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Reports and other materials dealing with micro-enterprises for road maintenance.

This document looks at the financing allocated to the maintenance of roads that have been decentralized to local administrations. A comparison is made between different countries in Latin America, Asia and the Pacific to show the different options that exist and how these have been implemented in different countries. The countries included in this document include very large countries and very small countries, countries with high road densities and countries with low road densities, relatively rich countries (with high GDP per capita) and relatively poor countries, highly decentralized countries and highly centralized countries. Although all these factors influence the way decentralized road maintenance is financed, the historical choices made in the countries also have a strong influence. Just because a particular option is applied in a certain type of country, does not necessarily mean that it is not suitable to other types of countries. This document presents the different options for financing the maintenance of decentralized roads, describing how these options are applied in different ways in each country and highlighting the advantages and challenges of each option.

2018 - World Bank - Experiences of Microenterprises
 4.53 MB

This document provides an overview of the experiences with routine road maintenance groups (RMG) and routine road maintenance microenterprises (ME) in eight countries in Latin America (Colombia, Peru, Honduras and Bolivia), Asia (China, Nepal and Laos) and the Pacific (Kiribati). It was prepared by the World Bank as a reference document for other countries interested in introducing a similar approach, providing them with a description of the steps followed and approaches applied in different countries, and allowing them to better understand the different options available and the reasons for selecting any specific one.

The following chapter provides an overview of the experiences in the eight countries, describing the general characteristics of routine maintenance groups and microenterprises, and highlighting the similarities and differences between the countries. This is done by looking at the coverage of the RMGs and microenterprises in the different road networks, the maintenance activities carried out by them, the management of the RMGs and microenterprises by the entity responsible for the roads (including formation, training, procurement, supervision and payments), and the costs and financing of the RMGs and microenterprises. This section concludes with a table providing a full overview of the current status of the road maintenance groups and microenterprises in the eight countries.

The subsequent chapters provide more in-depth detail of the different experiences in the eight countries. In the case of Peru, the approach in the departmental and rural roads has been treated separately from that in the national roads, due to the very different nature of the microenterprises concerned in terms of their formation, activities, management and financing. Apart from the information regarding the current coverage, activities, management and costs, the case studies also provide a historical overview of the introduction of the approach and its replication and expansion over the years.

This document was prepared by Serge Cartier van Dissel, road management and maintenance consultant for the World Bank who has been working with road maintenance groups and microenterprises for over 15 years. He has been involved directly or indirectly in most of the experiences described in this document.

2014 - World Bank - Green Roads in Nicaraugua
 1.27 MB

Transport Paper TP43 describing the use of small enterprises and block pavements in Nicaragua.

2010 - ADB - Labour Based Construction Methods Review
 266.97 KB

Labor-based (LB) method is a construction technology that prioritizes the use of labor rather than equipment and could contribute to poverty alleviation by creating job opportunities for local communities. Since the LB method is considered as one of the most important and effective methods in infrastructure development in developing countries from the viewpoint of poverty alleviation, many development partners have promoted the use of LB methods in their infrastructure projects, especially in the road sector. However, it is also known that the LB method has certain negative aspects. It is necessary to examine both advantages and disadvantages of the LB methods from a comprehensive viewpoint for appropriate application of the method to future projects.

Based on the above understandings, the objective of this study is to review past LB road projects and identify advantages and disadvantages of LB methods. The study also aims to summarize factors which affect the choice of LB method. Therefore, the study examines LB methods from several approaches including technical, economic, social, and institutional aspects. Recommendations of the study include some criteria for evaluating whether LB methods should be used or not. This study largely depends on literature reviews of past research, studies, and project documents on LB methods as well as interviews with people who have been involved with LB road work projects. Interview surveys with contractors in Solomon Islands were also conducted to identify contractors’ views on LB methods.

2009 - Timor Leste - Labour Based Maintenance Manual
 1.96 MB

Manual prepared by the ILO for using labour based road maintenance in Timor Leste.

Report summarizing experiences in Latin America with micro-enterprise road maintenance. Prepared as part of PPIAF funded project looking at adapting approach for China. The report in in English. A powerpoint presentation is here .A Chinese version is available for download here.

2008 - China - Microenterprises for Road Maintenance
 102 MB

Series of documents covering all aspects of introducing micro enterprises for road maintenance. Documents address everything from the contract documentation through training of potential workers and county managers. 

2008 - China - Microenterprises for Road Maintenance
 32.86 MB

Chinese translation of reports on micro-enterprises

This excellent manual explains the different management issues related to the routine maintenance of paved rural roads by maintenance teams. It forms the basis for the managerial training that the maintenance teams will receive when they start working, as well as for the assistance they will receive during the initial period of their contract. This manual also forms a reference document for the maintenance teams in the management of the team and of the routine maintenance of the rural roads. It should be used together with the Technical Manual for Routine Road Maintenance Teams that forms part of this same document series.

The manual starts by explaining the benefits of maintenance teams over individual workers, after which the management of the team is discussed, including the election of a team leader, and giving special attention to the management of conflicts within the team. This chapter also provides guidelines regarding the financial management. Subsequently, the manual goes into the specifics of the road maintenance contract between the maintenance team and the Communication Bureau, with special attention to the obligations of each partner, the remuneration to be received for work completed and the penalties that may be applied in case of unsatisfactory work. Finally, the manual deals with the planning and organization of the maintenance work over the year, and on a monthly and daily basis. Hereby the road inventory, the timing of activities and the frequency of implementation are used to define the workplans.

Chinese version is available here.

This guide is directed at the staff of the Communication Bureaus in charge of the maintenance of paved rural roads. It explains the benefits of sustainable routine maintenance of these roads, and presents how this may be achieved by contracting labor-based routine maintenance teams formed by local people living along the road.

The first chapter presents the different classifications of rural roads, and explains the deterioration process as a result of the influences of traffic and climate. It subsequently introduces the concepts of preventative and corrective road maintenance, and how these can respectively slow down the deterioration process, and to a certain degree restore the original condition of the road. It also explains why the combination of preventative routine maintenance with timely corrective maintenance is the most cost-effective solution to road conservation, at the same time resulting in better overall road conditions throughout the lifespan of the road. The chapter concludes by describing the different levels of road conservation, and how these complement each other.

The second chapter goes into the details of routine road maintenance, describing the different activities involved, the benefits of organizing the maintenance workers in teams, and the tools and equipment required by them. It continues by introducing the timing of the different activities throughout the year and the frequency with which they should be repeated, as well as the productivity rates for each activity, which indicate how much work a single worker can do in one day. These factors are of great importance in determining the amount of workdays required per year for the maintenance of a kilometer of road, or alternatively how many kilometers one worker can maintain. Another very important factor herein are the specific characteristics of each road (topography, traffic, climate, size of the road reserve, etc.), which determine how much work needs to be done for each activity. The subsequent section therefore introduces the concept of road categories, for which standard values for the required workdays per kilometer per year can be established. The chapter ends by presenting the costs and financing of routine maintenance, the modalities to be used in contracting the maintenance teams, and finally the inspection of their work based on performance indicators.

The third and final chapter deals with the creation of the maintenance teams that carry out the routine maintenance of the rural roads. It starts with the selection process, including the different aspects of carrying out a call for candidates, as well as the criteria to be used in selecting the most suitable candidates. The chapter continues by describing the process of training and accompaniment of the maintenance team, including both the technical training as well as the managerial training. The training is described in greater detail in the Training Guidelines for Communication Bureaus in the Training of Routine Road Maintenance Teams and the technical and managerial elements are dealt with in detail in the Technical Manual for Routine Road Maintenance Teams and the Managerial Manual for Routine Road Maintenance Teams, all of which form part of this same document series. Finally, the process for the legal constitution of the team by means of the road maintenance contract is described.

The Annexes provide overview sheets for the different maintenance activities, including the separate tasks to be executed by the maintenance workers. They also contain several sample documents and forms to be used by the Communication Bureaus.

A Chinese version is available here.

This manual explains the different technical issues related to the routine maintenance of paved rural roads by maintenance teams. It forms the basis for the technical training that the maintenance teams will receive when they start working, as well as for the technical assistance they will receive during the initial period of their contract.

The manual starts by explaining the different road elements that make up a road, and which will need to be maintained by the maintenance team. This is followed by a description of the different types of road conservation, and how these complement the routine maintenance carried out by the maintenance teams. The third chapter introduces the different maintenance activities, the tools and equipment used by the maintenance workers, how much time the different activities take and how often they need to be repeated, as well as how to plan and organize them, and the condition of the road that the maintenance teams need to ensure in order to receive their monthly payments. The final chapter explains the different maintenance activities in detail, describing the different tasks that need to be carried out.

A Chinese version of the report is available for download here.

This document aims to make a comparative analysis of this successful approach, identifying the main aspects which have to be taken into account in its introduction or expansion in a specific country or area. For this purpose, microenterprise-based routine road maintenance programmes in 9 countries in Latin America were studied, and the following aspects, which were considered critical in the implementation of a routine maintenance system based on microenterprises, were further analysed:


1.         Types of roads under routine maintenance

2.         Organisational modality of the microenterprises

3.         Formation of the microenterprises

4.         Contracting modalities

5.         Tools and equipment

6.         Maintenance activities

7.         Levels of service and performance indicators

8.         Productivity rates and maintenance costs

9.         Financing mechanisms

10.        Training and accompaniment of the microenterprises

11.        Contract supervision by the contracting agency


In the following sections, these aspects are discussed in detail based on the different experiences in Latin America, followed by some general conclusions regarding the approach.

Chinese translation of 2007 - Latin America - Summary of Experiences with Micro Enterprises

Presentation in China on adapting the Latin American model for microenterprise-based routine road maintenance:

Report prepared for the World Bank by Gerardo Flintsch and Alejandra Medina from Virginia Tech. 

The outsourcing of road maintenance to micro- and small enterprises under performance-based contracts has been recognized as an effective approach to rural road maintenance in many developing countries. This sees payments for the management and/or maintenance of pavements linked with the contractor successfully meeting or exceeding certain clearly defined minimum performance standards. If structured correctly, sub-national road maintenance PBC programs can effectively maintain pavements, while at the same time, contributing to improved social welfare and local economic conditions.

This report describes a study aimed at reviewing PBC models for the maintenance of sub-national networks in Latin America. The objective of the report is to disseminate the relevant knowledge to other countries interested in building capacities of small and micro contractors and engage them under small-scale PBCs to maintain sub-national roads. The report focuses on labor-intensive practices (micro-enterprises) but also covers contracts that require the use of more conventional maintenance practices.

The study included (1) a critical literature review of relevant documents and reports, (2) identification of suitable agencies for detailed study, (3) a telephone survey of these agencies, and (4) visits to selected agencies in different countries in Central and South America to identify key lessons from failures and successes to be applied to future applications of performance-based road maintenance contracts. The report compares programs in 10 countries and 12 road agencies and present detailed case studies for a subset of these agencies. In general, the programs implemented include two groups of PBCs, projects with a significant social component in economically depressed areas that use mostly cooperative micro-enterprises, and projects focused almost exclusively on improving the service of the roads that also utilize small, medium, and large contractors. Key differences between the two groups of programs include the technical level of the workers and the type of performance indicators used, which have to be consistent with the technical level of the entrepreneurs.

The report presents key lessons learned, associated challenges, opportunities, and achieved results and provides a summary of key recommendations pertinent to performance-based contracting of micro- and small enterprises for municipalities and local governments. The study found that micro-enterprises are a viable option for providing an effective approach for maintaining roads and creating local contracting capacity, especially in remote areas. This practice: (1) improves road maintenance; (2) generally results in cost of the routine maintenance somewhat lower than that of conducting the work by force account, (3) directly and indirectly generates attractive jobs in the rural areas; (4) help secure maintenance funding; (5) rewards initiative; and (5) creates a sense of ownership of the road in the communities adjacent to the road. Performance-based contracts are a practical mechanism for contracting the maintenance of sub-national rural road networks to micro-enterprises. The type of work performed and the remote location of the road segment under consideration make it difficult to measure and control quantities. Furthermore, performance-based contracts have also been implemented successfully for the maintenance of urban street networks to enterprises of different sizes. Hybrid contracts are more commonly used in the programs where street rehabilitation is also included. These contracts typically involve medium- to large-sized contractors. The rehabilitation items are paid based on unit prices, and the routine maintenance is based on outcomes or performance.