Road transport grew rapidly after World War II, when countries expanded their road networks and built new roads to open up land for development. By the end of the 1980s there were about 11 million kilometers of roads in developing and transition economies. These roads now carry 60-80% of all passenger and freight transport. They also provide the only form of access to most rural communities. In terms of assets, employment, and turnover, these roads are truly big business. For some developing and transition countries roads are their largest assets, with replacement costs amounting to well over $500 billion. In spite of their importance, most roads in these countries are managed and financed by bureaucratic road departments in the same way that social services are managed and financed. Traffic congestion is pandemic, and there is a huge backlog of deferred maintenance. During the past 20 years these countries spent far too little on capital investment and routine and periodic maintenance. Restoring only the roads for which it is economically justified to do so and preventing further deterioration will now require annual expenditures of at least $5 billion over the next 10 years. Another $5 billion may be needed to expand and modernize congested road networks and to improve road safety. Against this background, the World Bank has been participating in two ongoing initiatives designed to improve road management and finance. The first consists of a series of policy reform workshops - the Africa Road Maintenance Initiative, the PROVIAL program in Latin America, and similar country initiatives in Asia and the Middle East - which have helped countries to restructure management and financing of roads. The second consists of the International Study of Highway Development and Management System Tools (ISOHDM), which continues to develop new road management information technology that will help countries improve strategic and day-to-day management of their road networks. This joint World Bank/PIARC session will briefly summarize the progress made under these two initiatives. For the covering abstract see ITRD E118727.


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Media Info

  • Pagination: 24 p.

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00963955
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Oct 3 2003 12:00AM