Turkish Road Association (TRA) candidate for hosting the World Tunnel Congress 2023 in Antalya / Turkey

The Turkish Road Association (TRA) was established in 1990 and became a member of the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA-AITES) as “Member Nation” in 1994. TRA has successfully represented Turkey in the ITA-AITES community in this process and has organised many events, in cooperation with the ITA-AITES for 26 years. One of the most important events is the “ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress 2005 and 31st General Assembly”, organised successfully in İstanbul / Turkey on May 7-12, 2005 in collaboration with the International Tunneling and Underground Space Association.

The year 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey and this anniversary will be celebrated with large events and many important projects taking place in 2023. 

Within the scope of these celebrations, TRA is glad to be a candidate with Antalya / Turkey for hosting the “ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress 2023 & 49th General Assembly” that will be held in 2023. This would be an opportunity to show participants the tunnels and underground spaces built in Turkey, to be updated about other countries’ developments in tunnel planning and construction technology and to provide mutual knowledge sharing. 

TRA strongly believes the tenure of this event in Turkey will contribute to the development of the tunneling industry in the country. In addition to that, new friendships and collaborations might emerge from this great platform.

The congress’ theme is “Underground Spaces for Sustainable Societies: Tunneling for an Innovative Future”. Throughout history, humanity sought shelter from nature, sometimes even using nature itself. In the earliest experience, people utilised caves and underground spaces to live, to store and to seek protection against nature and enemies. Starting as early as 15th century BC, a complex underground structure with a capacity of almost 20.000 inhabitants was created, for a sustainable social life (living quarters, stables, wineries, churches, etc.), remnants of which can be seen in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Accumulation of engineering knowledge over the centuries enabled construction of tunnels in many cities serving as support and logistics corridors. The industrial revolution increased the need to connect locations of raw materials and production, as well as users in the cities; this was originally served by railways that needed more tunneling as they linked larger regions. In the 20th century, development of highway transportation in most of the developed countries fed the need for underground structures to establish road connection between cities as well as urban rapid transit systems within cities, such as metro, light rail systems, etc.

Today, underground spaces (tunnels with variable size and shape, shafts, pipelines, caverns and chambers with different purposes) are increasingly used to provide sustainable development and living. Land transportation systems (rail and road), especially in developing countries, still require construction of underground spaces. However, the needs of the societies further require connection to provide water and energy, as well. The increase in the distance of needs and societies, which is often naturally obstructed by geography, keeps the need to focus on underground spaces and corridors even today. On the other hand, innovation is a key measure, because both construction and operation of these underground systems and spaces need better use of the current technologies.

Turkey as a major developing country, is at the verge of creating stronger connections between cities nationally, as well as Asia and Europe internationally. Thus, tunneling and underground space design are key aspects for efficient and safe road map to economic development. Despite its geological and topographical challenges, and with many corridors for tunneling under construction and planned, Turkey is a perfect location to talk about sustainable development in the light of innovation for the next decade.

As a country with a significant capacity and need for increased tunneling and underground space, Turkey and TRA are well positioned to host the ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress 2023 and the 49th General Assembly in 2023.

Technical tours will be organised during the congress, for participants to have a closer look at ongoing or completed projects, meet the experts and be informed in details. 

Antalya, which is the proposed host city, is certainly an excellent destination to satisfy participants with its history, rich cultural heritage, natural beauties, commercial mission, being one of the most significant cities since ancient times and its experience in hosting several important events for years. In addition, interested participants would experience the historical and natural beauties of Turkey with different tour options. Social programs will be designed for the accompanying persons.

All relevant governmental institutions of Republic of Turkey declared their support to host this event in Turkey. Moreover the industry representatives and experts specialised in tunneling and underground spaces are looking forward to hosting their colleagues who will travel to Turkey for the Congress. 

More info about TRA and its application here: https://www.tra.org.tr