Sustainable Rural Road Development

Centre for Transport Studies Sustainable Rural Road Development: The non-engineering dimensions Peter Jones . UCL Professor of Transport and Sustainab...

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Centre for Transport Studies

Sustainable Rural Road Development: The non-engineering dimensions

Peter Jones UCL Professor of Transport and Sustainable Development Visiting Professor, China Academy of Transportation Sciences

International Symposium on Rural Roads, Bangkok, 4th December 2013

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Summary of presentation • Developed country perspectives • Developing country perspectives • Taking a different approach • Potential functions of new/improved rural roads • A rural roads strategy • Realising the potential [Some examples from Africa]

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Developed country perspectives - 1 • Developed countries have extensive rural road networks • In countries with higher population densities, these are mainly paved • Relatively little new rural road construction, except to provide for new economic development (e.g. ski resort, fish farming, forests) • Most road construction is for urban development, or to provide high speed/capacity routes

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Developed country perspectives - 2 • Growing emphasis on building roads in a ‘more sustainable’ manner: – – – – – – – –

‘Whole life’ costing, in design and construction Reduced use of non-renewable energy Local sourcing of new materials (reduce truck miles) Re-cycling of materials Reduced environmental pollution Preservation of local bio-diversity Reductions in noise (quieter surfaces, noise barriers) Reduce community impact (visual, severance, etc.)

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Developed country perspectives - 3 • Main challenge is to maintain existing rural road networks: “Britain’s rural roads have suffered their worst deterioration since 1977….. As an epidemic of wheel ruts, weeds and cracked surfaces spreads across the country. The Department for Transport’s ‘’defects index’ jumped by a record 12% on unclassified roads last year.” [The Guardian, 25/04/1003]

• Deterioration measured in three dimensions: – Smooth road surface and reduced skid resistance – Lack of structural integrity – Poor serviceability (i.e. uneven or poor geometry profile)

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Developed country perspectives - 4 • In some areas of UK would take 150 years to rebuild entire rural road network, based on current standards and rates of expenditure! • Serious talk of letting some rural roads revert to unpaved tracks - also, of reducing expected standards • Growing concerns about effects of climate change: flash flooding, higher summer temperatures, more severe winter frosts, etc.

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Developing country perspectives - 1 • Main priority to extend the coverage of the rural road network – large areas not adequately covered (see map) • Need to integrate with spatial and economic strategies • Lack of rural road maintenance programmes a major problem in some countries • Lack of rural road inspection (for preventative maintenance) can be a problem • Funding for construction and maintenance an ongoing problem

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Developing country perspectives - 2 • Poorly developed transport operating sector: – Freight vehicles small and inefficient, lack of competition – No consideration of animal-based goods movement – Poorly developed logistics chains (except for multinational companies) – Public transport often uses old and unsafe vehicles, high fares and lack of competition – Walking (and cycling) not specifically provided for – Poor standards of driving and weak road safety culture – Limited enforcement of traffic offences

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Source: John Hine

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Taking a different approach • Standard economic evaluation identifies benefits of rural road construction/maintenance to the transport sector • But transport is a ‘derived demand’ and most benefits accrue to other sectors of the economy and to society in general – these are not captured • What case could be made for improved rural road provision, as part of developing a sustainable economy/society? • This starts with Sustainable Road Design….

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Road environment and impact factors

Source: AFCAP June 2013

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Limitations of current economic justification • Two factors make up the bulk of benefits: 1. Time savings to existing users 2. Reductions in vehicle operating costs 3. [Reductions in road traffic accidents]

• But, this raises two concerns: 1. These measures accentuate the existing movement patterns, and do not open up new opportunities 2. There are many non-transport benefits that will be related to potential rather than existing travel patterns

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Potential functions of new/improved rural roads • To make existing travel easier • [For military/counter insurgency purposes] • To improve access FROM ‘villages’ to goods and services • To improve access TO ‘villages’ from other areas • To obtain co-construction benefits • To contribute to resilient sub-regional networks • To reduce disparities between rural and urban populations – take growth pressure off cities BUT – requires co-operation of other agencies!!

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Improving access from villages - 1 • In rural areas, main recognised beneficiary is the agricultural sector: – Reduces ‘costs’ of taking products to local markets: • • • •

Lower vehicle operating costs Less travel time, so can spend more time productively on farm Goods arrive fresher and less damaged in transit Scope to produce/sell larger quantities of products

– In particular, where institutional structures allow for price responsiveness and increased returns to farmers

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Food logistics chains: smallholder farmers, Kenya

Source: AFCP/GEN/60

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Potential improvement in farm gate price of maze in a study of 33 villages in Ashanti, Ghana Length of access to be upgraded 5 km

20 km

Upgrade from path to earth road

11.4%

70.6%

Upgrade from earth to gravel road

0.08%

0.29%

Source: John Hine

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Improving access from villages - 2 • Many other potential benefits: – – – – –

Increased access to job opportunities in local towns Increased access to primary and secondary education Increased access to food and consumer goods Increased access to higher quality health care Increased access to family and friends outside the village

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Ghana: Young people reported use of health care services within last 12 months [n=943]

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Improving access to villages • Reduces costs of bringing goods to the community: – Lower costs of fertilisers, etc – Cheaper goods in local shop

• Increases interaction with the ‘outside world’: – Family and friends can visit mobility-restricted villagers – Better access for emergency services (e.g. health)

• Could increase attraction of village as destination: – Scope to expand local industry – Develop tourism/cultural visits, in some areas

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Co-construction benefits - 1 • Traditionally, major transport infrastructure has been linked with utilities construction: – Railways as corridors for telegraph and telephone lines – Telecommunications lines being built alongside new motorways – Gas, electricity, water, cable being included in new bridges and tunnels

• Is there scope for something similar with rural road construction?

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Co-construction benefits - 2 • What might benefit from co-construction with new rural roads: – – – – –

Electricity or water connections? Land-based telecommunications? Local flooding/drainage schemes? Local dams for water retention for agriculture? Tree planting to reduce soil erosion?

Such links could provide partial construction funds

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Villagers scooping water from lined side drain

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Resilient sub-regional networks • Appraisal often treats new rural road construction simply as a adding new ‘link’ • But, unless this joins an existing road network to a ‘dead end’, then it is increasing – to varying degrees – the connectivity of the whole network • During periods of severe flooding, earthquake, etc. such diversionary routes will greatly increase network resilience and speed up disaster relief

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Reducing disparities between rural & urban areas • Closer links between rural and urban areas will increase interaction between the two communities • Will extend urban commuter catchment areas • This will reduce income, education, health and other disparities: – Reducing risk of rural unrest (a big worry in China) – Making better use of economic and social assets, and – Taking pressure off urban migration – which be very costly, both financially and in terms of CO2, etc.

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Rural roads strategy - 1 1. Defining role of link in network • • • •

Farm to local village Village to market/service centre Market/service centre to main road Potential diversionary route as part of a resilient network

Classification will affect: • Type of construction/maintenance and road width/strength • Priority for investment • Scope for alternative funding sources

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Rural roads strategy - 2 2. New road links: • Look at potential for changes in demand following road construction, not just focus on evidence of existing movements • Include indicators of potential such as population size, incomes, health, education, as well as agricultural potential, tourist potential. • Consider potential network-wide benefits of providing a new link, and (occasional) pressures this would put on the infrastructure

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Rural roads strategy - 3 3. Upgrading existing links: • Normal progression from: – Track to earth road – Earth to gravel road – Gravel to sealed road (maybe widened)

• Also consider hybrid solutions: – Paved road where linked to related construction activity) e.g. small dams for agriculture) – Paved road on vulnerable sub-sections (e.g. liable to flooding)

• Trade-offs between availability and maintenance costs

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Marginal productivity of maintenance expenditure

Source: John Hine

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Rural roads strategy - 4 4. Funding sources (construction and maintenance) • Scope to share costs with other agencies who benefit (mainly for construction): – Those involved in co-construction (e.g. utilities) – Other service delivery agencies, who will be able to provide better customer services following road construction/upgrading, such as: health, education – Strategic benefits to regional road network of diversionary route

• Scope to charge users (mainly for maintenance): – In particular, heavier goods vehicles, which do most pavement damage – either through local toll or national annual vehicle tax – Contributions from local beneficiaries (e.g. local farm estate, local villagers), in cash or in kind (e.g. labour)

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Realising the potential - 1 • A finer classification of rural roads according to their function and local potential for growth/development • Recognition of the fundamental importance of rural roads to meeting national economic and social objectives • Identification of the main beneficiaries of new/improved rural roads • Examination of ways in which these beneficiaries might contribute funding to rural road construction/maintenance • Identification and removal of organisational, legal barriers • Develop new forms of advice and incentivisation, to encourage productivity gains (e.g. in agriculture, tourism)

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Realising the potential - 2 • Role for community participation: – Project specification: identifying existing travel patterns and potential for additional travel with improved roads – Highlighting ‘losers’: some people may be adversely affected (e.g. loss of home or farming land), and in some cases may need to be compensated – Enlisting (voluntary) support for road construction and maintenance – Direct financial contributions to fund local roads – Training to take advantage of new opportunities, both in transport and non-transport sectors

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THANK YOU!

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