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Impacts of Rural Roads and Waterways under Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II)

Investment in rural infrastructure is usually claimed to be pro-poor because it creates opportunities for economic growth and poverty reduction through a range of mechanisms like agricultural production, higher wages, lower transportation costs, and higher output prices  (Khandker et. al, 2004). Apparently, it provides higher returns to the poor than to the non-poor. It can also create employment opportunities for rural workers  (Ashe & Novosad, 2020) and influence long-term infrastructure investments like banks and financial institutions in a village or a community. 

Against these backdrops, the Second Rural Transport Improvement Project (RTIP-II) was implemented by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) with credit from the International Development Association of the World Bank. The aim was to reduce rural poverty and stimulate the economic development of rural communities through rural accessibility in project areas. About 494 km of upazila roads, 434 km of union roads, 4078 km of road rehabilitation, 46.90 km of rural waterways, 37 ghats, and 10 river jetties were completed in the 26 project districts of which two districts are located in the west and the rest 24 in the east of the Jamuna River.

The baseline survey was conducted in 2016 on the RTIP-II project and control areas collecting primary data on six types of beneficiaries: households, communities, businesses/shops, markets/growth centers, transport owners, and transport users. A total data of 8,000 households across 200 roads (100 union roads and 100 upazila roads) and 2000 households across 26 km of the waterways in villages within 0-2 km of these roads/waterways were collected to understand the impact of the project. In addition to this, the community survey collected data on 400 villages in the case of roads and 33 villages in the case of waterways.

Therefore, the primary objective of the impact evaluation of the RTIP-II is to acquire the endline socio-economic data and compare them with the baseline data collected before intervention. The baseline data will serve as benchmarks against which changes/results/impacts would be measured and evaluated using verifiable indicators as specified in the results framework. 

The major objectives of the Second RTIP-II study, 2022 are: 

 To collect the endline data and assess the impacts of rural roads and waterways improved under the Second Rural Transport Improvement Project;

 To assess contributions of rural roads towards poverty reduction, employment, income, health, education, and achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);

 To prepare analytical evaluation reports.

The main purpose of an impact evaluation is to correctly identify and measure the causal effects of an intervention and its outcomes. In order to isolate and assess these effects, it is necessary to determine what would have happened in the absence of the program or what one could call the program’s counterfactual. For this assessment, two groups are identified: (i) Treatment Group – a representative sub-sample of the roads and waterways that received the intervention; and (ii) Control Group – a representative sub-sample of the roads and waterways that were not intervened. The baseline results suggest that the groups are ex ante identical. In other words, beneficiaries in each group were assigned randomly to ensure comparability between the control group and the treatment group. As the groups are equally affected by observable factors, the difference-in-difference between the two groups that would sweep out the unobservable factors is the result of the implementation of the program.

The IE will follow a mixed-method approach in data collection and analysis. Different levels of quantitative and qualitative data will be collected during the endline survey. The survey(s) will include various categories of beneficiaries of the project. The qualitative data will be used to explain the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the quantitative findings. In general, the endline data will help triangulate/verify the findings of baseline survey in addition to producing its own results.

Team: Dr. Mohammad Yunus (Team Leader), Dr. Md. Abdur Rahman Forhad, Dr. Md. Nazmul Hoque, Dr. Taznoore Samina Khanam, Ms. Kashfi Rayan, and Ms. Rizwana Islam.

Duration: May 2022 to October 2022

Sponsor: Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Government of Bangladesh

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