Aims and research priorities

The High Volume Transport (HVT) Applied Research Programme funded with UK Aid by the UK Government focuses on delivering transport research for the socio-economic development of low-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The programme aims at helping these countries develop a safer, greener, more affordable, accessible and inclusive transport, considered as a fundamental component to reduce poverty and develop economies. Research and investments in the transport sector are key to improving accessibility to workplaces, schools, hospitals, rural health centres, markets and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Lack of applicable evidence and up-to-date research is one of the main issues hindering transport investments in low-income countries. In fact, the evidence base for huge investment decisions in those countries is often scarse, inadequate and out of date. The transport sector in developing countries is characterised by many complex, inter-related and challenging factors that need to be analysed and addressed in order to suggest effective interventions.

The HVT programme is working to provide new knowledge about sustainable transport to assist African and Asian countries. High Volume Transport aims to close the transport research gap characterising low-income countries to help them develop strategic, cost-effective and safe freight transport and transport services. Moreover, the HVT programme is particularly engaged in the provision and dissemination of inclusive and environmentally sustainable research to improve transport policies as well as new engineering and technical solutions.

HVT works on six priority research areas:

  • Climate mitigation and adaptation
  • Inclusion, gender and road safety
  • Policy and regulations
  • Technology and innovation
  • Fragile and conflict-affected states
  • Research uptake and capacity building

A new research priority named COVID-19 Action has been added to the initial list after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. High Volume Transport is currently funding research to support the response to COVID-19 related to transport systems in low-income countries. To do so, the programme is working with several international institutions including the International Road Federation (IRF).

HVT research strategy

A fundamental part of the High Volume Transport research projects is stakeholders' engagement. In order to develop effective research studies and support the adequate uptake of their outcomes, the HVT follows a specific research cycle. The HVT Programme Management Unity is responsible for the involvement of the relevant stakeholders for every stage of the research cycle. Not only are stakeholders engaged in the identification of the main objectives for each stage but they also receive guidance in terms of the necessary knowledge, information and actions that key audiences need to put into practice to benefit from successful research applications.  Research Suppliers are also an active part of the research cycle as they transfer the information provided by the stakeholders and the desired responses into the development of communication and engagement strategies.

The HVT website offers more details and a graphic representation of the cycle in the HVT research cycle section.

The HVT cycle is characterised by four stages:

  • Identify Research Needs
  • Conduct Research
  • Apply Research
  • Evaluate Research Impact

Each of these stages follows four steps:

  • Set overall objectives
  • Identify stakeholders
  • Determine desired responses
  • Develop strategy for communication and engagement

The HVT Knowledge Centre on the HVT Website hosts a number a valuable knowledge resources.