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Improving Road Asset Management: Did we get it right in the last 20 years?

Location:   Washington, D.C.
Begins:   Jan 11, 2011 12:30
Ends:   Jan 11, 2011 13:30

Clell Harral, Consultant (former Transport Advisor)
Graham Smith, Consultant (former Lead Transport Specialist)

Marc H. Juhel, Sector Manager (ETWTR)

Following publication in 1988 of Road Deterioration in Developing Countries – Causes and Remedies (RDDC) the Bank largely reoriented its highway sector lending and technical assistance and intensified its efforts to help its clients strengthen road asset management functions.  However, the evaluation of the Bank’s transport sector assistance (1995-2005) made in 2007 by the Independent Evaluation Group concluded that “the Bank’s support to institutional development has had mixed success.”

Given the Bank’s renewed emphasis on infrastructure in general, including transportation, and road infrastructure in particular, a question naturally arises as to the impact and long-term effectiveness of the Bank’s policy prescriptions and institutional development support for road asset preservation and management.  Given the prominent role played by the RDDC report in shaping the Bank’s overall program since 1988, several of the original authors of that report, who subsequently have been active participants in designing and implementing the Bank’s highways programs throughout the world, decided to stand back and seek a clearer understanding of the long-term effectiveness of the measures advocated in 1988 and widely implemented since then. The objective was to seek a better understanding of what has worked, what has not, under what circumstances, and why, in order to better guide, and, if necessary to reorient, the Bank’s continuing efforts to strengthen planning and management of road assets.

The research methodology was, first, to set out four basic principles required for sound road asset development and management, and five manifestations of these principles, which would allow an observer to determine whether a country was ‘doing the right things.’  Second, the team contacted Bank transport TTLs for each region, to identify countries deemed to have been particularly successful in contrast to others in their portfolios.  From among those selected, South Africa, Argentina, and the Indian state of Gujarat have been found to come closest to embodying all the basic principles recommended by the 1988 policy paper.  The draft report documents the essentials of each of these ‘best practice’ case studies. It also reviews the track record over the past two decades of road funds and road agencies in developing countries.  Aspects that in this period have come to be recognized as critical have also been reviewed:  institutional sustainability and good governance. 

In this BBL, Clell Harral and Graham Smith present the approach and provisional conclusions of the study, with a view to eliciting feedback from Bank colleagues before the report is finalized.

Transport Brown Bag Series


Cholpon Ibraimova
Tel: (202) 458-8464




to be posted








Last updated: 2011-01-11

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