Evaluation of rural roads construction alternatives according to seasonal service accessibility improvement using a novel multi-modal cost-distance model: a study in Nepal’s remote and mountainous Karnali province

Robert Banick*, Andries Heyns, Suraj Regmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Transport and economic geographers’s accessibility models provide nuanced descriptions of accessibility gains to investments in structured environments but struggle to accurately reflect the complexity mobility constraints in rural, mountainous areas of the developing world. This forces planners in such contexts to employ cruder measures of accessibility gains to each road, particularly where large collections of feeder roads inflate data collection expenses. To address this disconnect we develop a scalable method for evaluating the cost-efficiency of rural roads investments based on seasonal accessibility improvements to specified services. Accessibility improvements are measured using road-specific multi-modal cost-distance models, incorporating
terrain, seasonal effects, and extensive off-network walking travel. Using our models, we estimate and compare accessibility improvements for a large collection of proposed rural feeder roads in a case study of Nepal’s remote, mountainous Karnali province. The developed model and workflow can be adapted to compare accessibility gains from roads or other investments in equivalently rugged, remote, and data-poor environments, opening the door to more rigorous accounting of accessibility in a traditionally neglected context.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Transport Geography
ISSN0966-6923
Publication statusSubmitted - 27.08.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed

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