Time Sequence and Nature of Impacts of Transport
There is no straightforward relation between transport and
economic development as the level of impact and its time
sequence can vary based on a location and its socioeconomic
characteristics. This leads to five potential relationships:
- Weak relationship (1). Although
that transportation supports economic and social activities,
no specific causality can be expressed. This is particularly the
case for infrastructures that have been implemented a while ago
and have become embedded to the regional economy. Their lead role
can no longer be asserted but it does not mean that transportation
is not important as it is still a fundamental component supporting
interactions within the economy.
- Positive / lead impacts (2). Represents the best case
scenario where investments and the presence of infrastructures
triggers economic growth for a region, namely the expansion of production
and consumption. This process commonly takes place when new infrastructures
are built to access resources or new markets, which then triggers
a wave of investments.
- Lag and positive impacts (3). The development of transport
infrastructures follows economic development.
A good example would be fast paced growth, as seen in Pacific
Asia (notably China), where investments in transport infrastructure
do not keep up with the substantial growth of the traffic generated
by rising mobility and new globally linked manufacturing functions. Such a situation
could eventually impair future growth prospects as the existing
infrastructure is no longer able to satisfy the demand.
- Lead and negative impacts (4). Commonly
involves infrastructure investments made with the expectation of triggering development, but failing to
meet those expectations. Many negative outcomes of such strategies
have been observed. For instance infrastructure can
be built at great cost, while they fail to generate significant
leaving the community with a substantial debt that cannot be recovered
and that will drain regional wealth. On the other hand,
transportation could generate traffic, but the new accessibility
benefits external economies with improved access to the
regional market. Local resources, either physical (commodities) or human (emigration),
can also be "drained" away by transport improvements.
- Lag and negative effect (5). Represents the worst case scenario
where in addition
to the negative consequences of transportation investments on the
economy (drain on resources), these investments are occurring after the downward spiral
began and may even accelerate the process.