This Overseas Road Note provides guidance on incorporating social development concerns into rural transport appraisal. Rural transport investment has an important role to play in the eradication of poverty and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, traffic levels are very low, and the sum of ‘conventional’ economic benefits (such as improved vehicle productivity and time savings) is unlikely to justify road investment, making the inclusion of social benefits necessary if appropriate investment decisions are to be made. However social benefits do not lend themselves easily to economic quantification in the same way as more ‘conventional’ road benefits. This ORN addresses these issues; it identifies the nature of social benefits, how they can be measured using indicators, and how they can be included in the appraisal process for rural transport. A software ‘add-on’ to include social benefits with HDM4 is also described. The document also emphasises the need for the participatory inclusion of the end-users of rural roads and transport services – rural communities. The document is primarily targeted at those engaged in the appraisal of roads, but it will also be of value to other stakeholders who should be involved in the process of road-fund allocation.

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