India and Canada have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Infrastructure Development, Operation & Maintenance of Roads during the visit of Dr. C.P. Joshi, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, to Canada.

The MoU will also help in sharing and exchanging of knowledge and technical expertise in the areas of infrastructure development, operation and maintenance of roads, Intelligent Transport System etc.

Joshi and Canadian Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communication, Denis Label, signed the MoU during the 15th Annual Conference of Indo-Canada Business Council held in Quebec City.

India has shifted focus towards the Private-Public-Partnership Mode for undertaking development and up-gradation of national highways network across the country as also development of express-ways which are going to be access-controlled with all modern construction technology, Information Technology, including Electronic Toll Collection System.

It is expected that there would be an increase in involvement and participation from the Canadian industry in India's ambitious National Highways and the Expressways Development Project. It is sealing a long-standing bilateral relationship and providing for cooperation between the two countries in the roads and road transportation sector.

Dr. C.P. Joshi also addressed the "First Plenary Session of the 15th Annual Conference organised by the ITS - Canada and the Indo-Canada Business Council."

The theme of the Conference was "Transportation in Transition towards a new Digital Economy."

Acknowledging that India has to travel a long distance before coming up with a full Intelligent Transport System, the Minister emphasized that Canadian expertise in these areas will enable us to achieve the goal through enhanced cooperation, technology transfer and capacity building programmes under the MoU signed between India and Canada.

The Minister informed that the objectives of India's plans for adopting the Intelligent Transport System are manifold which include collation, development and management of a huge networked and compatible database on various aspects of transport, road infrastructure and regulatory aspects of transport logistics like national register for standardized database of all registered vehicles, data on driving licenses and permits issued, road safety related data etc. with intelligent and dynamic user interface with various agencies including enforcement agencies.

The programme envisages real-time logistic, dynamic mobility applications in respect of road condition, traffic congestion, vehicle movements, tracking vehicles and watching and containing accidents along the highways and expressways, especially at black spots by extensive use of GIS-based applications. Environment-friendly logistics and capturing of the relevant data on pollution, impact on environment by the road development, road conditions, weather etc. are also on the agenda included in the Intelligent Transport and green transport logistics in India.

The Conference was attended by Ministers of various Governments, industry representatives, non-government organisations and academic institutions and had extensive discussions on understanding the options and best practices, advanced technical approaches for adopting Intelligent Transport System as a tool in the tough economic times. The focus was on promoting efficient, environmentally responsible transport, driving using a real-time onboard vehicle evaluation system, application-enabled devices, applications for managing city logistics, traffic management etc.