The paper discusses some of the more general issues arising in planning, appraising and evaluating road improvements in developing countries, the perspective being the operating experience of an aid agency. The major factor to be taken account of in planning is the undisputed trend in favour of road traffic at the expense of rail. This does not appear to have been abated by the sharp increases in oil prices in recent years. The major planning constraint is often the local government's maintenance budget. Maintenance is universally skimped in the Third World. Because there is only a limited trade-off between initial investment and recurrent costs, it is not possible to significantly ease the future maintenance burden by increased expenditure at the outset. A "stage construction" approach to the choice of road surfaces is advocated. Cost recovery from road users, though desirable, should not be such as to discourage traffic. There are two main problems in conventional appraisal. The treatment of benefits from generated traffic, especially in rural areas, is a weakness of the current methodology. The "producer surplus" approach is briefly discussed, and some difficulties pointed out. The assumption of adequate maintenance is also criticised, and the implications of the "zero maintenance" assumption are explored. The paper ends with some of the recurring themes that arise from the growing body of evaluation reports of road projects. Traffic forecasts tend to differ widely from the actual build-up of traffic. Cost overruns are a normal feature, related to implementation periods which are invariably longer than anticipated. The neglect of maintenance is convincingly brought out. (Author/TRRL)

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was presented at Seminar G, Developing Countries, held at the PTRC Annual Summer Meeting, University of Warwick, England, 4-7 July, 1983.
  • Corporate Authors:

    PTRC Education and Research Services Limited

    110 Strand
    London WC2,   England 
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  • Publication Date: 1983

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 83-89

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00382744
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0-86050-112-4
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Volume P240
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 30 1984 12:00AM