WTC spotlight on Bangkok May 2012
The World Tunnel Congress this year concentrates attention on a part of the world that is at the crossroads of building infrastructure as an emerging economic region and grappling with the needs of advanced world-class urbanization. Host city Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, opens its doors to the international community and prepares to present a programme of technical papers and events that will highlight the special needs of the region and the role underground infrastructure will play in reaching development goals.

Under the three-day conference, the technical session programme will focus on a wide range of topics from urban tunneling to underground options for mitigation of natural disasters (Table 1). More than 600 technical abstracts were received for consideration and more than half of these are included in the oral presentations of the four simultaneous tracks of lectures and among the poster presentations that this year are assembled prominently in the congress centre foyer, immediately outside the lecture halls.
The venue itself, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, lies in the heart of the business district, within an oasis of fragrant gardens, within a short walk of the adjacent underground metro station, and central to the city's many first class hotels. The Centre is spacious and presents the most modern of facilities with the lecture rooms and exhibition hall, registration and lunchrooms, all located on the same floor.
Across three days of conference, a wealth of information will be presented and discussed at the different simultaneous technical sessions and the poster sessions. Click on the links to review the programme of lecture presentations and poster presentations
Table 1. Main Technical Session Topics
• Innovative use of underground space
• Natural disaster mitigation and management through underground space use
• Resistance of underground structures to seismic loads
• Advances and innovation in mechanised tunnelling
• Conventional tunnelling
• Long distance and deep level tunnelling
• Contract practices, commercial aspects and risk assessment
• Tunnelling close to sensitive structures
• Tunnel rehabilitation and restoration
• Safety in tunnels
• Microtunnelling
• Deep foundation excavations
As well as technical sessions and networking opportunities, there is also the chance to visit the busy exhibition hall where nearly 100 exhibitors from across the entire range of tunnel-related industries will be represented. See below the full list of exhibitors and connect to our WTC Exhibition Preview.
As well as the packed programme of the WTC technical sessions there are the presentations of the opening ceremony on Monday morning and the ITA plenary sessions first thing on Tuesday, when the entire delegation is altogether in the same hall. On Monday, Prof Fritz Grübl of Germany will present the Muir Wood Memorial Lecture and keynote speakers will present papers on the conference theme Tunnelling and Underground Space for a Global Society.
On Tuesday, ITACUS, the ITA Committee on Underground Space, will stage the second of its Global Perspective sessions, concentrating on Planning Better and Resilient Cities. The programme began at the WTC in Helsinki, Finland in 2011 and will advance, after Bangkok, to the WTC in Geneva next year. The three-year programme is working towards presentation of a policy document the United Nations on how underground space can contribute to sustainable urban development. The work is progressing in conjunction with partner organisations IFME (International Federation for Municipal Engineering), ISOCARP (International Society of City and Regional Planners) and ICLEI (Local Government for Sustainable Development), and together with the UN-Habitat and UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) organisations. Facing the challenges of rapid urabanisation and the potentially disastrous effects of climate change are at the core of the programme of debate and study.
Also on Tuesday, the ITA Working Groups will report on their work and on the number of publications published by them on their specific topics of study.
Programme of WTC Technical Sessions

Programme of WTC Technical Sessions

During the congress, the ITA - International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association - will also conduct its 38th General Assembly of member nations. Today there are more than 60 member nations and this number is set to rise this year. As a founding member-nation of the ITA, Thailand has spearheaded efforts to invite and encourage Myanmar to join the ITA along with fellow Southeast Asian member nations Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
The General Assembly will also hold the ballot among member nations to select the venue and host nation of the 2015 WTC and Annual General Assembly form among candidates Croatia, Germany and Denmark. Each alternate year the WTC and Assembly is held in Europe and the rest of the world. Following next year in Geneva, the WTC convenes in Brazil in 2014 and the host for 2015 will be decided in Bangkok.

Programme of ITA events

Central to the WTC programme each year is also the ITACET Training Course - a two-day course of concentrated study organized and presented by the ITA's Committee on Education and Training. Places are still available for candidates to join the course that runs for the full day on Firday and Saturday, 18th and 19th May. A full programme of lectures and registration forms can be gathered at the WTC.
Preparing for a WTC and ITA General Assembly is major undertaking and thanks and credit is extended to the members of the Thailand Underground & Tunnelling Group organizing group as well as its co-sponsors The Engineering Institute of Thailand and the ITA as well as the ProCongress management group and the managers of the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre. WTC2012 Organising Committee Chairman Prof. Suchatvee Vince Suwanswat, and Secretary General, Mr Zaw Zaw Aye, together with ITA President Prof. In Mo Lee, welcome all to Bangkok for the May 2012 World Tunnel Congress and ITA General Assembly.
As we all gather for the annual event, TunnelTalk looks forward also to meeting friends and colleagues and to advancing the broadcasting of the news. See you there!
Shani Wallis
Editor
References
WTC2012 - Bangkok
Programme of Technical Session presentations
Programme of Poster Session presentations
WTC Exhibition Preview
WTC Bangkok extends official welcome to ITA - TunnelTalk, February 2012
In search of resilient cities - TunnelTalk, December 2011
Bangkok examines flood prevention plans - TunnelTalk, December 2011
ITACET course for young engineers - TunnelTalk, April 2012
ITA-AITES
Table 1. List of WTC Exhibitors
(Click on the company name to locate each exhibitor on the convention floorplan)


           

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