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Connections is a weekly series of knowledge notes from the World Bank Group’s Transport & Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Global Practice. It covers projects, experiences, and front-line developments.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 11
  • Publication
    Open Data for Sustainable Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Petrov, Oleg; Gurin, Joel; Manley, Laura
    The “open data” principle is becoming an increasingly important part of the data revolution, which is recognized worldwide as a key engine for achieving the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Open data—publicly available online information that can be used for any purpose at little or no cost—represent one of the most underutilized key assets of modern government. Open data initiatives are often directed at converting open data into formats that can be reused for private sector development, jobs creation, economic growth, and more effective governance and citizen engagement. A 2013 study estimated that using open data in seven sectors of economic activity could create $3 trillion to $5 trillion annually in economic value worldwide. The direct, annual economic value of public governmental data has been estimated at up to €40 billion for the European Union and £2 billion for the United Kingdom. Numerous examples illustrate how the use of open data can give significant support to achieving the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Publication
    Will the Digital Revolution Help or Hurt Employment?: Adaptation a Key to Realizing Job Gains
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-02) Raja, Siddhartha; Ampah, Mavis
    What will technological change deliver in the coming decades? And what can we do to determine the outcome? Technological change in any given society is never smooth and always negotiated. Although both perils and opportunities await, the ultimate result depends on our choices today. Governments, businesses, and individuals have shown that adapting to changing circumstances can alter the consequences of apparently ‘inevitable’ changes. And developing countries can be profoundly affected by changes seemingly limited to the advanced economies; they must adapt to what is actually a global technological playing field. The World Bank’s recently issued World Development Report 2016: digital dividends focuses on strengthening the ‘analog complements’ of the digital economy, including adapting skills to get the most out of the digital revolution. Countries whose governments can facilitate innovation, strengthen education and skill building, and build up the social safety net may be the most likely to benefit from the coming changes.
  • Publication
    ICT at COP21: Enormous Potential to Mitigate Emissions
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-12) Gallegos, Doyle; Narimatsu, Junko
    The transformational potential of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) was on display in Paris at the Twenty-First Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. ICTs, including the Internet, mobile phones, geographic information systems (GIS), satellite imaging, remote sensing, and data analytics, could reduce yearly global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) 20 percent by 2030, thus holding them at their 2015 level. Moreover, ICT emissions are expected to decrease to 1.97 percent of the global total by 2030, from 2.3 percent in 2020, while emission reductions attributable to ICT will be nearly 10 times greater than those of the ICT sector. ICTs are also critical for climate change adaptation, providing vital tools for all phases of the disaster risk management cycle. Although the opportunities for ICTs to support the climate change agenda are enormous, much work remains in order to realize them. Governments of developing countries must be further encouraged to include ICTs in their national climate change policies. And the international development community will have to make significant efforts, particularly in low-income countries, to develop ICT infrastructure as well as the institutional capacities and skills to implement and sustain these solutions.
  • Publication
    Advances and Challenges in 'Intelligent Transportation': The Evolution of ICT to Address Transport Challenges in Developing Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-11) Wang, Winnie; Krishnan, Raman; Diehl, Adam
    Transport efficiency and safety in the advanced economies have long benefited from information and communication technology (ICT). However, these ICT applications have typically been high-cost, customized infrastructure systems. Now the era of the Internet, digital mobile communication, and ‘big data’ analysis has created a new global potential for less costly and more powerful ‘intelligent transport systems’ (ITS). The World Bank is supporting client transport agencies in deploying these new tools, including cloud-based services, open data standards, and smartphone applications, to more efficiently manage transportation assets and improve road safety. In the process, such projects have also demonstrated improvements in the traveler’s experience and the attractiveness of public transit. Moreover, the greater potential of the new technologies to reduce congestion and travel times means that the new era has also strengthened the potential of ITS to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, realizing the potential of ITS in developing countries depends on improvements in assessment practices to find what works best and in the data capabilities of domestic institutions. Significant improvements in these areas are critical to the success of ITS.
  • Publication
    A New Measure of Rural Access to Transport: Using GIS Data to Inform Decisions and Attainment of the SDGs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Iimi, Atsushi
    In rural areas of the developing world, where the majority of the poor live, good transport connectivity through road infrastructure and transport services is an essential part of the enabling environment for sustainable growth. A lack of detailed nationwide data has limited previous efforts to develop measures of access to roads in rural areas that would guide policy and investment. The World Bank, with support from DFID, has been piloting a methodology that exploits advances in digital technology to assess population distribution and infrastructure location and quality. The resulting Rural Access Index (RAI) may serve as a useful and cost effective tool for governments planning their rural transport programs and as an indicator of progress towards the achievement of several of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.
  • Publication
    Advance Funding for Infrastructure PPPs: Cautions from Two Road Projects in Peru
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-03) Kerf, Michel
    Public private partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure projects require substantial initial funding that private operators in developing countries can rarely obtain in the domestic market. In 2005, in the context of two important road projects, the government of Peru introduced a financial innovation with two goals: improve the access of the projects’ concessionaires to the international financial markets and book government support as an operating expense rather than debt. The innovations offered distinct advantages to the concessionaires while imposing a significant burden on the government, which has since stopped using them. Nonetheless, the new approach can still be useful in carefully limited instances to help solve the funding problem.
  • Publication
    Key Pathways to High-Speed Internet in the Middle East and North Africa: Spurring Competition and Building New Networks
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-03) Gelvanovska, Natalija; Rogy, Michel; Rossotto, Carlo Maria
    Most countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are falling behind in their quest to develop high-speed Internet for rapid socioeconomic development. Despite young adults’ rising use of social networking tools and solid progress in a few countries, most of the region’s Internet remains hobbled by monopolized, inadequate infrastructure; weak investment incentives; and high costs. High-speed (broadband) Internet can drive economic and social transformations. To realize that potential, a recent World Bank study finds that MENA countries must pursue a three-pronged approach: reduce costs by fully liberalizing access to the existing Internet infrastructure; support the resulting competition with independent national regulators working within a harmonized regional framework of regulation; and promote investments in new fiber-optic networks and other ultrafast broadband infrastructure (including Long-Term Evolution or LTE) alongside existing technologies. With these measures, plus aggressive strategies for sharing public works infrastructure and subsidies for rural access, MENA can leapfrog its current information and communication bottlenecks.
  • Publication
    Boosting Mass Transit through Entrepreneurship: Going beyond Subsidies to Reduce the Public Transport Funding Gap
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-02) Pulido, Daniel; Portabales, Irene
    Most of the world’s urban mass transit systems cannot cover operating costs, let alone capital expenses, through farebox revenues. On average, 25 percent of metro operating expenditures are not funded by farebox income. With limited public subsidies, as well as obstacles to raising fares and political sensitivities to road user taxes, metro systems have been increasingly pursuing income from commercial activities connected with their operations. Metro systems earn commercial income, such as from advertising, naming rights, and especially real estate activities, are making inroads in their operating deficits. Commercial revenue in some systems is nearing 20 percent of fare revenue. Although reforms of transit financing structures remain high on the policy agenda, a review of ancillary income streams of metro systems around the world shows that a more entrepreneurial approach to tapping their commercial potential can help them narrow their funding gap.
  • Publication
    Mapping Manila Transit: A New Approach to Solving Old Challenges
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-01) Krambeck, Holly
    Whether they attempt to build jeepney stops, expand transit access, or improve bus routes, transit projects across much of the developing world are often hampered by (1) the lack of accurate transit maps and data and (2) the weak capacity of transit agencies to acquire and use such data. To address the twin aspects of this long-standing challenge, the World Bank, in collaboration with the Philippines and Australian Aid, developed both a methodology and a suite of open-source software applications based on free, internationally supported open data standards. The solutions have allowed the quick, low-cost production of transit maps; and they have empowered the agencies, and potentially businesses and the rest of government, for the first time to make ambitious planning and investment decisions based on accurate, comprehensive transit data. The global applicability of this approach has been demonstrated by its adoption in six other developing countries to date.
  • Publication
    Keys to Attracting Private Capital for Railway Development
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-01) Lawrence, Martha
    Two of the largest railway systems in the world, China’s and India’s, have intensified their focus on the private sector as an indispensable source of capital to help them enlarge their rail capacity. They will find promising options if they recognize the common characteristics of successful efforts, both in their railways and elsewhere: profitability, manageable risks shared appropriately, and shared gains. Even unprofitable rail activities, such as commuter transit, can attract private capital if adequate public subsidies are in place.