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Transport planning in remote low-populated areas of the world

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​The same challenges regardless of geography and climate: COWI is specialised in solving transport challenges in remote low-populated areas of the world, e.g. like small arctic settlements or on isolated tropic islands, where there is a low demand for transport and at very high costs.

Typically, aviation as well as shipping are the important modes of transport and land transport is not an option. Low frequencies on air based passenger links and long intervals between arrivals of freight supply vessels, makes it difficult to retain the basic functions of the small societies at reasonable costs. Other distinctive characteristics are that perishable foods are often a luxury in the local stores and only a limited number of income generating tourists visits the community on a yearly basis.

The typical steps of an analysis are:

  • Validation of the demand for transport. The demand perspectives should be analysed both in the short term and in the longer term. In addition to the local conditions, the overall factors determining the regional market demand, e.g. like the general socioeconomic development and the tourism trends, has to be integrated into the analysis.
  • Assessment of potential replacement transport options; what capacity and frequency they offer. In that process, the improvement of local infrastructure, e.g. runway lengths and seaport handling equipment, as well as the remotely located transport system infrastructure (at the connection points), must be taken into consideration.
  • To analyse the most relevant options with regard to annual financial costs for passenger transport and for transport of goods.
  • To perform the procurement process for securing transport services

COWI offers the following services:

  • Transport and market analyses
  • Economic analysis (financial and socioeconomic)
  • Legal advice
  • Tendering consultancy

Experience (examples):

  • Greenland / Arctic: COWI has, over the last 10 years, carried out a large number of transport planning projects for the Self-Government of Greenland. The projects has covered fields within aviation/airports, shipping/seaports and internal land transport within the settlements. Freight supply analysis to the most remote settlements in the Arctic has been a specialised activity for COWI. We have performed legal advice regarding bilateral agreements for the aviation sector, e.g. with Canada and Iceland, and analysed runway and seaport extensions from transport and economic perspectives. Finally, we have assisted with the tendering process of transport services.
  • Ascension Island / British Overseas Territories: In 2015 COWI has performed a transport study for the Ascension Island Government in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island around 1,600 kilometres from the coast of Africa and 2,250 kilometres from the coast of South America. The opening of the new St Helena Airport in 2016 (today there is no airport), and the decision to simultaneously cease the operation of the only inter-island shipping service, leaves Ascension Island in a completely new situation. Consequently, new inter-island transport options have been investigated.

LAST UPDATED: 19.04.2017