Corruption index correlates directly with bad (or zero) transport policy and practice

For country details (2017) click to

Did it ever occur to you that there might be a strong positive correlation between corruption at all levels in a society and poor transport policy and practice performance?  It has to me.

So what might it mean for an international, bilateral aid organization or charity that might be ready to put money into transportation improvements? And perhaps especially if the projects in question are big buck construction projects, infrastructure and others which are ripe for a hold-up..

At the very least I would tend to keep a sharp eye out for the work and recommendations of Transparency International — 

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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3 thoughts on “Corruption index correlates directly with bad (or zero) transport policy and practice

  1. Comment from Gary Forster, Board Member of Charity Finance Group
    | Third Sector Leader | Logistics and Public Health

    Hi Eric, thanks for sharing this, but is there any empirical evidence on this link or are you just taking a general view? There certainly is some correlation when you look at the Global health Observatory crash data — but as we all know correlation and causation are two very different issues!

  2. “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons ”

    Thanks Gary, I was waiting for just this.

    As you point out, it’s tricky. Big claim, no apparent evidence, so finally only words. Based on what then? Where to start?
    Empirical evidence? As you might well guess, I did spend some time thrashing around with various international datasets, including of course WHO, to see if I could get any kind of feel for even a rough correlation. Your crash data was one of my quick targets. The problem is that the data on vehicular “accidents” gets queered on all sorts of grounds. It would be nice if we could find some form of scientific support for at least some kind of correlation, but I do not have the skills or data for this particular job.

    As hopefully you can tell from my few words on this I was not suggesting that I have in my pocket scientific data to support my contention. It’s an observation, a personal conjecture, an invitation for a discussion. And that’s it!
    But I might add for the record that my conjecture is based on my fairly long and varied international field experience in the world wide struggle to sustainable mobility, sustainable cities and sustainable lives — which has taken me over the last decades to a splendid range of assignments: in Vietnam during the sad war, in Brazil with its military regime, in Libya under a range of ever more miserable realities for people in their day to day lives, the Greek military junta, , not to mention assignments in Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Taiwan and the OECD region. In other words I am with this statement philosophizing based on my personal experience and learnings. For what it’s worth.

    My basis for being a bit comfortable with this idea, with this half-finished attempt at seeking some form of possibly useful correlation to bear out my conjecture – namely, that corrupt countries do a lousy job when it comes to transport planning and policy. Why? Because sustainable transport and mobility policies depend in the main not on big buck infrastructure projects or services which by their very nature provide many delicious opportunities for milking the cow — but by contrast on large numbers of often very small things or measures which link to and reinforce each other in many complex ways. And in the process provide no such mega-opportunities for a quick stolen million here or there.

    And when it comes to listening to the leaders of these corners of the world where corruption rules – let’s say two-thirds of all the countries on this gasping plane – I propose that we follow the wise counsel of the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson on those who loudly tout their ethics at the table:

    “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted the spoons”

    Eric Britton

    PS. Sorry for the muddy writing. No time today to write a sharp short note on this. Apologies.

  3. Gary Forster
    Board Member of Charity Finance Group | Third Sector…

    Brilliant, it’s not everyday we get a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote on LinkedIn. I had read your piece before commenting. To be fair, even if causality is hidden in the data, the solutions will be as diverse and contextually specific as the countries and cultures in which these transport systems and policies reside. Keep up the good work!


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