A Phased Approach in Road and Motorway Management
SMIT G, Netherlands Economic Institute, The Netherlands
One could characterise Eastern Europe's most recent history as a period marked by change. Since the collapse of the Wall ten years ago, a period of transition has begun in which the planned economy is making way for the market economy. In addition, proces
One could characterise Eastern Europe's most recent history as a period marked by change. Since the collapse of the Wall ten years ago, a period of transition has begun in which the planned economy is making way for the market economy. In addition, processes that were formerly centrally controlled, whether or not by necessity, now have to be reviewed. The availability of infrastructure, especially a functioning road network, is generally regarded as a key condition in the development of a country and essential for facilitating the process of transition. One of the biggest problems associated with this is the lack of the required financial means, especially at the beginning of the 1990s when the gross domestic product GDP dropped sharply. A strong relapse in GDP and industrial output was indeed apparent in most Central and Eastern European countries at this point - reaching rock bottom in several cases in 1992-1993. The development of the GDP and industrial output in Poland can be seen in the figure below. The tendency outlined is representative for most CEECs. It should be noted, however, that in some countries, for instance the Baltic States, the decline was even greater.
With the drop in GDP at the beginning of the 1990s, expenditure on road management also came under considerable pressure. A direct consequence of this was overdue maintenance to the road network and rapidly worsening road conditions. In the mid-90s, a large number of countries saw economic recovery set in and the rehabilitation, construction and maintenance of the road network picked up.
As to road management, it is difficult to mark out an overall direction for the entire area of Central and Eastern Europe - socially and economically speaking, the region and the points of departure are too dissimilar. In addition, the wars on the Balkan have left a trail of devastation behind in the region. In the following chapter, clusters of countries have been formed and the road management issues that the various countries are up against are discussed against the backdrop of those clusters.
Association for European Transport