Numerous studies document the importance of access to rural development. Poverty alleviation studies also document the relationship between access and the extent of poverty. Rural roads constitute the main inter-village roads of the formal local road network and the community roads, tracks and paths that link villages. The latter are often unclassified and the total distance is unknown. In many countries, the rural network constitutes about 70% of the total road network.
The size of the rural network makes the financing of rural construction and maintenance a major component of the total road finance requirements. One way of containing costs is to build roads according to current/near term traffic using construction methods that minimise maintenance costs. Another way is to divide responsibility: those roads that distribute goods to/from rural markets are maintained as part of the national transport delivery system and those that are farm to market centre fall under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture and locality.
- Raballand, Macchi and Petracco, Rural Road Investment Efficiency - Lessons from Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Uganda, The World Bank, 2010.
- Rwebangira, T "Rural Roads Stimulants of Economic Development", May 18, 2005.
- The World Bank, "Rural Finance Innovations: Topics and Case Study", April 2005.
- Plessis-Fraissard, M "Planning Roads for Rural Communities: World Bank Approach", June 25, 2007