Transport and urban infrastructure projects are essential building blocks for improving social outcomes, writes Mott MacDonald consultant Farook Chowdhury.
A new road or bridge represents far more than a quicker way for people to get from A to B.
Improved transport connections are routes to prosperity for areas of poverty, creating economic corridors and helping to rebalance economic growth.
This is especially true in developing countries. This is what shapes our thinking when we plan and design transport schemes. We don’t build roads for roads’ sake. Our thinking goes further. We look at how connectivity can alleviate poverty, reduce inequality, and bring other social and economic benefits.
Improved mobility will help people of all ages to travel more efficiently, more quickly, and give farmers in rural areas greater access to markets in towns and cities.
With more than half of the world’s population living in cities and urbanisation advancing rapidly, our approach to urban development places priority on improved resiliency and sustainability, healthier lifestyles, and better provision of essential services to all income groups, particularly the poor.
Inclusivity is high priority
If infrastructure schemes are to bring wider economic and social benefits, they have to be inclusive. This is why we pay particular attention to women, indigenous communities and marginalised groups to learn how we can improve their lives.
We conduct in-depth surveys and collect vast amounts of data to understand the issues faced by the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society.
We invite them to participate in workshops and focus groups. The findings from our public consultations heavily influence the final designs we put forward.
This ensures the business objectives of a project are aligned with the development goals of the local people.
Having a shared vision results in an economic return for both investors and the community.
We believe the impact of any investment in infrastructure should not be measured purely in financial terms. Its full value will only be realised if you consider all the human, societal and environmental benefits it brings.