Good transport infrastructure and services are critical for realizing higher economic growth and improved standards of living. The Bank has been a long standing participant in the growth process in the South Asia Region, contributing by way of funding support and technical assistance to critical transport projects, be they national highways, state highways or urban transport projects.
While the Bank encounters many challenges in the course of developing these projects, many of these projects have transformed lives and livelihoods, and raised people's quality of life. This section is intended to share the Bank’s experience in terms of the successes achieved and the challenges faced in executing these projects.
Examples of Positive Impact:
Building the Jamuna Bridge - Bangladesh - The Jamuna Bridge provided the first land connection between the relatively under-developed northwest and the more developed eastern region where Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong are situated. Since it was completed, the Bridge has integrated Bangladesh's economy, commerce and communication, more than perhaps any other investment in physical infrastructure.
Improving Highways in Andhra Pradesh - India -The new highway between Hyderabad and Chennai, completed in June 2004, has brought prosperity to rural Andhra Pradesh. New banana plantations are flourishing as the highway has reduced travel times and spoilage is now almost nil. Transporters have also benefitted. Trucks and buses now reach their destinations sooner, and fuel and maintenance costs are down. Businesses have sprung up along the highway opening up new opportunities for rural youth, and village folk can now work further afield without having to migrate to the neighboring towns to find employment.
Modernizing Road Management Agencies in India's States - India - The project introduced the road management institutions of 16 of India's states to the latest thinking in the sector. It helped train them in the scientific identification of road corridors, the efficient management of environmental and resettlement issues, the application of stringent quality controls and procurement procedures, and the mapping and monitoring of road networks. In sum, it helped start the process of modernizing India's road management institutions so that they are capable of sustaining this reform momentum for the longer run.
Lessons from Implementation:
Dhaka Urban Transport Project - Bangladesh - With Dhaka fast becoming one of the largest cities in the world, the upgrading of transport services is absolutely critical for improving people’s quality of life and boosting economic growth. As the city's urban transport problems cannot be solved by any single project, this project - one of the first Bank projects aimed at easing Dhaka’s complex transport problems - focused on the most urgent infrastructure issues.The ground realities in Dhaka have, however, made the project’s implementation complex and challenging. While the conversion of one pilot corridor to a rickshaw-free zone has reduced travel time by about 30 percent per trip, and studies show that most travelers in this zone support this conversion, some segments of the population, especially rickshaw-pullers who plied these routes, and some travelers who relied on rickshaw for short-distance trip, have been adversely affected.