Plenary discussion "Traffic of the Future: Ideal Road and Car" was held on September 14 in the framework of the VII Innovative Technologies and Intelligent Transport Systems in Road Construction International Forum.
Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Chairman of the Government of Russian Federation, Igor Levitin, Aide to the President, Yevgeny Moskvichev, Head of the Duma Committee on Transport and Construction, Sergey Yastrebov, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, Kirill Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Gurba, Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Southern Federal District, Aleksey Kopaigorodsky, Head of Sochi, Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, Oleg Ponaryin, Deputy Head of the Main Traffic Safety Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Aleksey Nashchekin, Director General of National Telematic Systems LLC, and Vyacheslav Petushenko, Chairman of the Board of Avtodor State Company have attended the discussion.
Opening the plenary discussion, Marat Khusnullin, Deputy Chairman of the Government of Russian Federation, reminded that there are about 1.6 million kilometers of federal, regional and municipal roads in Russia. And that, according to the instructions of the President, it is required to bring to a standard condition 85% of all roads in 105 largest agglomerations of the country by 2024, and 85% of all federal roads, and 50% of regional and municipal roads by 2025.
As for the development of toll roads, Deputy Prime Minister called the construction of 810 kilometers of M-12 Kazan-Moscow highway the most ambitious task in this field. “The President instructed to extend it to Yekaterinburg, and then to Chelyabinsk,” he reminded. At the moment, 10,000 people and 1,000 pieces of equipment are engaged in the construction of the high-speed highway; the works were additionally financed in the amount of 200 billion rubles in 2021.
According to Marat Khusnullin, the advance financing practice was agreed with the Government of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. “This means that: we have financial limits for 2022–2023. Some contractors are ready to build faster. We have unused balance, and we transfer it to these contractors. 200 billion rubles has already been additionally allocated to financing according to this scheme this year. This has never happened before,” Deputy Prime Minister explained.
Igor Levitin, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, noted that today there are 161,000 kilometers of toll roads of the highest category in China, 95,000 in the USA, and only 7,000 in Russia. According to his words, this is due to the fact that “today, we have lost the interest of private business in road construction.” It was this problem that the Aide to the President proposed to discuss in the first place in the course of the discussion. “We have to make financing of high-end roads attractive for private investments,” he said.
Vladimir Gurba, Deputy Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in the Southern Federal District, spoke about key problems of road construction in the Southern Federal District. He reminded that Novorossiysk Sea Port is being actively developed at the moment, which implies logistics quality improvement. There is an urgent need for new transport interchanges: in the regions of Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, and Aksai.
Kirill Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation, noted that "it is hard to imagine the near future without unmanned vehicles of all transport modes." He stressed that the Ministry of Transport of Russia is "the first ministry in the world that has actually started promoting this new technology at the state level."
“The first problem we are solving together with business is regulatory control. The second one is digital infrastructure,” Deputy Minister said. Kirill Bogdanov also told about the prospects of creating a unified biometric system in the country, which is currently being developed by the Ministry of Digital Development and Rostelecom. “Your face will become both your boarding pass for a plane, and a means of payment, and your identification card for all types of transport,” he explained.
Finally, under the Seamless Freight Logistics initiative, a federal law has already been adopted, according to which businesses will be able to switch to electronic waybills from 2022. “This is a big saving opportunity for our business, a strategic step for multimodality development and transformation of all logistics,” Deputy Minister summed up.
Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation, reminded about the role of individual transport systems, within which it is possible to collect big data in order to optimize traffic, improve its safety, reduce costs, and improve transport sustainability.
Now, due to conflicts over data ownership, over who enjoys what rights regarding the infrastructure, who can benefit from the use of these data, this field is not developing fast enough. “It is necessary to find a balance between the interests of all the players,” Arkady Dvorkovich stressed.
Also, in his opinion, it is necessary to integrate new types of transport into energy networks. “There are prototypes, there is groundwork, but no solution has been found yet that would satisfy Russia and the world. According to our estimates, it will take another 5–7 years to obtain energy storage technologies that would the enable cost-efficient use of electric transport without significant subsidies,” Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation said.
Finally, he sees great future advantages in autonomous transport development. “These technologies will develop rapidly, including the technologies for implementation of new generation communications. I think that in the coming months we will see a significant progress in this field,” Arkady Dvorkovich noted and said that the government has already approved a project related to autonomous transportation of goods along pilot routes. Andrey Belousov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, is the curator of the project.
“There are prospects in this. Skolkovo is involved in all these fields, we offer a lot of solutions. We look forward to the partnership with Avtodor State Corporation, the Ministry of Transport, and the regions,” Arkady Dvorkovich assured.
“The quality of roads is improving, this is true, but it entails speed increase, and this brings an increase in severity of the consequences of road accidents. Solving the dilemma between speed increasing and safety increasing is our main task right now,” Oleg Ponaryin, Deputy Head of the Main Traffic Safety Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, said during the discussion.
He called for implementing innovations at the stages of road design, exploitation and construction to minimize the risks associated with road users' mistakes. “Currently, active work to increase automation of vehicle control is underway. The State Traffic Safety Inspectorate always stands for new technologies that help to reduce the number of road traffic deaths,” Oleg Ponaryin assured.
Vyacheslav Petushenko, Chairman of the Board of Avtodor State Company, summed up the results of the plenary discussion. He stressed that in the near future, the federal highways network will enable covering the distance of 2,400 kilometers from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea in 24 hours. And construction of the "south-eastern chord" will begin in 2024: Yekaterinburg - Samara - Volgograd - Krasnodar highway, which will connect the ports of the Black Sea and Crimea with the Urals. “By creating such a transport framework, we are contributing to the country's economy,” Vyacheslav Petushenko concluded.
The VII Innovative Technologies and Intelligent Transport Systems in Road Construction International Forum is held by Avtodor State Company with the participation of the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, Ministry of Construction and Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation, Federal Road Agency, Sochi City Administration, and the Skolkovo Innovation Center.
Heads of state authorities, parliamentarians, heads of regional departments of the State Traffic Inspectorate, representatives of transport unions and associations, expert communities and public organizations, business groups, educational and research organizations and mass media participate in it.