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The lack of common definitions and practices to measure transport infrastructure spending hinders comparisons between countries and spending options. Data for road and rail infrastructure are the most comprehensive while data on sea port and airport spending are less detailed in coverage and definition. While our survey covers all sources of financing a number of countries exclude private spending, including Japan and India. Around 65% of countries report data on urban spending while for the remaining countries data on spending in this area are missing. Indicators such as the share of GDP needed for investment in transport infrastructure, depend on a number of factors, such as the quality and age of existing infrastructure, maturity of the transport system, geography of the country and transport-intensity of its productive sector. Caution is therefore required when comparing investment data between countries. However, data for individual countries and country groups are consistent over time and useful for identifying underlying trends and changes in levels of spending, especially for inland transport infrastructure. These issues of definitions and methods are addressed in a companion report Understanding the Value of Transport Infrastructure – Guidelines for macro-level measurement of spending and assets (ITF/OECD2013) that aims to improve the international collection of related statistics.
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