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Looking ahead to InnoTrans 2018: An interview with Roland Leucker, Managing Director of the Research Association for Tunnels and Transportation Facilities (STUVA)

With the railway industry starting to look forward to InnoTrans 2018, Global Railway Review spoke to Roland Leucker, Managing Director of STUVA about their involvement at the event and details of the Tunnel Forums it will be organising.

InnoTrans

Credit: InnoTrans

What are you most interested in seeing at InnoTrans 2018?

Due to the fact that STUVA is the German Research Association for Tunnels and Transportation Facilities, our main interests are the ‘Tunnel Construction’, ‘Railway Infrastructure’ and ‘Public Transport’ sections of the show. However, the exchange of information between the different sectors is also of major importance and InnoTrans provides an excellent opportunity for this.

What is your main reason for attending the event this year?

As in previous years, STUVA is once again a partner of the InnoTrans Convention element of the trade fair and is organising the Tunnel Forums. This year we have two forums. The first – on Wednesday 19 September, between 14:00 and 16:00 at the CityCube Berlin (Level 3, M8) – will discuss the topic ‘Long-term targets in tunnelling: Investment strategies for construction and refurbishment’. At the same time and in the same location on Thursday 20 September, we will follow up with the topic ‘Current challenges in tunnelling and tunnel operation’. In each forum, four well-known industry experts will give their views on the topics and answer questions from the audience.

What will be the main content of the forum on ‘investment strategies’?

A modern, high-performance transport infrastructure is among the keys to ensuring a country’s long-term competitiveness and contributes significantly to the quality of life. Forecasts predict that in the future mobility needs will continue to increase. That is why, with the introduction of its latest Federal Transport Plan, the German government has earmarked around €270 billion until 2030 for maintenance and new transport infrastructure projects.

The forum examines the impact that implementing the transport plan has on tunnel construction and the long-term challenges that lie ahead. Transport infrastructure investment must occur in areas where people and industry will benefit most. In the current environment, what is a reliable transport infrastructure based on and what are the actual plans for spending these sums? What must happen to maintain the current high standards of a business location’s infrastructure?

And what will the forum on ‘current challenges’ deal with?

Ongoing maintenance and adaptive network growth are required to maintain the high-performance capability of transport networks. That is why, for example, with the introduction of its latest Federal Transport Plan, the German government has earmarked around €270 billion up to 2030 for transport infrastructure, including maintenance and construction of tunnels, which are the bottlenecks in the transport system.

The forum examines whether in the short-term current personnel levels and existing structures can cope with the existing challenges. What is the current situation regarding the planning, operation and construction of tunnels and what can be done to help the federal government’s injection of funds achieve success? Are insufficient opportunities for implementing the necessary measures even threatening the collapse of this initiative? The discussion will focus on possible solutions and what approaches should be pursued. Should new methods be introduced to streamline complex approval procedures?

What advice would you have for first-time InnoTrans attendees?

Besides the trade fair section, which of course is the major interest of the industry, the InnoTrans Convention provides an excellent opportunity to gain some in-depth knowledge of topics that are important for the future. Therefore, my personal recommendation is to prepare your visit in advance; decide which stands you are going to visit and consider visiting one of the forums. I am looking forward to meeting you at one of the Tunnel Forums!

What do you think InnoTrans will look like in 10 years?

InnoTrans has already reached an enormous size; it is hard to imagine that this can still be increased. However, I know the organisers personally and I trust that they will continue to improve InnoTrans in future.

Biography

STUVADr.-Ing. Roland Leucker is Managing Director of the Research Association for Tunnels and Transportation Facilities (STUVA) and Managing Director of the German Tunnelling Committee (DAUB). He studied Civil Engineering and graduated in 1990 from the Aachen University of Technology. In 1995 he received a Dr.-Ing. (Phd.) in Civil Engineering and from 1995 to 2006 he worked with one of the biggest German construction companies at that time; including as a Design Manager and Coordinator for several structural civil engineering and tunnelling projects. In 2006 Roland joined STUVA and has been the Managing Director since 2008.

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