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“Taking the High Road”
Roads are not just a way to get from A to B.
They change how the land is used, especially in rural areas, and can transform lives and livelihoods. But “more” is not always “better.”
Roads allow people to reach health centers, schools and markets, which produces healthier, more skilled citizens, and in turn generates trade, jobs and economic growth. Roads can also lower food and other prices, and cut waste.
Indeed, a paved road can halve the chances of spoilage, by getting fresh food to market quicker. According to the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a $239 billion investment in roads (as well as rail and electricity networks) in developing markets over the next 15 years could eliminate $3.1 trillion in food waste.
Yet about 1.2 billion people worldwide still lack access to an all-weather road, according to the World Bank. That is changing rapidly.
Roads are being built at an unprecedented pace: 25 million kilometers of paved thoroughfares are expected to be built by 2050—enough to circle the Earth 600 times, says William Laurance, research professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, and director of its Center for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science.
Click to Tweet: “25Mill km of roads expected
to be built by 2050—enough to circle Earth 600xs”
But are these roads being built where they are most needed?