The comprehensive plan for the modernization and expansion of transport infrastructure in 2018-2024 adopted to implement the president's May decree is now being widely referred to as the thirteenth national project. More than RUB 6.35 trillion is to be allocated towards its implementation, a fourth of all the resources to be used for the implementation of the May decree. The new transport infrastructure quality index should help assess the effectiveness of these huge investments.
The transport infrastructure quality index should ensure precision and accuracy in assessments of comprehensive transport infrastructure development projects
The "Future of Russia.National portal" (a TASS project) interviewed Sergey Dyagilev, Deputy Head of the Department for Economics and Transport Development of the Analytical Center on what goes into these figures and how the success of infrastructure development is going to be measured.
The methodology for calculating the transport infrastructure quality index included in the comprehensive plan has not been published yet as it's being reviewed by the Federal Statistics Service. "The main goal of the index was to get more precise estimates and use algorithms instead of expert reviews," Mr Dyagilev explained.
Specifically, the index is to be used as a comprehensive indicator that takes into account the throughput capabilities of specific roads and railway lines, increases in availability of transportation services for the public and businesses, removal of infrastructure constraints, he explains.
This also includes real time-frames for transit of containers through international transport corridors, average speed of transit of goods by rail, capacity of specific port access roads and railways lines, share of railway lines and roads being operated without overload, increase in production warehousing capacity of sea ports and logistics centers, length of newly commissioned high speed roads and railway lines, increase in the capacity of domestic water ways.
Mr Dyagilev notes that the index effectively is composed of the exact same indicators that are used to select projects for the comprehensive infrastructure modernization and expansion plan.
At the same time it should be noted that projects are still being selected for the comprehensive infrastructure modernization and expansion plan. New projects can be initiated by federal and regional authorities, businesses and even public organizations. But they all will have to undergo selection. The Analytical Center for the Government of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Economic Development have developed a methodology for ranking projects for the comprehensive infrastructure modernization and expansion plan. The methodology is based on assessing the contribution that the proposed projects can make to the achievement of the goals outlined in the president's May decree with the priority being given to the projects financed by private investments with companies either paying their own money or raising funds in the financial markets.
But seeing how an independent assessment is still going to be needed to determine how effective Russia's infrastructure will end up relative to other countries, a different indicator was selected. "In order to be able to compare our transport infrastructure to other countries, the comprehensive transport infrastructure modernization and expansion plan has another target, Russia's ranking based on the Logistics Performance Index, or LPI, " Mr Dyagilev notes. This index is compiled by the World Bank twice a year. For the time being, in 2018 Russia was only ranked 75th out of 160 on the Logistics Performance Index. The goal is to go up to the 50th place in 2024.
"The index assesses availability and effectiveness of transportation services as well as quality of logistics infrastructure and is a weighted average of the efficiency of border and customs controls, quality of trade and transport infrastructure, ease of arranging deliveries at competitive prices, competence and quality of logistics services, whether or not it's possible to track deliveries, reliability of logistics services," Mr Dyagilev explains.
Thus, it's not so much the availability of transport infrastructure that determines how a country is rated in this index, but rather the efficiency of said infrastructure in actual use.