Road Development and Maintenance Is Crucial for Developing Nations

Road Development and Maintenance Is Crucial for Developing Nations

In GreenPave™, Soil Stabilization, Unpaved Roads by Frank Elswick

Repairing and building new unpaved roadways can alleviate health issues and greatly improve quality of life in developing nations.

Access to running water, effective sewage systems, and reliable electricity are considered basic requirements for citizens in developed nations around the world. Unfortunately, very little progress has been made on these fronts in many developing countries. Impoverished citizens lack the means to lobby for infrastructural developments, and local governments have yet to satisfy the essential needs of their poorest constituents.

Roads in disrepair are a particularly pressing issue for these citizens and communities. Pockets of economic development in these countries has caused an increase in the number of cars on the roads — roads that weren’t designed with contemporary vehicles in mind. Many of these unpaved roadways flood easily and lack a modernized design that accounts for and helps to regulate traffic flow. As a result, the number of vehicle-related injuries and deaths has risen in nations without established road networks.

The Toll of Neglected Roads

According to the World Health Organization, 1.25 million people were killed in automobile accidents in 2013, with 20-50 million more people suffering non-fatal injuries. More than 90% of traffic-related deaths occur in low-income countries, and in those countries, vehicular incidents are the second-most frequent cause of death. The WHO refers to those traffic-related injuries and fatalities as “a neglected epidemic.”

Effective unpaved road development and maintenance in these low-income areas could help to prevent the vast majority of these injuries and fatalities. The WHO has laid out an intervention plan for countries seeking to develop their roads, highlighting the danger of roads use by a wide variety of vehicles and providing details on how to develop intentionally designed road systems that accommodate the needs of today’s motorists.

Benefits Beyond Health and Safety

Between 2006 and 2009, Poverty Action Lab partnered with the government in Acayucan, Mexico, to conduct a study to determine the potential impacts of proper road development. It proved that the benefits of well-maintained roads go far beyond human health and safety. Property values around developed roads were 17% higher than similar properties near undeveloped roads, and construction costs were almost equal to the increase in property value.

Those living in households near well-maintained roads invested more in appliances and vehicles, and they were more likely to take out formal, collateralized loans. These homeowners also took out larger loans than those who owned homes connected to undeveloped roads, signaling the potential increase in prosperity that greater attention to infrastructural maintenance can yield.

Overall, the project was seen as a favorable endeavor for the local government, yielding a benefits-to-cost ratio of 1.09. As the study concluded, proper road development is a cost-effective way of improving both living and economic conditions for citizens of developing nations.

Finding the Right Solutions

At Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. we recognize the importance of building and maintaining roads — that’s why we’ve developed a patented suite of proven natural paving and soil stabilization products and application programs. Our GreenPave® technology ensures maximum surface strength and extends the useful life of the roadbed. And our polymer emulsion Soil-Sement® Engineered Formula can be used to create an impenetrable, durable surface with superior compressive strength. It forms a 7-to-25 centimeter road layer to resist shifting, breaking up, and sink failures.

With these products and a team of field experts on hand, Midwest is here to help communities in developing nations maintain their infrastructures and build their economies with our environmentally friendly and cost-effective road building products and solutions.

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.