I worked as a consultant on the planning and appraisal and evaluation of projects in many countries for some forty years. Specializing initially in cost-benefit analyses of diverse public sector investments I concentrated progressively on the transport sector, becoming increasingly specialized in rural transport in poor countries. Observing the futility of many of the rural road investments of that time I chose to work towards the broader goal of making rural services more accessible to users by integrating the many sectors involved in rural infrastructure provision. Remember that roads are simply a means, among others, to make people more mobile. Whether this mobility will facilitate access to wells, clinics, schools or markets must be critically assessed. Maybe people, especially the poor, cannot afford to use them. Perhaps building services closer to their users would be better. This site explores how to take these factors into account and hopefully lead to better informed decisions.
When this site was designed sixteen years ago these obvious truths were frequently ignored. Roads were often seen as an end in themselves and too much attention was given to constructing them to high technical standards inappropriate for small numbers of motor vehicles. Now I am glad to say that perceptions are slowly changing. I hope this site has contributed.
My work and also, I admit, my life-long affection for cars, dating from the hours sitting behind the wheel in the the family’s’ garage-bound 1935 Austin Seven , grounded by war restrictions on private motoring, also led me to an interest in the history of roads and road transport which I felt could have some pertinence. A good slice of the site has been kidnapped by this subject.