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Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard


PLANNING ROADS FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard Director, Transport & Urban Development Department The World Bank 1818 H Street, NW Washington DC 20433 Tel: 202 473 4314 Fax: 202 522 3223

ABSTRACT The new report Safe, clean, affordable.... Transport for Development sets out the World Banks transport sectors priorities for the period 2007-2015. The report indicates key changes in how the World Bank intends to engage with its clients in low and middle income countries with respect to its transport lending program. Investment in transport infrastructure and improved transport services are crucial for meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Low volume rural roads have, and continue to be, an important component for the World Banks transport development program. The recently developed Rural Access Index is a useful indicator of the need for improved accessibility. New research has shown the importance of rural roads in stimulating both economic growth and social development. The effective planning and implementation of good rural road projects is dependent upon a combination of adequate planning tools, worthwhile community consultation, a flexible approach to engineering design and good data. New economic planning criteria need to be developed to reflect new thinking in transport appraisal and fully capture the social and economic benefits of roads. The new results based approach for monitoring and evaluation can be particularly valuable within the roads sector. Similarly, substantial benefits can be gained from adopting a holistic approach to planning rural infrastructure service delivery including a more detailed consideration of rural transport services and the planning of different types of rural infrastructure together. The under-funding and poor organization of rural road maintenance needs to be recognized and addressed.

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard


Road access is crucial to the social well-being and economic development of the overwhelming majority of rural communities. Without adequate access by motor vehicle markets will remain limited, agriculture will not develop and schools, clinics and government offices will not be able to supply decent services to the local community. Similarly, if social mobility is constrained people will be at a disadvantage in making contacts and developing new skills in order to develop their social capital. In the following I should like to consider a range of issues and developments that World Bank staff are addressing, and are concerned with, in their work in meeting the transport needs of the rural population. In this paper the term rural roads refers to low volume roads principally designed to meet the social and economic needs of the rural population. It omits highways and inter-urban roads. First of all I shall draw attention to the World Banks new statement of transport sector priorities and the Banks lending program in rural transport. A brief review of some recent research on the impact of rural roads is provided together with information on the new Rural Access Index. For the effective planning of rural roads we need to take a holistic view of rural transport, including transport services and the way that transport integrates with other sectors. Community consultation, road standards and better planning models are also considered, along with the need to address the road maintenance issue and the implications of the new results based approach for road planning. THE CONTEXT: SAFE, CLEAN AFFORDABLETRANSPORT FOR DEVELOPMENT Before a more detailed look at the issues of rural roads it would be useful to consider the wider context of the transport work undertaken at the World Bank. Central to this is the recently produced report: Safe, clean, affordable Transport for Development(1). The Transport Sector Board of the World Bank has produced this update of the Banks transport sector priorities for the period 2007-2015. The last policy report Sustainable Transport: Priorities for Policy Reform (2), produced in May 1996, emphasized the importance of sustainability in transport covering the economic, financial, environmental and social dimensions. Since 1996, there have been a number of developments including the advent of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the recognition that public investment (rather than private investment) will be the main mode of transport infrastructure provision as well as new thinking on the importance of governance, local ownership of policies and the need for a more results orientation for decision making. The new report reflects these. The Millennium Development Goals, agreed by the international community in 2000 do not include specific goals or targets for the transport sector. However, transport is an essential ingredient to education, employment, production, distribution, trade, health services, civil administration, and social services, which are all crucial to meeting the Goals. Transport is a large, diverse and complex sector that meets innumerable individual social and economic needs. The Transport Sector Board believes that transport can contribute to development in five main ways: by facilitating economic growth and regional integration through local and international trade; by making cities work better for their citizens, for the environment and for economic growth; by creating economic opportunity and growth in rural areas; by providing access to facilities that deliver health and education goals; and in all these functions, by becoming safer and cleaner for users and the community.

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

The title of the report reflects these areas. Safe acknowledges the importance of public health outcomes within the Millennium Development Goals. Clean is shorthand for the wider environmental aims of the MDGs. Affordable is critical because high freight transport costs discourage trade and economic growth, and high passenger transport costs contribute to economic and social exclusion in both urban and rural areas. In recent years World Bank lending for roads and highways has, perhaps, been too successful. It dominates transport sector lending at the Bank and the report envisages more emphasis on other components including urban transport, transport for trade, transport services and environmental issues. Although the proportion of lending going to rural roads may decrease, because the annual transport lending program is targeted to substantially increase, there will not necessarily be a decline in absolute lending for rural roads. To improve the quality of the transport program it is planned to improve coordination and knowledge sharing with our partners, step up the fight against corruption, reduce transaction costs through more program lending, and improve the measurement of transport performance and results. RURAL TRANSPORT LENDING BY THE WORLD BANK In 2005 new World Bank commitments under the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) programs amounted to $23.6 bn. Over the last five years overall lending has been growing, on average, at 7.5% per year. Although the figures fluctuate from year to year, new commitments managed by the Transport Sector Board have averaged about 15 % of total lending. Over the last five years lending for highways has averaged about $1.6 bn. per year, while for rural roads it has averaged at about $1 bn. per year, including expenditure on rural roads as part of multi-sector projects. In the following, the general term rural transport is used to cover expenditure for rural roads and ancillary components. Table 1 shows the average approximate lending on rural transport projects over the last six years. It can be seen that a large share of rural transport lending comes from multisector projects. These projects originate from agriculture, rural development and human development projects and are not listed in the transport portfolio. They are often in the form of Community Driven Development (CDD) projects in which communities decide their own priorities and so the composition of the projects may not be known at the start of the project.


World Bank Lending for Rural Transport

Average new rural transport commitments per year 2001-2006, $M 313 317 400* Average number of new projects per year 3.8 9.6 20.5

Dedicated rural transport projects Rural road components of major highway and other transport projects Rural transport components of multi-sector projects

Estimated annual total 1030 34 * Tentative estimate. The figures are tentative because the sectoral breakdown of many multi-sector projects is not readily available.

The largest individual, Bank financed, rural road projects have recently arisen in Asia, particularly for India (largest project to-date is $400m). In fact India is currently undertaking the Prime

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

Ministers Rural Road Program (PMGSY). This is a huge program to provide all weather access to every village of greater than 500 people. The overall cost is estimated to be in the region of $30 bn. The composition of World Bank funding for 22 recent, dedicated, rural transport projects is given in Table 2. Within this group project funding varied in size from $16m to $400m, and the average funding was $78 m. It can be seen that World Bank does support road maintenance directly, although the bulk of maintenance funding is expected to come from the local country. The construction and maintenance work identified is, overwhelmingly, for roads. A very small component (less than 1%) of this expenditure will be used for work on trails, jetties etc. Three projects had a significant Intermediate Means of Transport component. TABLE 2 The Composition of World Bank Funding for 22 Rural Transport Projects
Total expenditure $m 137.4 637.6 767.3 138.9 10.5 16.6 1708.25 Average per project $m 6.2 29.0 34.9 6.3 0.5 0.8 77.6 Per cent. 8.0 37.3 44.9 8.1 0.6 1.0 100

Maintenance Rehabilitation Improvement, upgrading and construction Institutional support, consultants, training Rural transport studies Support for Intermediate Means of Transport Total

RURAL ROAD INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: THE EVIDENCE Economic theory indicates that road investment is most likely to stimulate rural development if it induces a relatively large change in transport costs (a major improvement of a long road will have a greater chance of impact compared with a minor improvement of a short road), if there are unused resources of land and labor to exploit, and if there are dynamic urban markets to absorb new production. Studying the impact of road investment is a tricky subject, as there are always alternative possible explanations. In fact over the years many road impact studies have been carried out with varying results. However a number of recent studies have shown a very positive impact. The following studies of macro data for Asian countries are very encouraging showing a close relationship between the extent of the road network and expenditure on roads, with income growth. Shenggen Fan, of the International Food Policy Research Institute, has been a leader in this field. Jalan and Ravallion (3) found that, out of a wide range of explanatory variables, kilometres of road per capita provided one of the most significant and positive explanations of household consumption growth in Southern China. Similarly Fan and Chan-Kang (4) found that for every Yuan invested in rural roads in China there was an associated increase of 1.57 Yuan of agricultural GDP and an increase 5.68 Yuan of Rural non-farm GDP. The overall return was 6.37 Yuan for every one Yuan invested. In comparison the return of investing in expressways and highways (referred to as high quality roads) the return would be much less: i.e., 1.45 Yuan for every Yuan invested. In Vietnam Fan, Huong and Long (5) also found a close relationship between the level of economic activity and the extent of the rural road network. Through undertaking an econometric analysis of national data and government expenditure for different sectors it was found that, after agricultural research, road investment produced the highest return. For every Dong invested in roads, 3.01 Dong of agricultural production value would be produced. In contrast the returns for investments in electricity and rural telephones do not show any significant effect on agricultural production. Although there were significant variations in return for some components (e.g., education) road

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

investment was found to generate high returns in all regions. For every billion Dong ($63,000) invested in roads it was predicted that 132 people would escape poverty (i.e., their incomes would rise above the poverty line). An analysis undertaken in India by Fan, Hazell and Thorat (6) of different types of public expenditure found that expenditure on roads had by far the largest impact in reducing rural poverty. Per Rupee spent, the impact on reducing poverty and increasing incomes was higher for roads than for research and development, irrigation, education, rural development or health. It should be recognized that the results of these macro studies relate to economies that have particular levels of development, land use patterns and quality and extent of road infrastructure. The results are, of course, not automatically applicable to other countries with different characteristics. Perhaps, as expected, micro studies of road impact have produced a wide range of results. The Asian Development Bank recently commissioned a series of studies in Indonesia, Philippines and Sri Lanka (7). The studies found that improved rural roads provided a better mix of transport services, shorter travel times and increased traffic. The impact of the improved roads on transport fare levels was found to be variable; it depended upon competition in transport markets. More buyers visited the communities with improved roads, more seasonal markets were established and there was an increase in the number of small business established. Improved roads appear to have been a major factor in deciding to start a new business. Although, there was some evidence that the richer sections of the rural population were more likely to benefit from better access, poorer groups were also able to benefit by being able to use hand carts (where previously they had to carry their goods) and there was, on balance, an increase in job opportunities, although this was associated with a reduction in jobs for porters. There is general evidence that rural roads have an important impact in reducing poverty in rural Ethiopia. In an analysis of a range of different factors, Dercon (8) found that the presence or absence of a road was the major factor in reducing rural poverty. Although average consumption in the study areas rose by 8% between 1989 and 1994, just over 50% of the change was attributed to road infrastructure and location. In an analysis drawing on more recent data from Ethiopia, Dercon and Hoddinott(9) have found that increasing road quality to enable reasonable accessibility in the wet season had a major effect in stimulating higher consumption growth. There appears to be a persistent cumulative effect of improving road quality. The better the level of past road quality then the higher the subsequent growth rate. The benefits of road investment are not confined to economics. Levy (10) found that in Morocco improved roads led directly to an improvement in the quality of education. It was easier to recruit and retain teachers and absenteeism of both teachers and students dropped. Similarly the rural population doubled their use of health care services, the supply of medicine improved and it became easier to implement immunization programs. Women and girls benefited especially from the provision of all-weather access roads. Girls enrolment in primary education trebled, very largely because, with the improved roads, butane gas became affordable and it was no longer necessary for the daily collection of firewood for cooking and heating. Rural-urban interaction also increased several-fold as it became easier for people to visit their relations. An investigation of Pakistan data has also indicated the social benefits of roads. A recent analysis suggests that the presence of an all-weather road in a village is associated with higher school enrolment rates. The enrolment rate for girls living in villages with all-weather road access was 41% compared with 27% for those living in villages without all weather road access. Higher female literacy rates, higher immunization and more births assisted by a skilled attendant were also found to be associated with the presence of all-weather roads (11). The importance of adequate transport services

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

for improving key health outcomes such as the rates of maternal and infant mortality is emphasized in a review by Babinard and Roberts (12). The situation is most serious in Sub-Saharan Africa where poor transport not only inhibits user access to health facilities (particularly for emergency cases) but also constrains the staffing and equipping of the remote facilities. In addition, the maternal mortality rate is more than double the average for developing countries and more than 40 times the rate for high income countries. It should not be forgotten that roads can also be crucial for the political integration of a country and may assist with helping to reduce tribal and ethnic tensions. The World Bank has received a number of requests from governments for road programs where these issues have been the main motives for intervention. THE RURAL ACCESS INDEX The Rural Access Index was established by the World Bank Transport Sector Board as one of several key diagnostic measures of the sector. It was later adopted as one of the indicators that capture key aspects of development for the Results Measurement System of the 14th round of International Development Association (IDA-14) that was launched in July 2005 for the 81 countries that receive IDA concessionary assistance. The Index measures the percentage of the rural population that lives within two kilometers (typically equivalent to a walk of 20-25 minutes) of an all-season road. An allseason road is a road that is motorable all year round by the prevailing means of transport (typically a pick-up or truck that does not have four-wheel-drive). Occasional interruptions of short duration due to poor weather are accepted (13). Current estimates of all season access are provided in Figure 1.

East Asia (8) Europe & Central Asia (16) South Asia (4) Latin America & Caribbean (7) Middle East & North Africa (5) Sub-Saharan Africa (24) 0 20 40 60 80 100

Per cent
Note numbers in brackets indicate the number of countries

FIGURE 1 Percentage of Rural Population with All-Season Access Improved transport plays a key contribution in achieving many of the Millennium Development Goal targets in helping to reduce extreme poverty and assists with improving health, education and trade. Surveys have shown that poor people recognize isolation as a major contributor to their overall poverty and marginalization. The Rural Access Index provides a measure of isolation and represents a useful indicator of the need for improved accessibility in helping to achieve the MDGs. There are various ways in which the Rural Access Index might be measured including drawing data from maps, GIS data and satellite imagery and from ground based household surveys. Currently a

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

Transport and Access Module has been prepared for field testing to be incorporated within the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) that is currently undertaken within many countries on a regular basis. ASSESSING COMMUNITY PRIORITIES In the past rural road investment used to be planned by engineers and economists with the minimum of local consultation. The feasibility of any investment was almost exclusively based upon engineering studies and forecast traffic volumes. Now, of course, environmental and social assessments have to be made and particular attention needs to be given to the real wishes of the community. Roads can no longer be planned in isolation. Particular care is taken with ensuring both a minimum of resettlement and that adequate compensation is paid. The World Bank places a great deal of importance in trying to understand both what people want from the investment and how it will integrate with other local social and economic infrastructure. Community consultation is now crucial to both planning and to monitoring the impact and outcomes of the investment. In discussions, particular attention is paid towards listening to the needs and priorities of women. In poorer countries, at village level, the transport burden on women, particularly for collecting water and firewood, is huge, often many times that of men. For longer distance transport womens priorities are most often directed towards access to health care facilities and markets while men tend to be more interested in access to the towns for employment. Many rural road prioritization procedures start by asking local communities to provide a list of the most wanted interventions. From this candidate list an engineering and economic analysis may be undertaken to provide the final program. This dual approach ensures that every investment is actively wanted and valued by the community and makes economic and engineering sense. The Ghanaian feeder road prioritization procedure is an example (14). Increasingly, with rural road projects there is a facility to provide other small scale investments that communities feel would be particularly beneficial and would complement the road investment. Examples include lay-bys and markets but they might also be items such as a school building, a clinic or a football field. But unusual requests can also arise. Recently social development consultants working with a road project in Nepal have reported a strong wish for a funeral rites facility. Such investments can help to broaden the appeal of a project and thus help to facilitate and speed up its implementation. Very often rural road projects can arise as result of infrastructure grants to communities in which the community has a choice of a variety of possible investments. Such initiatives are often referred to as Community Driven Development, or CDD, projects. Although road projects (being highly valued by communities) are often very popular under CDD arrangements, care needs to be taken to ensure that the subsequent maintenance of the roads will be undertaken. Because such projects generally arise outside of the immediate sponsorship of the district or local road administration there is often a weakness in providing for their subsequent maintenance. Communities often express interest in being involved in road construction. Labor intensive and labor based work can provide a very significant cash benefit to local communities. (The new national rural access program in Afghanistan was designed to be a major contributor to the countrys welfare safety net.) Similarly, communities may also express a strong desire to eliminate or reduce the dust from roads, particularly where roads pass through a village. Both of these concerns should be taken on board by engineers and planners.

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLANNING Recent research undertaken in Peru by the World Bank has shown that considerable synergies can arise if different types of rural infrastructure are provided together (15). Analysis has shown that rural income levels will rise much more if all-weather roads are provided together with the provision of water, electricity and telephones compared with the cases whereby these components are provided separately. Obviously if all these components are provided together it becomes much easier to develop rural industries and agricultural processing than when some of the elements are missing. Within the World Bank, the transport group has been in the forefront in promoting effective planning tools such as the Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning (IRAP) tool for district level integrated development planning. IRAP was originally developed by transport planners within the International Labor Organization to assist with planning the location of both social facilities (e.g., water sources, schools, clinics, hospitals, markets, shops, woodlots, government offices) and roads, tracks, footpaths and transport services. It is based on mapping the location of households, facilities and transport links. Local communities are encouraged to participate in the mapping exercise. The procedure has been successfully adopted in a range of countries in Africa and Asia. A GIS based IRAP map of the settlements and facilities in a district can now be a very powerful tool for planning. Such an operational map has recently been prepared for the Ntchisi district in Malawi. The District Commissioner and the District Director of Planning and Development have been able to make good use of the information and they are both very enthusiastic about the approach. With the new planning tool a much more rational approach can now be made to planning the location of roads and new facilities and it is possible to effectively resist irrational pressures by various sections of the population. Although developing the database involved a considerable initial effort, the fact that the data was largely supplied by the local population has established its credibility and acceptance in the district. ROADS AND THE RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER TYPES OF TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE AND SERVICES World Bank initiatives supporting rural roads are often specified as rural transport projects. The provision is there to support a wide range of transport infrastructure improvements besides rural roads. Examples include wharfs and jetties, footpaths and tracts and animal trails, pedestrian footbridges etc. Although the other types of infrastructure may make up a small percentage of the budget the intervention can nevertheless be very cost effective and appropriate. Animal transport is particularly important in the mountainous areas of countries like Peru, Ethiopia and Nepal. Recent research undertaken under the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Program in several African countries has pointed to the hitherto unrecognised dominance of bicycle transport for longer distance passenger trips by large sections of the rural population in many African countries. The improvement of grass routes non-road infrastructure can, if designed well, help concentrate the flows of goods and people on conventional roads and thus help to make their long term maintenance and viability a reality. However road investment alone cannot guarantee that there will be adequate transport services to meet the needs of the population. Too often conventional transport services are very infrequent, expensive and dangerous. Uncompetitive practices by equipment suppliers and transport operators can lead to very high transport tariffs, particularly in Africa (16). To help improve accessibility and mobility Bank staff have been keen to explore ways of supporting rural transport through measures such as Intermediate Means of Transport (IMT) promotional programs involving demonstrations, publicity and low cost loans. Also there is an interest in finding how to increase the frequency and reliability of conventional rural transport services. A current project in Nepal is investigating how to achieve this.

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard

RURAL ROAD STANDARDS Because the costs of moving goods by non-road solutions are often very high, and because government and most organizations are so dependent on motor vehicle transport, basic road access is critical to the development of nearly all communities. The provision of basic road access is discussed in detail by Lebo and Schelling (17). Where funds are limited and rural traffic volumes are in the order of five or so motorized vehicles per day (for example, in much of the less densely populated parts of rural Africa) a spot improvement approach, that involves undertaking the minimum possible work to achieve basic vehicle access, makes sense. Nevertheless, where conditions warrant it may also be appropriate to provide a gravel or a paved surface. In Vietnam many densely populated areas now support hundreds of motorcycles per day. Gravel roads are unpopular, partly because of the dust problem but also because motorcycles can easily skid on the loose surface and, in such conditions, a paved surface is probably most appropriate, even though this may not be indicated by road planning models. Similarly research undertaken on roads in the mountains of Vietnam, that are subject to very heavy rainfall, have found that 150 mm of gravel can be lost in a year or two (18). In such circumstances a paved road may also be the most appropriate solution. Research undertaken in Zimbabwe (19), where there is a severe shortage of good quality gravel, has found that it may be economic, using the HDM4 road planning model to adopt low cost paved road standards for as little as 60-80 vehicles per day. However in locations where good quality laterite gravel is widely available a higher threshold can be expected. Of course, the economics depend heavily upon the relative costs of construction and the engineering characteristics of the materials used. In more average conditions paved roads tend to be economically justified at about 200 vehicles per day. A number of researchers have suggested that in many countries the window for gravel is reducing. Good quality gravel is reported to becoming increasingly scarce to find. At the low traffic end of the scale we can do more with the spot improvement approach to existing earth roads to ensure basic accessibility. At the other end of the scale successful experiments using Otta seals have also helped show that inexpensive bitumen design solutions can be used, and will last on low cost, low traffic roads (20). Clearly appropriate design solutions need to be assessed on the merits of each case. ROAD PLANNING MODELS AND THE INCORPORATION OF ADDITIONAL BENEFITS The Highway Development and Management Model (HDM4), and its forerunner Highway Design and Maintenance Standards Model (HDM-III), have for a long time been key tools for planning rural and interurban roads and highways in developing countries. The World Bank has played an important role in supporting the development and use of these models. The Sub-Saharan African Transport Policy Program in association with the World Bank has also developed the Roads Economic Decision Model (RED) that provides a simplified version of HDM4 in an easy to use Excel spreadsheet format for use with low traffic volumes (21). Many engineers complain that road planning models such as HDM4 are complex and require large amounts of data to use. However there are many prioritization procedures that use simple ratios of engineering costs, population and traffic that can help to rank alternative rural road investments. These procedures can be useful tools, particularly for overworked district engineers, although their main weakness tends to be that they do not discriminate between roads in different conditions and the likely change in condition brought about by any given investment. For both HDM4 and RED the main component of benefits arise from the calculated transport user cost savings from forecast traffic volumes. Although a number of outstanding issues remain with the validity of components of the models and their local calibration, nevertheless, in the absence of better predictive tools, the models provide a useful way of evaluating and comparing alternatives. However, particular difficulties arise for very low traffic volumes and when roads become impassable

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard


for lengthy periods. In these situations it can be argued that the road user cost saving approach, alone, is an inadequate basis for planning. Most organizations, whether government heath centers, schools, extension services, NGOs or commercial enterprises, depend upon good communications and adequate vehicle access. Where there is limited, or no vehicle access, then these bodies will either not be set up, or will tend to function very poorly. Because of this there is a very significant threshold effect associated with establishing access. The only way such threshold effects may be incorporated in the conventional user cost savings approach is through a valuation of generated traffic whereby any traffic forecast to be induced by the investment is valued at half the user cost savings to forecast normal traffic. However this approach is inadequate because the benefits to the community of greatly increased accessibility may relate to improved health and education and well-being that are very far removed from any valuation based on increase in traffic volumes. Recent research undertaken by the UKs Transport Research Laboratory and others has found that both communities and officials perceive the social benefits of improved access very highly (22). Currently the World Bank, with funding from UKs Department for International Development, is further exploring how we can value social benefits in monetary terms using Stated Preference approaches. The estimation of wider economic benefits resulting from the effects of transport investment has received an important stimulus from work being undertaken for the Department for Transport in the UK. The evaluation of Londons Crossrail link is an example. Larger towns benefit from agglomeration economies and are associated with higher income levels and, if transport investment stimulates the growth of towns, then the conventional cost benefit assumptions of fixed marginal productivity of labor do not apply (23). Recently both Dercon and Hoddinott(9) and Lui, (24) have suggested researchers and planners need to take a much broader view when investigating and modeling the benefits of rural roads in developing countries. Most spatial economic analysis of rural roads has tended to concentrate on the effects on the local agricultural economy and have tended to ignore the effects on urban centers and industry. However the overall efficiency of transport links helps determine the market size of any firm and the overall size of any town. If rural roads supporting a town are improved, and if economies of scale and or agglomeration economies are present, then industries and the town can expand and incomes can rise. Similarly if rural incomes rise as a result of reduced transport costs most of the cash gains will be spent in adjacent towns leading to further welfare gains in the region. The challenge we now have is how to incorporate these different types of benefits (and the benefits estimated from the wide range of studies mentioned earlier) within the frameworks of HDM4, RED or a similar type of model without unduly increasing the complexity for the user. THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE AND ROAD MAINTENANCE Rural road investment cannot be adequately planned without taking into account road maintenance. Over the last fifteen years road maintenance has been influenced by three major worldwide trends. These are: a) decentralization b) the advent of Second-Generation Road Funds c) commercialization

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard


The three trends are interrelated. In the 1980s there was widespread recognition that road maintenance in most developing countries was inadequately funded and carried out. At the same time there has been a trend to bring the management of a wide range of government services closer to the community through decentralization. The setting up of Second-Generation Road Funds provided additional funding for maintenance, based largely on the collection of additional fuel levies (25). The move towards commercialization was based on a recognition that efficiency could be improved through commercialization rather than being undertaken through traditional centralized force account operations. For decentralization to work effectively it is necessary for the decentralized body to have the proper legal powers to operate, as well as sufficient funding and adequately trained and experienced manpower to undertake the task. Often this has not been the case. The process of decentralization has brought into focus the need to ensure that responsibility for different components of the road network is clearly defined between different levels of government and other organizations. Unfortunately for many countries there is considerable ambiguity as to who is responsible for planning, improving, maintaining and funding the lower level network of rural roads. The institutional structure does, of course, vary widely between countries. Any allocation of funding for improvement or maintenance, should take into account the network length of different classes of roads. The classified road network is a useful starting point. However this is frequently out-of-date and it may not cover all the roads that are, in fact, maintained. There should be a recognized procedure for the adoption of new roads into the classified network and for transferring ownership between levels of government and other organizations. A clear distinction should be made between those roads that can be maintained by local authorities and other roads that cannot. For the latter it can help to encourage local communities to take responsibility and ownership of these roads (26). In some countries, road user committees have been successful in this respect. In Nepal local road user committees were often the first to establish and build tracks and roads making use of their own resources. Communities can provide resources to maintain roads. In Vietnam the rural population is legally obliged to provide labor (or the cash equivalent) every year for the maintenance of social infrastructure including roads. However where population densities are relatively low, and people are poor, road maintenance will almost certainly require additional resources from outside the community. In Tanzania districts are responsible for the maintenance of their local networks but they can call upon a central body to provide technical support. The Road Fund provides about $150,000 to each district for road maintenance. A new act is planned to introduce a class of community roads whereby clearly assigned villages take responsibility. The roads are to be maintained largely through their own efforts without support from the Road Fund, however it is anticipated that some support will be provided through community development sources. With the introduction of road funds, and the increased political commitment towards maintenance, it is generally accepted that the funding of road maintenance has improved, as has the management of the main road network. Inevitably the bulk of nationally generated maintenance resources will be spent on the main roads. However for the majority of developing countries where funding for the main network remains inadequate, it is unlikely that national funding for the lower volume rural network will also be sufficient. Additional resources drawn for the local community can help but may not provide the complete answer. Even when an increase of maintenance funding for the secondary network has taken place it is frequently found that a diversion of funds away from routine maintenance towards reconstruction has occurred. Emergency and routine maintenance provides the highest returns and should, for a given traffic level, be a priority for the use of funds. In fact many rural road projects supported by the Bank do contain an element for subsequent road maintenance, although there are obvious limitations due to

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard


the time period of particular loans and credits. Some projects even have in-built incentives, in terms of additional investment funding, if maintenance funding is sustained. In many countries now over 80 per cent of routine and periodic maintenance is carried out by commercial contract. There is now a growing interest in how to best organize maintenance by contract. Although they may not always be suitable for the lowest traffic roads, performance based contracts have been successfully introduced on main gravel roads in Chad (27) and for the routine maintenance of rural roads by micro-enterprises in Peru. THE NEED FOR BETTER DATA AND THE ADOPTION OF A RESULTS BASED APPROACH To achieve the best results for the funds available it is essential to have access to good quality data. Just as it is important to get feed back from local communities on their priorities so it is important to have adequate data to test the economic viability of projects, to allocate funds to different areas and to ensure that projects are achieving the required results. Unfortunately the road transport sector in many developing countries has only a limited nationwide system of data collection. In this respect transport lags well behind other sectors, particularly agriculture. The data that is collected tends to be concentrated in traffic count surveys and in maintenance management systems for the main road network and in individual project reports. Very little data is collected that is particularly relevant, or understandable, to rural transport users in any form. To improve planning it is essential to be able to have accurate estimates of traffic levels, modal composition, mobility rates, trip distances and trip purposes and transport fares and tariffs as well as details of engineering costs and road performance. Once vehicle access is established the main mechanism by which road investment promotes development and improves well being is through a reduction in transport tariffs and fares paid by the user. And yet this data is rarely, if ever, available. Transport fares and tariffs are, along with journey times, the only way of effectively assessing whether the direct benefits forecast from the road planning models have materialized and passed on to the wider population. Models such as HDM4 and RED can give an indication of the possible magnitude of transport cost savings, however the estimates are inevitably very tentative because so much depends upon the competitive nature of the transport industry and the (largely untested) local validity of the underlying assumptions. Within the World Bank and other development agencies there is an important trend towards results based monitoring and evaluation (28). In this respect information on project outcomes for beneficiaries (i.e., for a road project - mobility rates, modal choice, fares and tariffs) is critically important. The Banks Transport Results Initiative (29) is promoting the improved measurement of these outcomes (such as the Rural Access Index described earlier), as well as of the more conventional sector performance data. By encouraging a comprehensive system of data collection that is fully focused on information most relevant to the welfare of users, the Initiative helps to achieve a better understanding of how transport improves the well being of individuals and interacts with the local economy. In this way a much more convincing case for the improved funding of rural transport investment can be made. CONCLUSIONS Designing effective interventions to improve the accessibility and mobility of rural populations inevitably involves a range of resources, tasks and skills. The international environment within which agencies such as the World Bank operate in are naturally changing and evolving over time. The focus of the Millennium Development Goals is crucial to our engagement with the lowest income countries. The Rural Access index is an important tool that can help identify those countries or regions that are most in need of all-season access improvements. Increasingly we need to consider how to design

Dr Maryvonne Plessis-Fraissard


projects which minimize transaction costs, achieve greater local ownership, yet at the same time are economically viable, sensitive to local social and environmental conditions, and minimize the risk of corruption. An agreed agenda to share knowledge with clients and consult with and learn from the ultimate beneficiaries is essential. To have maximum effect road projects need to be planned in coordination with other infrastructure services. The Integrated Rural Accessibility Planning approach has shown that community consultation can work well with local government coordination of a range of different services. To achieve these results there is a case that lending institutions need to be less proscriptive about precise technical standards or planning and prioritization methods and more focused on achieving the best results possible for the input of a given set of resources. The evidence suggests that rural road investment can have a major beneficial effect on the economic and social life of rural communities. We need to continue to develop and widen our planning criteria in order to properly capture the full range of benefits. However we need to know much more locally, about how road investment directly affects mobility rates and transport fares and tariffs if we are to make a convincing case for the improved funding of transport. More comprehensive data collection procedures are essential. Similarly we must continue to give attention to how roads will be maintained after major interventions are made. Unfortunately there are no simple solutions that will guarantee this. A management solution that will work in one case will not necessarily work elsewhere. We need to continue to press for increased funding for rural road maintenance and we need to find better methods of engaging with local authorities and communities on this issue. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This paper has been prepared with the assistance of staff from the Transport and Urban Development Department of the World Bank. REFERENCES 1. World Bank. Safe, clean, affordable.-Transport for development. World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006 (Draft Report). 2. World Bank, Sustainable Transport: Priorities for Policy Reform. World Bank, Washington, DC, 1996. 3. Jalan, J. and M. Ravallion, Geographic Poverty Traps? A Micro Model of Consumption Growth in Rural China. Journal of Applied Econometrics, Vol. 17, 2002, pp 329-346. 4. Fan, S. and C. Chan-Kang, Road Development, Economic Growth, and Poverty Reduction in China, DSGD Discussion Paper no.12, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC, 2004. 5. Fan, S, P.L. Huong, and T.Q. Long, Government Spending and Poverty Reduction in Vietnam. Project Report. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, and Central Institute for Economic Management, Hanoi, 2004. 6. Fan, S, P. Hazell, and S. Thorat. Linkages between Government Spending, Growth, and Poverty in Rural India. Research Report 110, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, 1999. 7. Hettige, H. When do Rural Roads Benefit the Poor and How? An In-depth Analysis Based on Case Studies. Asian Development Bank, Manila, 2006. 8. Dercon, S. Economic Reform, Growth and the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia. World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER) conference on economic growth and poverty reduction, Helsinki, May 25-26, 2001 9. Dercon, S. and J. Hoddinott. Livelihoods, Growth, and Links to Market Towns in 15 Ethiopian Villages. FCND Discussion Paper 194. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC. 2005. 10. Levy, H. Rural Roads and Poverty Alleviation in Morocco. Scaling Up Poverty Reduction: A Global Learning Process and Conference, Shanghai May 25-27, 2004 11. Essakali, M.D. Rural Access and Mobility in Pakistan: A Policy Note. Transport Note No. TRN-28, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005.

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12. Babinard, J and P. Roberts. Maternal and Child Mortality Goals: What can the Transport Sector do? Transport Paper TP-12, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006. 13. Roberts, P and Shyam KC. "Rural Access Index" World Road Association (PIARC) seminar on Sustainable Access and Local Resource Solutions, Siem Reap, November, 2005. 14. Hine, J, S. Ellis, S. Done, D. Korboe. Ghana Feeder Road Prioritization. ILO Conference, Maputo, May 2002. 15. World Bank, Rural Infrastructure in Peru. Report No. 34598-PE, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006 16. Starkey, P, S. Ellis, J. Hine and A. Ternell. Improving Rural Mobility. Options for Developing Motorized and Non-motorized Transport in Rural Areas. World Bank Technical Paper No. 525, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002. 17. Lebo, J. and D. Schelling. Design and Appraisal of Rural Infrastructure: Ensuring Basic Access for Rural Communities. World Bank Technical Paper 496. World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001. 18. Petts, R, J. Cook, B.T. Dzung, and H. Kackada. Providing Low Cost, Sustainable Access through Infrastructure Works suitable for Small & Medium Enterprises. Development Studies Association Annual Conference, Milton Keynes, September 7-9, 2005 19. Department of State Roads, Secondary and Feeder Road Development Programme (SFRDP) Final Report. Ministry of Transport and Energy, Zimbabwe, 1995. 20. Southern African Development Community. Guideline for Low-volume Sealed Roads. 2003. 21. Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Program. Road Economic Decision Model. World Bank, Washington, DC. 22. Transport Research Laboratory. A Guide to Pro-Poor Transport Appraisal - The Inclusion of Social Benefits in Road Investment Appraisal. Overseas Road Note 22. TRL Ltd, Crowthorne, 2004 23. Department for Transport. Transport, Wider Economic Benefits, and Impacts on GDP. Department for Transport, London, 2005. 24. Liu, Z. Transport Investment, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction. Journal of Transport and Infrastructure, The Asian Journal, Vol. 12, no.1, 2005 25. Heggie, I. and P. Vickers. Commercial Management and Financing of Roads, World Bank Technical Paper No. 409. World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998. 26. Malmberg Calvo, C. Options for Managing and Financing Rural Transport Infrastructure. World Bank Technical Paper No. 411. World Bank, Washington, DC, 1998 27. Hartwig, T, Y. Mumssen and A. Schliessler. Output-based aid in Chad: Using performance-based contracts to improve roads. Note no. 06 Global Partnership on Output Based Aid, World Bank Washington, DC, 2005. 28. Kusek, J.Z. and R.C.Rist. Ten Steps to a Results Based Monitoring and Evaluation System, World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004. 29. World Bank: Transport Results Initiative: