Connectivity is vital for sustainable development in Azerbaijan. However, about 60% of the transport network is aging. The transport network needs to be improved to achieve the objectives of promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth. These improvements require new investments including enhanced targeted maintenance programs, improved corridor safety and efficiency, development of road design and traffic management standards, and capacity building to facilitate cross-border trade and transit traffic.
Network infrastructure. The transport network does not meet the needs of the expanding economy. There are about 200 km of four-lane highways, but the rest of the road network is in poor condition. Despite the budget increase from $5.7 million in 2001 to $72.0 million in 2011, funding for road maintenance remains insufficient. As a result, a large part of the road network deteriorated rapidly and became redundant. Vehicle axle overloading also contributes to the rapid deterioration of pavements. Poor road conditions—resulting in high transport costs, delayed delivery times, and a high number of crashes—are constraints to the sustained growth of non-oil sectors and poverty reduction.
In the absence of a major track rehabilitation program, maintenance costs are expected to climb by 20% per year, while the average effective train speeds decline to 15 km per hour. The electric power system, overhead catenaries, and substations are in critical condition, especially along the east–west line. The 27 substations will require complete refurbishment within a 5-year time frame. The overhead catenaries system is also at or near complete failure condition. The locomotive fleet is also in desperate need of upgrades.
Urban congestion. The main urban transport issues are concentrated in Baku. Congestion occurs on all major arteries and causes road safety and health concerns. Additionally, the road network is poorly built and not adequately maintained. The lack of parking facilities in the city center causes unregulated on-street parking, which severely impedes the streets’ nominal capacity. In public transportation, Baku metro suffers from severe crowding, causing critical issues on safety and quality of service, while the lack of dedicated bus lanes impede public bus performance. Furthermore, the networks are not integrated, and this underlines the need to set up an urban transport authority for Greater Baku.
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