This paper describes the Rural Access Index (RAI), a headline transport indicator which highlights the critical role of access and mobility in reducing poverty in poor countries. The Index is part of the Results Measurement System for IDA 14. It is defined together with the official method of measurement which is on the basis of locally representative household surveys.
Current estimates of the Index indicate that some 900 million rural dwellers world wide do not have adequate access to the formal transport system. Initial values for more than 30 IDA countries show the overall level of access for their rural population to be 57 percent. Within the IDA group access is worst for the Sub-Saharan Africa countries for which the average RAI is 30 percent. For a selection of non-IDA countries the average value of access is nearly 90 percent.
The preferred measurement of RAI is from household survey results. A draft transport questionnaire module is proposed for new household surveys with estimates of the relatively modest resources required to establish and update the measurement. Alternative methods of measurement and estimating techniques are described in case there is no ready prospect of undertaking a suitable household survey.
The challenges for extending and updating the Index are described, together with the resources which have been developed to tackle these. Links are provided to those resources.
World Bank, Washington D.C., USA. Transport Paper No. TP-10, 49 pp.