Road Infrastructure

Road infrastructure in the economic development is considered a critical ingredient because it supports economic growth and personal well-being. Its role is very important because it acts a capital input to the wealth and production generation. The impact it can bring to the economy can be transformative much more to people with lower income. For example, the construction of canals or transcontinental railways in order to link different oceans is a big factor for the economy at the lower levels. In terms of the people who have higher income, the direction between income growth and infrastructure development is becoming more complicated but these two factors are still correlated even with most developed countries.

Road infrastructure has an indirect contribution to the development of the economy through the creation of multitude of channels as well as it enables productive private investment, creation of new activities like the supply chains and the reshaping of the economic geography.

Road infrastructure is an important input to the transport services, in return, it is necessary for the flow of market exchange of inputs and final goods all throughout the country. With better road infrastructure, a broader benefit will be achieved like travel time and fuel savings. With its major economic role, the road infrastructure is often referred to as the modern economy’s backbone.

On the other hand, how much exactly is the support of road infrastructure to the economic development including wealth creation? What are the factors that determine its magnitude of impact? These questions can be hardly answered concretely except if policymakers have internal and high-quality data about investments made for road construction together with the cost of maintenance and operations. Most of all, they need a data that can assess the sustainability and affordability of funding needs and public budgets. Also, the data can be used to benchmark costs of long-term development plans for strategic infrastructure.

Infrastructure investments are key factors to determine the performance of the transport sector. However, the increasing participation of private and public investors as well as the operators of the transport sector is an additional factor that makes measurement of investments and outcomes very complex. The road infrastructure must be maintained and the costs of maintenance and outcomes vary greatly across countries. It can be difficult to have a common data for comparison and analysis because until now, there is a lack of common practices and clear definitions that often lead to inaccuracy.

To address the issues about road infrastructure, each country must develop a manual of best practices to measure spending and can be a tool for data collection that can be used as a national data.

It cannot be denied that road infrastructure plays an important aspect in the economy and it needs more concrete and better plans to improve its implementation.

© Pittsburgh Highway Engineers, 2002-2017.
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