ADB launches first Asian Transport Outlook data

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Train snakes through trees

New data to help investment decisions in the Asia transport sector.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has released significant new data designed to help investment decisions across the continent by improving analysis of the significant challenges faced by many countries.

This initial data already demonstrates the extremely diverse nature of Asian infrastructure status. Singapore scores a full 100 on the infrastructure adequacy index, suggesting it has no notable new infrastructure needs. Papua New Guinea on the other hand scores just 17 and Solomon Islands scores as low as eight.

26 countries score 25 or lower for roads adequacy – which suggests immediate investment is needed to avoid severely restricting their economic growth prospects.

In just the last three years the ADB has invested in projects with combined annual commitments in excess of $5bn and the data is being published so that all other investors can analyse it and invest well too.

More data to come

This first batch of data is made up of 234 indicators and has been added to the ADB’s new regional knowledge platform to guide sustainable transport development in Asia and the Pacific, but it won’t be stopping there. Created in November 2020, the Asian Transport Outlook (ATO) is not only intended to help strengthen decision-making in infrastructure but also to understand how it can be achieved sustainably with the most beneficial environmental and social impact.

Speaking about the start of this project, ADB vice-president for knowledge management and sustainable development, Bambang Susantono, said: “This first batch of information reminds us of the challenges faced by economies in Asia and the Pacific in developing the transport sector as they start to look at the period beyond Covid-19. We are now getting data that details the shortages in transport infrastructure and transport services experienced by ADB members. This will help ADB, its member governments, and other stakeholders to build back the transport sector in Asia and the Pacific in a more sustainable manner in the coming years.”

New data will be added over time and, once complete, it is expected that the ATO will bring together more than 400 datasets on every country in the region. This will include statistical information on infrastructure coverage, density and environmental impact, as well as gender access and rural connectivity so that underserved groups can be better targeted for improvement.

The project has been developed with the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT) to help progress infrastructure in line with the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

SLOCAT secretary general Maruxa Cardema explained: “The ATO will help ADB and SLOCAT in mobilising the transport community in support of evidence-based action on transport in Asia. The coming years will be decisive in determining whether we are meeting the objectives of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. The manner in which the transport sector in Asia develops is key for both processes and the ATO will tell us whether we are on track.” 

You can access all the data released in this first batch for your own analysis here: ATO.