Safe and sustainable transport for rural communities
Safe and sustainable transport for rural communities

Rural Access is Vital

Transport is fundamental to economic growth and the delivery of basic services. Low volume roads are the principal form of transport in the rural parts of most low-income countries. People require access to reach basic services and all kinds of economic and social opportunities. However, an estimated one billion people live further than 2 km from an all-season road. Isolated communities are often left behind in development.

The overall objective of the UK aid-funded Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) is to improve accessibility of the rural poor in Africa and Asia to economic opportunities and social facilities through improvements to infrastructure and transport. The immediate focus is on strengthening the evidence base on more cost effective and reliable low volume road and transport services approaches, thereby influencing policy and practice. ReCAP focuses its activities on Africa and Asia, through the Africa (AfCAP) and Asia (AsCAP) Community Access Partnerships respectively, and builds on previous UK aid-funded research programmes. 

Rural Access is Vital

AFCAP1 (2008-2014)

The current phase of the Africa Community Access Partnership builds on AFCAP1, which ran from 2008 till 2014. Over these six years, AFCAP1 focused on raising the profile of research in participating countries through construction of trial sections using innovative design approaches and locally-available materials to provide safe, cost-effective and sustainable access for rural communities. The successful outcome of the programme has resulted from the demand-driven process of identification, prioritisation and implementation of research projects, combined with dissemination of outputs, training and knowledge sharing. This partnership with African governments and the private sector led to a high degree of research uptake and embedment in national guidelines, manuals and standards.

Key research outcomes of AFCAP 1 include:

  • Development of a suite of manuals for the design and maintenance of low-volume roads in Ethiopia, to enable linking sub-district centres with district centres through improved all-weather roads;

  • Review and monitoring of road sections built, culminating in the development of a new pavement design manual for low-volume sealed roads in Malawi;

  • Design and construction of trial sections in Kenya using the Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP-DN) pavement design methodology; 

  • Institutional arrangements to establish national research centres in partner countries;

  • ​Research into rural transport services for older people in the Kibaha District, Tanzania.

All AFCAP1 research outputs can be found in the Rural Access Library.

SEACAP (2004-2009)

Under the UK aid funded South East Asia Community Access Programme (SEACAP), which ran from 2004 till 2009, applied research activities were undertaken in Viet Nam, Lao PDR and Cambodia. The objective of the programme was to enhance the sustainable access for rural communities, hence contributing to pro-poor growth. The research built on earlier initiatives to support the governments of Viet Nam and Cambodia in improving their practice to design, construct and maintain their rural road networks. Much of the research commissioned under SEACAP was focused around the performance analysis both of existing rural roads and specially constructed trial sections and the consequent dissemination of the outcomes. 

Key outputs from SEACAP were:

  • Guidance on low volume road standards and technical specifications;

  • Guidance on low cost slope protection;

  • Training materials associated with the above.​

All SEACAP research outputs can be found in the Rural Access Library​

Other programmes

Previous FCDO funded initiatives addressing rural roads infrastructure and transport services that AFCAP and ASCAP build on:

  • The global Transport Knowledge Partnership (gTKP): a project aimed to accumulate and disseminate sustainable transport knowledge through various means to practitioners & transport researchers in developing and transition economies. 

  • Transport Links: hosted by the Transport Research Laboratory, an initiative to share transport research publications produced under FCDO's Knowledge and Research (KaR) programme, focusing on road related research in developing countries.

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