The management of Low Volume Rural Roads (LVRRs) in developing countries presents a range of challenges to road designers and managers. In a number of countries, a substantial proportion of the rural road network is generally developed only to an earth or a gravel standard. Individual routes are often in poor condition and sometimes severed during the rains; causing high transport costs and unreliable access. In particular, the challenges are due to factors including high rainfall, in some cases flooding/seasonal high water table, road material quality, haulage and traffic issues, such as variable loading, and the inability to provide timely maintenance through financial, operational and other constraints. At the same time, there are substantial demands for improved access and mobility for the rural communities, to support the achievement of the National Development Goals, improve socio-economic conditions and to reduce poverty.
The paper discusses the key issues concerning the management of LVRRs in developing countries. It draws on experiences in Africa and Asia, but particularly on the experiences of the South East Asia Community Access Programme (SEACAP) in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam.
The paper discusses strategies, such as Environmentally Optimised Design, which incorporates measures from spot improvement to whole link upgrades, in conjunction with a range of possible technology options carefully selected to match the investment and maintenance resources available. Opportunities for local enterprise and community involvement, as well as employment generation are also considered. In summary, the paper indicates how the available resources may be more effectively managed to improve rural access and road network conditions, thereby making a significant contribution to socio-economic development and rural poverty reduction initiatives.
Prepared for INCOTALS 2008, "South Asia Moves Forward", 28 July 2008, Colombo Sri Lanka. 16 pp (paper) and 20 pp. (Powerpoint presentation).