1) Why PSIA? Why did you choose PSIA over any other bank instrument or product?
Because it’s relevant. The project we proposed was about accessibility issues related to poor people in Beijing. From our perspective it’s about the social aspect of transport development, so we felt that the PSIA MDTF was very much relevant in supporting this kind of activities.
2) What was the most challenging moment while working on this PSIA?
Getting reliable data from government agencies is truly challenging, particularly in China, although these agencies have already collected lots of data. When we worked on this PSIA it was very difficult for us to a) access to data; b) let them share it among these agencies. For this type of work, the data we need is not only transportation data, but also other data like the jobs, land and use data, and then poverty data, basically the household survey data. Those data are collected by agencies, so it’s quite difficult for us to access them. So we decided to hire the Lincoln Policy Institute in Peking University, which has quite a lot of connection with the City Planning Bureau, that has household data available, and that helped, otherwise it would have been impossible for us to carry out the study. They facilitated the dialogue with the agencies, so they would share the data with us and support our work.
3) If you had to do this PSIA over, what would you do differently, based on the lessons learned from this one?
I think we did a good job, but going back to the data challenge I described, we could have tried a different approach, like the open data for example, try to take advantage of mobile phones, IT technologies, and try to get some data through crowd-sourcing rather than getting them from government agencies. I think the other thing we could have done differently is a little bit more dissemination, in the end because the project was delayed we didn’t really do a proper one.
4) Any recommendations for TTLs working on PSIAs – what are the top three things TTLs should always keep in mind when working on a PSIA.
Sometimes to submit a GRM it could take quite a long time, especially to get it approved in the system. PSIA itself is not a very difficult exercise, but I think it could help to have terms of reference ready for procurement process, once the funds become available, to speed up the process. My project was delayed because we had a problem with procurement. When we decided to hire with Lincoln Policy Institute it took a long time to process the single source. I would suggest to other teams that once the PSIA fund is approved and when the funding transfer process starts, it’s good to have TOR ready to save time, otherwise the project gets delayed.
5) What do you do when you are not doing a PSIA?
I watch TV and play soccer! Well, jokes apart, I work on many projects, by the time I worked on this PSIA in 2013 I was managing more than 10 AAA projects, so we have plenty of work to do!
Dr. Fang is a Global Lead for Urban Mobility and a Lead Transport Specialist at the World Bank. He has about 18 years’ experience in the field of infrastructure planning, financing and development. In his current position, Dr. Fang is responsible for providing technical, operational and knowledge support to World Bank teams working on urban transport programs/projects in various countries. Since he joined the bank in 2001, he has worked on infrastructure investment projects in many countries, including, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ghana, India, and more. From 2013 to 2015, he was based in New Delhi and acted as a focal person of the Transport and ICT Global Practice in South Asia region, leading and coordinating the World Bank’s policy dialogue with national and local governments in sustainable transport development. Prior to joining the World Bank, Dr. Fang was an urban planner practicing primarily in Beijing. He holds a Master of Engineering in urban planning and a PhD in the same field from Tsinghua University. He was a SPURS fellow at MIT’s Department of Urban Planning and Studies during 2000-2001.