Evidence of the Impact of Rural Road Investment on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development

1st July 2019
Author: John Hine, Manu Sasidharan, Michael Burrow, Torbaghan Mehran Eskandari, Usman Kristianto

This report provides a rapid review of some of the recently published evidence of the impact of such investment. This rapid evidence based assessment builds on the more thorough systematic review conducted by Hine et al. (2016) which found that published studies in general demonstrated a strong link between good access and indicators of socio- economic benefit. The findings of this rapid review confirm the earlier findings by Hine et al. (2016) and demonstrate positive impacts associated with increased income, poverty reduction, employment, agricultural output and sales, education, health, traffic volumes, transport services, transport costs and general economic indicators. In a number of the recent studies it was found that rural road investment encouraged structural transformations of villages by facilitating non-farm employment and enabling migration to urban areas. However, this did not necessarily translate into substantial increases in incomes. With increased interest in climate change a small but growing body of literature outlines the potential negative impacts of roads on forest cover and biodiversity, although it depends on the local context and type of road.

Suggested Citation

Hine, J, Sasidharan, M., Eskandari Torbaghan, M., Burrow, M. P. N. and Usman, K. (2019). Evidence on impact of rural roads on poverty and economic development. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies


1st July 2019


Continent: Global