Sector Results and Learning:
Transportation

This Transportation Sector Results and Learning page is a repository of evidence generated by all MCC-funded transportation interventions. To promote learning and inform future program design, this page captures monitoring data from key common indicators, showcases recent and relevant evaluations, includes all agency lessons from completed transportation evaluations to-date, and links to learning that has been aggregated across completed evaluations in the sector.

What Do We Invest In?

MCC has funded $3.1 billion in transportation interventions as of March 2022. These interventions fall into the following categories: transportation infrastructure; management, funding, operations and maintenance assistance; and transportation policy, regulatory, planning, financing and institutional development assistance.

Transport Infrastructure

These programs focus on the upgrading, improvement, rehabilitation and maintenance of transportation infrastructure such as roads, ports and airports to reduce transportation costs.

Management, Funding, Operations and Maintenance Assistance

These programs focus on building the capacity of local transportation public agencies/institutions to increase funding sources and cost-effectively manage, operate and maintain transportation systems.

Transport Policy, Regulatory, Planning, Financing and Institutional Development Assistance

These programs focus on building the capacity of local transportation public agencies/institutions to set policies and build planning and implementation capacities to keep transportation costs low.

What Have We Completed So Far?

MCC and its country partners develop and tailor Monitoring and Evaluation Plans for each program and country context. Within these country-specific plans, MCC uses common indicators to standardize measurement and reporting within certain sectors. See below for a subset of common indicators that summarize implementation achievements across all MCC transportation investments as of March 2022.

3,035

kilometers of roads completed

52,472

temporary jobs created in road construction

What Have We Achieved?

MCC commissions independent evaluations, conducted by third-party evaluators, for every project it funds. These evaluations hold MCC and country partners accountable for the achievement of intended results and also produce evidence and learning to inform future programming. They investigate the quality of project implementation, the achievement of the project objective and other targeted outcomes, and the cost-effectiveness of the project. The graphs below summarize the composition and status of MCC’s independent evaluations in the transportation sector as of April 2022. Read on to see highlights of published interim and final evaluations. Follow the evaluation links to see the status of all planned, ongoing, and completed evaluations in the sector and to access the reports, summaries, survey materials, and data sets.

Go to our List of Evaluations to see the status of MCC’s transportation sector evaluations

Highlighted Evaluations

A van drives on a Mongolian road, passing a sign with information about the Mongolia Compact.

December 14, 2020 | Mongolia Compact

Improving Roads to Reduce Transportation Costs in Mongolia

Road upgrades reduced transport costs but preventative maintenance is unlikely

  • Evaluation Type: Performance
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $269 million Mongolia Compact (2008–2013) funded the $75 million North-South (N-S) Road Project to reduce transportation costs along a critical corridor between Russia and China by constructing a 176.4 km all-weather road section from Choir to Sainshand and by providing the Government of Mongolia with technical assistance and equipment for road maintenance. The project theorized that these outputs would decrease road roughness, travel times, and vehicle operating costs and increase traffic.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Cars and people use a road near the fishing village of Porto Rincão.

November 19, 2020 | Cabo Verde Compact

Improving Transportation Networks in Cabo Verde

Road improvements reduced travel costs and times, but maintenance is key

  • Evaluation Type: Performance
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $110 million Cabo Verde Compact (2005–2010) funded the $27.7 million Roads and Bridges Activity to increase integration of internal markets and reduce transportation costs by improving 40.6 kilometers of roads and building four bridges. This activity was based on the theory that improving road and bridge infrastructure would improve mobility, reduce travel times, and reduce vehicle operating costs.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Short- and long-haul buses waiting to load passengers at the bus station in Tunduma, providing service along the Tunduma – Sumbawanga road.

October 30, 2020 | Tanzania Compact

Upgrading Transport Networks in Tanzania

Paving roads increased trade and mobility, but not all were cost-effective

  • Evaluation Type: Performance
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $695 million Tanzania Compact (2008-2013) funded the $405 million Transport Sector Project, which upgraded trunk roads in mainland Tanzania, rural roads on Pemba Island, and the Mafia Island Airport runway. 190 km of roads were completed at compact close, with the remaining 278 km later completed by the Government of Tanzania. The project aimed to increase cash crop revenue in mainland Tanzania and Pemba, and increase tourist spending on Mafia Island by reducing transportation costs.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Truck traveling on a gravel road in the Northern Region.

September 29, 2020 | Ghana Compact

Improving Roads to Reduce Transportation Costs in Ghana

Road upgrades reduce transportation costs but better maintenance is needed

  • Evaluation Type: Performance
  • Evaluation Status: Final

MCC’s $547 million Ghana Compact (2007–2012) funded the $228 million Transportation Project, which upgraded 14 km of the N1 highway in Accra and 75 km of the Agogo-Dome Trunk Road and constructed two ferries in the Afram Basin Zone. Additionally, the $71 million Feeder Road Activity (part of the $189 million Agriculture Project) rehabilitated 357 km of feeder roads across Ghana. The Transportation Project aimed to reduce transportation costs affecting agricultural commerce, and the Agriculture Project aimed to expand commercial agriculture for smallholder farmers.

Read Evaluation Details or the Evaluation Brief

Go to our Evaluation Brief page to see all completed transportation sector evaluations

What Have We Learned from Our Results?

To link the evidence from the independent evaluations with MCC practice, project staff produce an MCC Learning document at the close of each interim and final evaluation to capture practical lessons for programming and evaluation. Use the filters below to find lessons relevant to your evidence needs.

  • Road infrastructure improvements can reduce travel times very quickly, but changes in people’s behavior, such as agriculture production decisions, may take more than one to two years.

    Road infrastructure improvements can reduce travel times very quickly, but changes in people’s behavior, such as agriculture production decisions, may take more than one to two years. The evaluation found no evidence that farmers were increasing agriculture production, changing crops, or selling more as result of the road improvements; however, since the final data collection took place only one to two years after the roads were completed, it’s possible that those behaviors just take longer to manifest.

  • MCC should explore the use of relatively low-cost methods of monitoring key intermediate outcomes, such as continued regular traffic counts, to better inform the time-pattern and composition of road impacts.

    MCC should explore the use of relatively low-cost methods of monitoring key intermediate outcomes, such as continued regular traffic counts, to better inform the time-pattern and composition of road impacts. While few if any detectable welfare/income benefits accrued over the time period studied, longer-term impacts cannot yet be ruled out. MCC, along with other donors, have learned that the time pattern of rural road investment benefits can be slower than was projected in this study. Since these findings do not distinguish between small total benefits, or slow realization of benefits, the magnitude of the full eventual benefits remains uncertain. More frequent monitoring of key intermediate outcomes could inform the appropriate time to conduct a follow-up household survey where significant household impacts are expected.

  • Road evaluations should include an assessment of reduced vehicle operating costs because that is a key benefit stream in the economic analysis that is typically used to justify investments in road improvements.

    Road evaluations should include an assessment of reduced vehicle operating costs because that is a key benefit stream in the economic analysis that is typically used to justify investments in road improvements. This evaluation provided valuable information about outcomes for people who live within 30 minutes of the improved road; however it does not assess the traffic patterns of the road and cannot be used to update the HDM-IV model that calculated the ex-ante and close-out Economic Rates of Return.

  • MCC’s flawed logic and assumptions suggest that investment in incremental port capacity should lead directly to positive economic returns measured in terms of job creation in Benin’s manufacturing, agribusiness processing and non-port service sectors.

    MCC’s flawed logic and assumptions suggest that investment in incremental port capacity should lead directly to positive economic returns measured in terms of job creation in Benin’s manufacturing, agribusiness processing and non-port service sectors. An extensive literature suggests otherwise: investment in port infrastructure is a necessary but not sufficient condition for economic growth. MCC acknowledges that a more rigorous constraint analysis upstream could have determined that neither port capacity nor efficiency were binding constraints to growth.

  • The M&E indicators should contain measures of port operational efficiency, which are key measures of port performance.

    The M&E indicators should contain measures of port operational efficiency, which are key measures of port performance. The timing of the baseline data for evaluation should be linked to the timing of the program implementation.

How Have We Aggregated Learning Across the Sector?

MCC has developed a Principles into Practice paper using evidence from completed independent evaluations in the transportation sector Principles into Practice: Lessons from MCC’s Investments in Roads. The Principles into Practice series offers a frank look at what it takes to make the principles MCC considers essential for development operational in the projects in which MCC invests. The learning captured in this paper informs MCC’s ongoing efforts to refine and strengthen its own model and development practice in the transportation sector. MCC hopes this paper will also allow others to benefit from, and build upon, MCC’s lessons.