Safe and sustainable transport for rural communities
Safe and sustainable transport for rural communities

ReCAP is a demand-driven programme of research in which partner countries or groups of partner countries will identify research projects to be undertaken.

ReCAP supports workable, high quality, applied research that will assist low-income countries to design, build and maintain all-weather rural roads to poor communities. In close collaboration with existing and newly formed national research centres and local partners, the programme designs and implements a portfolio of research, capacity building and knowledge management initiatives in rural transport.

ReCAP's emphasis is on research uptake and long term sustainability. ReCAP has adopted a cohesive strategy to deliver the project outcome of a strengthened evidence base on more cost effective and reliable low volume rural road and transport services approaches, thereby influencing policy and practice in Africa and Asia.


The research strategy framework is built around three broad, closely inter-related, thematic clusters: infrastructure, transport services and cross-cutting issues.

Low Volume Roads Research

Infrastructure in the research strategy primarily concerns engineering and technical research on rural roads as well as the organisational arrangements for their planning, funding, construction, maintenance and investigation (research, testing). Consideration may be given within this theme cluster to other forms of infrastructure providing community access such as village tracks and river transport facilities where these clearly contribute to the overall programme objective.

The thematic focus for infrastructure research is on:

  1. Sustainable and economical provision of infrastructure

  2. Optimised use of material resources and environment

  3. Effective whole life rural road asset management

  4. Defining, measuring and analysing road access

Rural Transport Services Research

Transport services include all aspects of the provision of both public and private transport services (motorised and non-motorised) in rural areas of Low Income Countries for the movement of both passengers (disaggregated by gender and other attributes) and goods.

The thematic focus for transport services research is on:

  1. Public transport services operation and regulation

  2. Motorcycle taxis and intermediate means of transport

  3. Rural mobility and access to roads

Cross-cutting Issues in Rural Access

A number of crosscutting issues have been identified that concern both infrastructure and transport services. These include building more evidence concerning the need for, and the (quantifiable) benefits of, rural roads and transport services. Climate change, gender issues and road safety are also important research areas that need to be addressed in relation to rural roads and transport services.

Finally, a 'horizon-scanning' theme will encourage proactive research questions that acknowledge the rapidly changing environment in terms of technologies, climate change, governance and security. This theme will include lesson learning between regions at different stages of development in terms of rural transport e.g., between parts of Africa and Asia.

Capacity Building & Knowledge Management

The objective of the ReCAP capacity building activities is to increase local (national) capacity to initiate, carry out and disseminate research and the sustainability of that capacity in the fields of low volume roads and transport services. The type of institutions that are supported are regional and national research centres, universities and private sector organisations. The activities include training and mentoring, technical assistance, secondments and attachments, developing joint research proposals, to mention a few.

ReCAP's knowledge management activities focus on the following main areas:

  • Facilitation of access to knowledge through the development of knowledge portals with up to date research evidence, manuals and guidance, accessible at national, regional and international levels, including plans for their long term sustainability and funding.

  • Promote lessons learning across Africa and Asia through dedicated outreach aimed to increase the involvement of targeted stakeholders and through supporting networks and communities of practice that can facilitate knowledge sharing and enhance research uptake, and become self-supporting over time.

  • Increase the awareness of rural transport issues and benefits at high-level nationally, regionally and internationally such that their ability to influence development policy is strengthened.

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