Impact Evaluation Program for Transport (ieConnect for Impact)


ieConnect is the first transport dedicated Impact Evaluation (IE) program at the World Bank.  Designed as a collaboration between the Transport Global Practice and Development Impact Evaluation (DIME), the program has generated rigorous evidence for transport policy interventions, informed design and implementation of WB-financed and government projects, helped target and prioritize public transport spending, and build the capacity of government agencies, operational staff and academic researchers on impact evaluation, research methods and how to incorporate rigorous assessment into projects through workshops and project-level engagement.

Program Snapshot

  • 31 impact evaluations (IEs) and research activities across 19 countries
  • Focus on urban mobility, transport corridors, road safety, and rural infrastructure
  • Thematic emphasis on gender, female economic empowerment, fragile situations, environment, and climate

Leveraging Innovative Data 

Transport investments subject to IEs are of a larger scale than in other sectors and have more intensive data requirements and unique methodological challenges compared with other sectors as they do not lend themselves to most of the traditional impact evaluation methodologies (like Random Controlled Trials). Thus the ieConnect program prioritized the development and expansion of data systems using new technologies to harvest large amounts of data at a higher frequency or with greater geographic coverage and spatial resolution than traditional survey methods allow.  These include satellite imagery, geospatial, crowdsources, sensors, real-time speed, location, SMS and QR codes, paper records, Google maps, GPS trackers, and mobile applications. The program has built robust data systems in client countries to collect data from multiple sources that are designed to generate impact throughout the life of the transport project and beyond. The program has also developed world-class innovative tools and platforms to support clients to generate data for policy decisions and supported governments to move from traditional data such as administrative surveys to real-time data and from paper to digital records.

ieConnect brings together operational and research teams in a unique collaborative model to help understand better and generate evidence on the impact of transport interventions, in order to improve decision making for transport investments in the long-term.

This program has been funded with UK aid from the UK government.

ieConnect COVID-19 Task Force: Informing Government Response Using Mobile Phone Data and Computational Modeling

Projections of SARS-CoV-2 Cases in the country under study under different policy scenarios

Figure 6: Projections of SARS-CoV-2 Cases in the country under study under different policy scenarios

In an effort to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many countries went into lockdown. While such measures helped to substantially slow the spread, we need to think about how lockdowns can be better planned to ensure they limit damage to households and economies. The ieConnect program has been collaborating with the Digital Development Global Practice and the DEC Analytics and Tools Team at the World Bank on the  COVID-19 Mobility Analytics Task Force. The Task Force investigates ways of informing government response to the spread of the virus, including by examining mobile phone data and using Agent Base Modeling (ABM), a computational approach that focuses on modelling dynamic interactions between individuals and their environment. Knowledge on mobility supports governments in their understanding of how lockdowns impact population movement, including from one district to another. ABM also makes it possible to capture the heterogeneity in population mobility, interactions and relative risk of severe disease, which are key determinants in the spread of a virus. The Task Force is already setting up the data and models needed for the analysis in multiple countries, and once they are in place, it will be possible to apply them in new ways as the pandemic evolves, such as in vaccine prioritization. For more information and early results click here to access a blog developed by the team that provides more details on this project.


Example Virtual Knowledge Sharing during COVID-19 | Presentation

On March 31, 2020, ieConnect presented on New Applications of Big Data for an Evidence-Based Analysis of Development Corridors in the virtual Transport Springboard Series organized by the Transport Global Practice. ieConnect has prioritized the development and expansion of large-scale data sets to support the projects Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework and examine the impact of corridor investments on trade-related outcomes, local economic development, land use, and access to essential services in less developed and remote regions. The presentation reviewed sources for geospatial, crowdsourced, or sensor data and showcased how ieConnect has used them to complement existing survey or administrative data and to strengthen the measurement of project indicators. The presentation also showcased preliminary results and research designs, as well as data and tools generated and used in ongoing impact evaluations looking at the impact of transport corridors. In particular, the session focused on cases (Tunisia, Iraq, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Guinea-Bissau and Southern Africa), where wider economic benefits of transport corridors are investigated through innovative data and models.

Example Projects

Rwanda Feeder Roads Impact Evaluation | Presentation


The Rwanda Rural Feeder Roads IE analyses the impact of the large rural road upgrading program on markets and households, and its research questions are:  

  • How are market prices of village imports and exports affected by improvements in rural roads?
  • How do households adapt to these price changes in terms of goods produced and purchased?
  • What is the market valuation of improved road access as measured by land value changes?
  • To what extent do roads help a region develop as measured by total population?

The data system developed on the rural roads IE has also been adopted by the government. It will be used to additionally measure the impacts on corridor projects, thus forming the basis for monitoring and evaluation for the entire transport sector.


Smart and Safe Nairobi Transport (smarTTrans) Impact Evaluation | Presentation


The smarTTrans project is developing a detailed real-time geo-referenced crash map of Nairobi. In the first stage the team is generating high-frequency data on crashes and crash density around urban hotspots and using a real-time verification process to record characteristics related to the crash. Once this process has been successfully tested for Nairobi, the code will be open and available so that this type of data collection can be expanded to other countries. The second stage will use the information on the characteristics of the different crash sites to conduct a series of experiments testing different types of interventions. A better understanding of which road safety interventions are most effective can be used to mitigate the health impacts of increasing motorization in Nairobi.


Rio de Janeiro Gender Segregated Public Transport Impact Evaluation | Presentation

A male taking a train ride

Sexual harassment on a woman’s commute is pervasive and widens the gender wage gap. To capture the economic costs of this violence, we randomized the price of a women-reserved “safe space'” in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We recruited 363 women riders to crowdsource information on their behavior and experience across 22,000 rides. Women riding in the public space experience harassment once a week. A fifth of riders are willing to forgo the equivalent of a 20% fare subsidy to ride in the "safe space". Randomly assigning riders to the “safe space" reduces the incidence of physical harassment by 50%, implying a cost of avoiding physical harassment of $1.45 per incident. While the reserved space is safer in relative terms, Implicit Association Tests reveal that commuters associate women riding in the public space with more openness to sexual advances. The welfare implications of creating women-reserved spaces are ambiguous.

Example Workshop

ieConnect for Impact Evaluation Workshop in Marrakech


From December 3–6, 2019 the DIME team and the Transport Global Practice (GP) held the fourth impact evaluation workshop of ieConnect in Marrakech, Morocco. The workshop brought together 69 participants from 28 organizations. The participants included project team leaders from the GP, government officials from 8 different countries, academics, and IE specialists from institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank.

The workshop consisted of training sessions on IE measurements, targeted project group work “clinics”, and panel discussions. Each project was assigned a research team to develop the IE designs. This process served to enhance the capacity of the GP staff and client counterparts to design rigorous IEs and of clients to generate data on the impact of transport interventions. The teams incorporated road safety, green transport, climate and gender considerations in the designs, which are key priorities for the GP. This workshop serves as an example of how ieConnect is influencing transport projects during design or implementation.