The Rural Access Index (RAI) was developed by the World Bank in 2006, and is one of the most important global development indicators in the transport sector. The RAI is defined as the “proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road”.
The original 2006 methodology was based on household surveys. In 2016, the World Bank partnered with the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom and the Research for Community Access Partnership (ReCAP) to develop a new methodology. The 2016 World Bank methodology took advantage of geospatial techniques and data collected using innovative technologies, and was designed to be sustainable, consistent, simple, and operationally relevant. The RAI was adopted as UN SDG Indicator 9.1.1. in 2016, and the World Bank is custodian of that indicator.
TRL under a separate ReCAP project in 2019 has developed Supplemental Guidelines to the World Bank methodology providing additional detailed guidance for calculation of the RAI.
The Supplementary Guidelines developed by TRL are available at this link.
The goal of this proof of concept application is to demonstrate the potential opportunities and limitations for using open datasets to calculate the RAI score.
For three trial countries in the ReCAP programme (Nepal, Malawi, and Myanmar), country-specific datasets have been used that are regarded as more accurate than the current open datasets. These country-specific datasets have been used to generate RAI scores that should better reflect the RAI scores for those countries. The resulting scores can be visualised on the map.
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