Rural Access Index: A global study

by   Quan Sun, et al.

The Rural Access Index (RAI), one of the UN Sustainable Development Goal indicators (SDG 9.1.1), represents the proportion of the rural population residing within 2 km of all-season roads. It reflects the accessibility of rural residents to transportation services and could provide guidance for the improvement of road infrastructure. The primary deficiencies in assessing the RAI include the limited studying area, its incomplete meaning and the absence of correlation analysis with other influencing factors. To address these issues, this study proposes the "Not-served Rural Population (NSRP)" as a complementary indicator to RAI. Utilizing multi-source open data, we analysed the spatial patterns of RAI and NSRP indicators for 203 countries and then explored the correlation between these 2 indicators and other 10 relevant factors. The main findings are as follows: 1) North America, Europe, and Oceania exhibit relatively high RAI values (>80 million). In contrast, African regions have relatively low RAI values (<40 and high NSRP values (>5 million). There is a negative correlation between RAI and NSRP. 2) There is spatial autocorrelation and significant imbalances in the distribution of these two indicators. 3) The RAI exhibit a positive correlation with the factors showing levels of the development of countries such as GDP, education, indicating that improving the road infrastructure could reduce the poverty rates and enhance access to education. And in contrast with RAI, NSRP exhibit the completely negative correlations with these factors.


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