ROAD Expo Scotland and the co-located Bridges Scotland event will mark a welcome return to face-to-face networking at the SEC Glasgow on December 1 and 2.
After a tough 20 months for the events industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers have revealed this year’s show is about celebrating being back together again.
The latest innovations and technologies for the roads and bridges sector will be showcased over two days, while the accompanying seminar programme will feature a range of speakers debating some of the biggest issues of the day.
The event vows to provide a unique opportunity for key stakeholders and the supply chain to meet and share best practices.
Craig Donovan, transport portfolio divisional director at organisers Hemming Group, told Project Scotland that the lack of in-person events since early 2020 has ‘without doubt’ highlighted the importance of them.
“We as organisers have been unable to run an event really on any sector for the best part of 18 months,” he revealed. “It’s devastating. We tried pivoting to digital and we have run, in some sectors, digital events on a website where people can absorb video content and there’s been a chat function with exhibitors. But it just doesn’t beat (in-person interaction).
“The value proposition of passionate, similar minded professionals being in the same room face-to-face and having a conversation around either a problem or discussing a solution – you can’t beat that. You can’t emulate that on webcams; it’s just not the same. We can’t wait to get back to physical events.”
Engineering consultants WSP and traffic management software and infrastructure specialist Yunex Traffic – a Siemens business – are the latest firms to add their names alongside 50+ other exhibitors so far to Road Expo Scotland, which has been running for two decades and moved to the SEC Glasgow for the first time in 2019, having previously been held at the Royal Highland Centre near Edinburgh Airport.
The co-located Bridges Scotland event was added six years ago and deals specifically with Scotland’s thriving bridges sector.
Organisers have again worked very closely with Transport Scotland on the content for the seminar aspect of the expo. The show will provide the organisation with the opportunity to address the supply chain on best practice, the latest guidance that’s about to come through, and the whole agenda of decarbonisation and climate change, and how that impacts the entire supply chain.
Historically Road Expo has given local authorities and other stakeholders the chance to discover the latest technologies and see physical products they may not have encountered before.
“Everything that’s on display is commercially available,” Craig revealed. “It’s important to us that this isn’t a concept show where you see things that might happen in the future. Everything that will be physically at the event is commercially and readily available to be used.”
Craig said that while this year is about celebrating getting back together, the critical nature of the roads and bridges sector means it is an industry which never stopped, even in the darkest days of the initial pandemic-related lockdown.
“Us as organisers and a lot of marketing people perhaps (stopped), but they’ve kept going with the Scottish Government’s objectives, and what needs to be achieved,” he added. “They’ve still been building roads, they’ve still been maintaining them, they’ve still been dealing with the daily challenges.”
This year the event will have three main themes: road safety (from the perspective of keeping both road workers and users safe); climate change and achieving net zero (including a keynote address by Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey where he will explain what he perceives are the big deliverables over the coming years); and active travel, which is taking on increasing significance as people look to reduce their carbon footprint and lead healthier lives.
• For more information, and to register for free, visit www.road-expo.com