The Order of Engineers and Architects in Lebanon organized a two-day conference in Beirut Oct. 25-26 with the theme "Towards Organized Public Transport in Lebanon." The conference program included three main sessions that addressed obstacles to developing public transport in Lebanon, making the case for public transport: global best practices, and how technology can facilitate the implementation of public transport. Participants included key ministers and heads of agencies responsible for transport in Lebanon, policy makers, practitioners, consultants, and academics. The conference format allowed for ample discussions that helped illuminated further a way forward.
Dr. Tammam Nakkash long time transport consultant and member of the UITP MENA Executive Board outlined the challenges to achieving effective public transport services in Lebanon. The UITP MENA Director Dr. Ayman Smadi participated as main speaker in the second session and discussed some of the global public transport trends, as well as specific trends in MENA and some of the common success factors. Dr. Hani Mahmassani, professor at Northwestern University in the US presented some of the relevant technological advances that are shaping mobility today.
A recurrent theme in the conference was the need for political will in order to develop and enhance public transport services. Including all stakeholders, raising awareness, and quantifying the benfits of a sustainable mobility system with public transport at the core can contribute to harnessing the need political will.