transport? On a normal day, an individual will often use physical transportation (going to the shop, dropping the kids to school, going to work,and so on). But, let us imagine, for a moment, Mauritius without a proper transport system, say, for 24 hours.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the chaotic situation that will prevail. I am quite sure that most, if not all, of you will agree that Transport has become an integral part of our current life and culture. The transport sector fulfills a major role in the Mauritian economy and society. For millennia there have been people concerned with the means that achieve a proper transport system. . I am pleased to see many familiar experts in the business here today. This in itself is a motivation for forums of this type.

The present achievements in this vast field (in our country or worldwide) is the end-result of people from all sectors (economists, engineers, scientists, the arts, management, social sciences, etc) and also from all walks of life. 1 This is mainly the raison d’etre of the MCE Transport. Our vision is to contribute in the building of a safe and effective transport system and to strive to achieve excellence in the transport sector. Today I would like to seize this opportunity to invite you people from the audience, irrespective of your age group or the institution you belong to, to join us help make a difference.

We have circulated a registration form to create a database for future communications. So please take a few minutes to fill it in and indicate your field of interest. More information will be on our website as indicated in the brochure. Ladies and Gentlemen At the MCE Transport, our aims are multifold: It has been observed that, although there is a quantum of experts in this vast field scattered in various institutions on the island, there is a tendency for authorities to hire foreign consultants at a magnanimous cost to perform studies which can be done by our local experts on various aspects of the transport industry.

One goal of this MCE is to make optimal use of our local expertise by bringing them together. And once again, this MCE is the right platform. This approach will definitely help to contribute to research and studies in the various transport sectors of Mauritius with a long term view of proposing possible alternatives for solving the existing transport problems. It is also important to highlight that the transport sector ranks high in the government programme. The MCE Transport will promote activities in the same direction; the Forum on Road Safety being one of them.

Our aim is also to provide high level training to practising professionals in this field, as well as fresh graduates (engineering, science, social sciences, economics –from any subject area). In this context we shall develop and support appropriate courses with the aim of providing expert up-to-date knowledge. One such project is the forthcoming short course on Highway and Traffic Engineering. Part of this course will focus on a very powerful software called Aasidra which is presently used by most transport experts across the world. This course will be run in early July 2006.

The Transport sector being varied, the present focus is to collaborate in the Road Sector research in the island by doing both theoretical and applied research. The aim is be to identify areas where we can provide proficient know-how and 2 support in this field. We are willing to collaborate with stakeholders in this industry to achieve excellence. So, if you have any proposals related to the transport sector (either air, land or sea), you are most welcome to contact the MCE transport. This forum on Road Safety is the first one of a series of bimonthly events on themes related to the transport sector.

The next forum will be held in June 2006. The themes for the forthcoming forums are most likely to be congestion pricing, alternative modes of transport, proposals for decongestion, Road Infrastructure. Propositions are most welcome from the audience for other issues. In the pipeline, there is also a workshop on Insurance issues. The details of which remain to be finalised. A major project for the MCE Transport, is Regional Conference on Transport Issues to be held in April 2007. The details will be on the website in due course. Presentations and papers on themes related to the transport sector will be welcome.

However, we shall be more in favour of research papers locally as well as from the region. It is interesting to point out that, at the MCE we also have team members working on issues such as GIS applications to the transport sector. To conclude, I would like to thank the Vice-Chancellor for his support and encouragement in setting up the Excellence Park. I wish to thank the panelists from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping, The members of the Police force, and ICP for having promptly accepted our invitation.

I wish to place on records the assistance received from the staff of the University of Mauritius who have directly or indirectly helped in ensuring the success of this forum. My thanks go to our two sponsors, namely the Quality Beverages Limited, and the State Insurance Company Of Mauritius Ltd (SICOM) for their keen interest in this forum. Finally, my heartiest thanks to my team members on the MCE Transport who have really collaborated to ensure that all details are taken care of. I now invite Dr Kishore Baguant to introduce today’s forum on Road Safety. We look forward for a very interactive session with our guest speakers. Thank you. 3

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