FREDERICTON (GNB) – About 800 transportation professionals from across the country will gather in Fredericton from Oct. 14 to 17 for the annual conference of the Transportation Association of Canada.

"I am proud to have the provincial government host the largest annual meeting of transportation professionals in the country," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams. "This is a unique opportunity to showcase our province while bringing together some of our top minds to discuss innovations and opportunities within the transportation industry today."

As is the case in other jurisdictions, Williams said, New Brunswick is faced with public transportation challenges, including financial pressures, demographics, aging infrastructure, climate change and a lack of integration or connectivity between transportation components.

"Various stakeholders in the sector are being encouraged to work together and to be flexible and innovative to provide the public with a safe and efficient transportation system," Williams said. "This approach toward innovation will be a main theme of the conference. We know that we must look for new ways to provide transportation infrastructure and services based on our current fiscal reality because it is essential to our economic and social progress."

The Fredericton Convention Centre will be the main venue for the conference, which will include 40 cutting-edge technical sessions, panel discussions and workshops.

One segment will include an interactive presentation called the Lion's Den, where a panel of industry leaders will debate, judge and assess innovations relevant to transportation and then render their verdict. The format will be modelled on the CBC's television show, the Dragons’ Den.

Guest speakers will include Williams; Denis Lebel, federal minister of transport, infrastructure and communities; Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield, who is also minister responsible for the Atlantic Gateway; and Jane Murphy, national director for trails with the Trans-Canada Trail.

The Council of Ministers responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety will be meeting in conjunction with the conference.

An exhibition, awards luncheon and group technical tours will also be held. The exhibition will include industry suppliers, manufacturers and distributors, contractors, consultants and goods carriers.
Delegates will have the opportunity to gain new tools to meet the demands of an evolving industry while keeping abreast of new developments.

The Transportation Association of Canada is a not-for-profit, membership-based association that serves as a neutral forum for exchanging ideas, information and knowledge on technical guidelines and best practices in Canada's transportation and road sectors.

The association promotes the importance of transportation to Canada's economic and social well-being as well as safe, secure, efficient and environmentally and financially sustainable transportation services.