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Robin Workman
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General, Finances & Economics, Governance
Africa (AFR)
All Countries

Using High-tech Solutions and Remote Sensing to Increase Knowledge on the Extent and Condition of Rural Road Network (Presentation 729)

Many Low Income Countries (LICs) have limited data on the extent of their rural road network and its condition. A lack of resources restricts their ability to fully establish an inventory of their road assets. Without a full and current inventory, objective budgeting and prioritisation of maintenance is almost impossible, resulting in neglect and deterioration. Restricted access, inappropriate transport services and continued rural poverty are the consequence.
Remote sensing and high-tech solutions can assist in providing knowledge of road networks (Schnebele E. et al, 2015). This paper draws its evidence from a project designed to look towards the future of road management in Africa and explore different and innovative cost-effective solutions to well established problems. The two main aspects of the project are to consider high-tech solutions to increase knowledge of rural road networks, and to develop a methodology and guideline for the assessment of road condition using high resolution satellite imagery. 
This paper will focus on the second aspect, to assess road condition from satellite imagery, although the high tech solutions considered in the first aspect also play a part in the final recommendations. An initial study was carried out in Nigeria in 2013/14 (Workman R. 2015), which was designed to test the feasibility of rapidly assessing rural roads over large areas that were inaccessible due to conflict and/or remoteness. The results were encouraging and led to the implementation of the present project, which has four participating countries; Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. 
These countries were selected because they have very different climates, geography, levels of vegetation cover and rainfall, which provides the necessary range of conditions in which to test the methodology. A key aspect is to assess the cost effectiveness and sustainability of the system, and how it can be designed to be easily used and replicated by local institutions.