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Transport

Want to bring transit-oriented development to your city? There’s a toolkit for that!

Gerald Ollivier's picture
 

Let’s say you are a transport specialist or an urban planner who wants to implement a transit-oriented development plan, because you know that TOD, as a planning and design strategy, can help transform your city.

TOD, as an urban development approach, concentrates high-density development and economic clusters around rapid transit stations. Concentrating housing and activities such as jobs, within a 5 to 10-minute walking distance from these stations encourages more people to take public transport and reduces the need for motorized trips. In addition, if done well, TOD enhances universal accessibility and the quality of public space while offering green and efficient urban mobility options.

Although these all sound attractive for you to implement your plan, you need to convince others, including the city officials you are working with. How do you do that?

Supporting Vietnam’s economic success through greener, cheaper, and more efficient trucking

Yin Yin Lam's picture


Vietnam has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with annual GDP growth averaging 5 to 8% over the last few decades. These impressive numbers are largely related to the country’s success in manufacturing and trading, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty.

The trucking industry has played a crucial role in the country’s economic transformation, and currently moves 77% of the total freight-ton volume. Although in 2018, Vietnam jumped from 64th to rank 39th in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index—many challenges persist.

At 21% of GDP, logistics costs are a serious pain point that has been stifling the competitiveness of Vietnam’s exports.

The environmental impact of the sector represents another important concern. The Vietnamese fleet comprises mostly small and older trucks, with a significant impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and traffic congestion. Overall, the transport sector accounts for about 10% of GHG emissions in the country.

To address these issues, our team conducted the first-ever comprehensive study of Vietnam’s trucking sector, which drew on a nationwide survey of more than 1,400 truck drivers, interviews with 150 private and public stakeholders, and a detailed review of the key factors influencing logistics costs and emissions.
 

Taking digital banking services to remote villages in north eastern India

Priti Kumar's picture
Ang Dolma Sherpa, an expert carpet weaver in West Sikkim is one of the 200-300 women weavers in the region who are benefiting from the project’s interventions
Ang Dolma Sherpa, an expert carpet weaver in West Sikkim is one of the 200-300 women weavers in the region who are benefiting from the project’s interventions. Photo: World Bank

Until six months ago, people in the remote corners of India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim had to travel long distances over the hillsides to do simple banking transactions.

When they did reach a bank, it was usually overcrowded and understaffed. This made it difficult for rural folk, unfamiliar with formal financial systems to deposit or withdraw money, let alone borrow to meet their needs.
 
Now change is in the air. Ever since the North East Rural Livelihoods Project (NERLP) - supported by the World Bank - helped banks in Sikkim’s western and southern districts engage local women self-help group (SHG) members as their business correspondents, people in these distant parts have been able to bank at their doorsteps.
 
While the concept is not new in India, the two correspondents - one for each district - have proved to be nothing short of a miracle for this far-flung region. They have fanned out across mountain villages, equipped with palm-sized micro-ATMs, biometric readers, and internet-connected thermal printers. Villagers can now deposit their money easily, earn interest, and withdraw whenever needed.
 
In the six months since the correspondents were first introduced, business has soared. “In November 2018, when we first began, I did about 160 transactions worth Rs.1.2 million. As awareness has grown, this has risen steadily, and in March 2019 I did over 260 transactions worth Rs. 2.4 million,” explained Lila Shilal, business correspondent for the IDBI Bank in West Sikkim’s Jorethang block.
 
Shilal has also benefitted in the process. She has started earning more than Rs.10,000 a month from the bank in transaction fees and commission and has used the amount to set herself up as an entrepreneur.
 
The project has introduced another financial service as well, this time at the bank itself. Here, bank sakhis - or female banker friends – help village folk and SHG members fill out forms and apply for loans.
 
This new cadre of women business correspondents and bank sakhis has not only benefitted local communities and given SHG members a new livelihood opportunity, it has also made life simpler for the region’s bankers.

Humans of Field Work

Florence Kondylis's picture

Enumerators play a crucial role in the success of field-based impact evaluations. Despite the central role they play in the research process, enumerators are rarely in the spotlight. We recently interviewed a few Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) enumerators working with us on a high-frequency market survey in Rwanda in the context of a rural feeder road upgrading project.

Chongqing 2035: Shifting away from quantity to quality to build sustainable cities in China

Xueman Wang's picture

Urban architecture and skyline of Chongqing, China. (Photo: 4045 / iStock)

​Chongqing, the largest municipality in China, is investing in sustainable urban growth.

As China transitions from pursuing high-speed growth at any cost to a growth model that focuses on sustainability, inclusivity, and efficiency, cities like Chongqing are a critical part of this new urbanization strategy.

How to Implicit Association Test?

Florence Kondylis's picture

How to do Implicit Association Test?
Implicit Association Tests (IATs) are being increasingly used in applied micro papers. While IATs can be found off-the-shelf, designing your own IAT may allow you to get at respondents’ implicit attitudes towards something more contextual. We added a custom IAT to a survey of commuters in Rio de Janeiro, and here we'll go over the practical steps involved. For our project, we wanted to measure male and female commuters’ implicit attitudes towards women riding the subway on the co-ed car relative to women riding the women’s-only car. The idea was to quantify the stigma women may face for not using gender-segregated spaces.

Cities for the people

Abhas Jha's picture
Singapore Chinatown - Lois Goh / World Bank

Overcrowded, dirty, and disorderly cities undermine residents’ health as much as their happiness. With urbanization occurring at an unprecedented rate, there is an urgent need for careful planning, collaboration, communication, and consensus.

SINGAPORE – Dante’s Divine Comedy describes one level of hell (the City of Dis) as“Satan’s wretched city … full of distress and torment terrible.” He could well have been describing many modern-day metropolises.

The world, especially Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, is experiencing a massive wave of urbanization. And yet it is occurring largely in the absence of urban planning, with even those municipalities that attempt to create plans often failing to enforce them effectively or account properly for the needs of the majority. The result is overcrowded, dirty, and disorderly cities that undermine residents’ health and happiness.

Why does people-centric design matter for sustainable cities?

Gerald Ollivier's picture
 


By 2050, urbanization – combined with the overall growth of the world’s population – could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050. Close to 90% of this increase will take place in Asia and Africa. While this bodes well for economic agglomerations, many cities are constrained by livability.  Pressure on land resources and urban space is immense in Asia and Africa, with high population densities, leading to congestion, low-quality urban environment, pollution, and low safety.

The core long-term solution to such challenges requires land use and physical planning at different scales, from the national level to the metropolitan, city, neighborhood, and all the way down to the street level. Such an approach can ensure a functioning labor market where a maximum number of jobs can be reached by all citizens, while creating inclusive, livable, and vibrant urban areas.

Two approaches to building sustainable cities

What’s behind South Asia’s low exports?

Hans Timmer's picture
South Asian countries’ exports are only one-third of what they should be, had they mirrored the experience of economies with similar characteristics. Without further integration into global markets, South Asia will not sustain its growth. Photo: Shutterstock 

This blog highlights the findings from the recent South Asia Economic Focus: Exports Wanted

Bela Balassa worked for the World Bank from 1966 till his death in 1991. Luckily, his insights on international integration, revealed comparative advantages, trade diversion, and natural progress toward political integration have outlived him.

And what Bela is best-known for—and rightfully so—is the Balassa-Samuelson effect.

Put simply, this effect explains why a haircut or a restaurant meal is much cheaper in poor countries than in rich countries whereas the price tag for a car or a television is almost the same everywhere.

What’s behind this phenomenon is simple and can be summed up in three parts.

First, international competition equalizes the price of tradable goods like televisions across countries.

Second, the prices of non-tradable goods like haircuts can differ.

And third, the difference in productivity across countries is much more significant in tradable goods than in non-tradable goods. For example, a barber in Dhaka needs roughly the same amount of time as a barber in New York to cut my hair.

But manufacturers or farmers in Nepal need more labor to produce the same output than their counterparts in Germany.

Countries tend to be poor because their level of productivity in tradable goods is low.  

Paving the way for better lives in Bangladesh: A human capital story

Muneeza Mehmood Alam's picture
Bangladesh: Better roads for Better Lives

After improvements were made to a local road, Swapna Akhter, a Community Woman in Kalmakanda, Netrokona, can take patients more conveniently to the nearby hospital. Similarly, Ibrahim Talukder, Chairman of a Union Parishad in Fatikchari, Chittagong, has found that the cost of getting to the local health complex has substantially reduced after the paving of a local road.  

These stories demonstrate the intrinsic link between transport and human capital development. This connection is perhaps most obvious in rural areas, where improved mobility has transformed countless lives by unlocking economic opportunities and expanding access to essential services like healthcare or education.

The ongoing Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II) in Bangladesh is a case in point. We talked to several beneficiaries of the project—which supports road expansion and upgrading, and rural market development in 26 districts across the country, and the dredging of local waterways on a pilot basis—to understand how better connectivity had impacted their lives.

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