Developing Countries

The most common classification system used by developing countries can be given in terms of motorways and primary, secondary, and tertiary roads. However, major differences exist among countries in their breakdown of groups, or types of traffic, terrain, and road surfaces [2]. Rearranging the various data leads to three useful main categories, outlined in Table 3.4.

Category 3 includes the LTRs. It may be further divided into two subclasses: local roads and special service roads. This distinction is not meant to be a strict one; there is

Table 3.4. Classification of roads in developing countries


Road Function

Surface Type

Kind of Management

1 High-volume traffic lanes

2 All primary and secondary roads with low or medium traffic

3 Tertiary roads with low or very low traffic volumes

Bituminous concrete surfacing All

Mainly nonsurfaced

Central government Central government or, in the case of a federal structure, by the state Local or central government; in many cases, ministry for agriculture or development

a wide range of intermediate situations. Local roads are designed primarily to serve the rural population. In many cases, they are constructed using local human resources. A lot of these roads started out as a trails or village tracks used by people traveling on foot or on local animal-drawn vehicles. Such roads usually are not inventoried or classified and do not fall under any particular authority.

Special service roads are known as feeder roads. They serve to span the distance between the source of the product transported, which is generally a farm or a forest, and the place of use. In contrast with the local network, these roads are planned mostly from scratch, frequently by foreign consultants, and integrated into national defense or development projects [2].

In India, LTRs can be defined as "the roads primarily serving a group of villages, passing through mainly agriculture areas, and having relatively low volume of traffic, often slow moving." These roads are generally shorter, sometimes even as short as a kilometer. Rural roads consist of other district roads (ODRs) and village roads (VRs). ODRs serve the rural areas of production and provide them with an outlet to market centers or other main roads. VRs connect a group of villages with each other and to the market centers, or with the nearest road of a higher category [9].

Comparative analyses of LTRs in developing countries are difficult. There are no commonly accepted definitions of route status, and the three general categories of seasonal road, track, and footpath frequently coincide. A fundamental distinction can be drawn between all-weather and dry-weather routes, and also between tracks capable of carrying wheeled vehicles and those open only to pack animals and pedestrians. Figure 3.6 shows a road map of a part of Zimbabwe. It categorizes the qualitatively insufficient routes as being "unsuited to use by tourists." This also gives a realistic impression of the increasing importance of international tourism for the national economy [1].

Figure 3.6. Road categories west of Harare, Zimbabwe. Source: [1], Reprinted by permission of

Addison Wesley Longman Ltd.

Figure 3.6. Road categories west of Harare, Zimbabwe. Source: [1], Reprinted by permission of

Addison Wesley Longman Ltd.

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