This book is intended primarily as a guide for engineers and planners working on transportation problems of underdeveloped regions. Its main purpose is to point out how various economic concepts such as the production function can be incorporated into engineering design. It also illustrates the application of some of these concepts to the case of planning transportation facilities for the Guayana region of Venezuela, which is currently being developed by the Corporación Venezolana de Guayana. The Joint Center for Urban Studies of M.I.T. and Harvard University participated in this project in a consulting capacity.
Transport Technology for Developing Regions places particular emphasis on the question of technological choice in transportation. First, a conceptual framework for analyzing the choice of technology possible in producing a given output of transportation is formulated. This framework is then used in analyzing the degree to which various factors of production is formulated. This framework is then used in analyzing the degree to which various factors of production such as labor and capital can be substituted for one another in producing transportation, both as between modes and within a particular mode of transport. Finally, after taking into account transport demand and factor availability, methods of selecting the best technology or specific combination of productive factors are treated.
Empirical data on the costs of road transportation in Venezuela are presented to illustrate how relatively scant data can be used to derive the construction, operation, and maintenance cost functions needed to formulate the various substitution relationships. A case study illustrates how these cost functions can be used to relate the transportation needs of a newly developing region to regional population and economic forecasts.
Throughout, the need for engineers and planners to consider a wider range of technology in planning transportation facilities for underdeveloped countries is stressed, and much of the relevant engineering information basic to the formulation of transportation policy in a developing country such as Venezuela is indicated.