Transport Development Sector

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Transport Development Sector

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Dates of existence


Functional responsibility for transportation-related activities was first articulated in the organizational structure of the World Bank after the January 18, 1965, creation of the Projects Department (PRJ). The Projects Department, which had roots in the Technical Operations Department (September 1952 to 18 January 1965) and in the Economic Department prior to that (19 April 1948 to September 1952), was responsible for the identification, appraisal and supervision of projects, as well as policy formulationand research and advice in support of the operational activities of the area departments. The Projects Department initially had five subordinate divisions: Agriculture Division (PRJAG); Education Division (PRJED); Public Utilities Division (PRJPU); Industry Division (PRJIN); and Transportation Division (PRJTP).

On November 1, 1968, the Projects Department was terminated and the subordinate divisions were upgraded to the department level. The Transportation Department (TRP) was one of the newly created departments along with the Departments of Agriculture (AGP), Education (EDP), and Public Utilities (PBP). At the time it was created, the Transportation Department was organized into seven divisions: Highways Division I (TRPM1), Highways Division II (TRPM2), Highways Division III (TRPM3), Ports and Pipelines Division (TRPP1), Railways Division (TRPR1), Urban Transport and Aviation Division (TRPUA), and the General Economics and Pre-Investment Division (TRPPR). A number of divisional reorganizations occurred over the subsequent four years, but no significant responsibility was added or taken away.

From 1968 until a Bank-wide reorganization in 1972, the individual Projects Departments reported to the Director, Projects (DRP), and were the primary Bank units responsible for the appraisal, negotiations, and supervision of operational project work in their respective sectors. The Departments were specifically responsible for:

  • providing advice, conducting research, and monitoring developments in sector issues;

  • carrying out sector studies with the objective of identifying projects and determining priorities within sectors;

  • preparing policy papers outlining the basic principles and approaches of the Bank relating to project and sector work;

  • preparing guidelines and standards;

  • appraising proposed projects and supervising projects in execution;

  • assisting in the identification and preparation of projects;

  • providing operational support in the negotiation and administration of loans and credits;

  • cooperating with other international agencies on programs of common interest.

The Bank's massive reorganization in October of 1972 attempted to more effectively fuse country knowledge and sector skills. Sectors with a sufficient number of experts and an established lending program, such as the Transportation Department, were largely decentralized. While maintaining a centralized core staff of Department advisors, the majority of Department staff was dispersed to regional project departments in newly established regional vice presidencies. The remaining centralized staff made up the sector operating departments and performed advisory services for the regions. They were responsible for improving and maintaining the quality of Bank lending and related operations through: formulating policies, methodology and guidelines; providing operational support and advice; and managing related programs of recruitment assistance, staff development and education. Some departments, which had only a small number of staff, remained completely centralized and retained operational responsibilities; they were referred to as centralized operating projects departments (COPD).

The Transportation Department, as well as other sector operating departments, reported to the newly created Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP); the Vice President, Central Projects, replaced the previous Director, Projects (DRP), and reported to the Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP). The centralized operating projects departments also reported to the Vice President, Central Projects. On October 1, 1973, the Transportation Department was merged with the Urban Projects Department (UBP) to form the Transportation and Urban Projects Department (TRU). The Department continued to report to the Vice President, Central Projects. Transportation projects continued to function as a sector department, performing only advisory services for the regions at their request and also formulating policies and quality control. The Department's urban project functionality continued to act as a centralized operating projects department. The Department maintained a Transport Research Division (TRURS) as well as two Urban-related divisions. On February 1, 1976, a third urban-related operational division in anticipation of an expanded role for the Department.

On June 1, 1976, the transport and urban functions were separated and re-established as independent departments as a result of the Urban Projects Department's (RB) designation as lead and coordinator of the Bank-wide initiativeagainst urban poverty. The transportation function would be organized within the independent Transportation Department (TRP). It continued to operate as a sector department and briefly maintained its single division, the Research Division (TRPRS) and its Front Office advisory staff. However, in October, 1976, the Research Division was terminated and the Front Office advisory staff reorganized into five units: Ports and Aviation Advisory Unit, Highway Design and Maintenance Advisory Unit, Railways and Finance Advisory Unit, Regional Advisory Unit, and Standards and Procurement Advisory Unit.

On July 1, 1979, the water supply and telecommunications functions of the former Energy, Water and Telecommunications Department (EWT) were combined with the transportation function to form the new Transportation, Water and Telecommunications Department (TWT). The Department reported to the Vice President, Central Projects (CPSVP). In taking on telecommunications operational responsibilities, the Department became a sector and central operational projects department: combining advisory, policy making and operational functions. On the date of its establishment, the Department was assigned four divisions: a Transportation Advisory Unit (TWTTR) along with a Telecommunications Division (TWTTL), a Front Office Advisory Staff (TWTDR), and a Water and Wastes Advisory Unit (TWTWW). A Construction Industry (CI) Adviser was also added around 1979.

In March of 1982, the telecommunications function of the Department was moved to thenewly established Industry Department (IND), leaving the transportation and water functions to form the Transportation and Water Department (TWD). It reported to the newly created Vice President, Operations Policy (OPSVP). At the date of its establishment the Department had no formal divisional structure, but only Advisory Units for Transportation (TWDTR) and for Water and Wastes (TWDWW).

On July 1, 1983, the Transportation and Water Department again became the Transportation Department (TRP), after the transfer of the water supply functions to the renamed Water and Urban Development Department (WUD). The Transportation Department continued to report to the Vice President, Operations Policy (OPSVP). At the date of its establishment, the Department had no formal divisional structure. It had a Front Office Advisory Staff reporting to the Senior Advisor.

On July 1, 1987, a Bank-wide reorganization resulted in the termination of almost all organizational units. A new department, the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department (INU), incorporated the previous Water Supply and Urban Development Department and Transportation Department, and was placed in the Sector Policy and Research Vice-Presidency (PRE, then, beginning on January 1, 1990, the PRS). The departments of the Sector Policy and Research Vice Presidency had no responsibility for managing operational activities but, rather, focused on operational support, the formulation of Bank-wide sector policies and overseeing the ex post evaluation of Bank-widesector work and lending. The units within the PRE concentrated on policy creation and analysis, support for operations and sectoral research for emerging priority areas of the Bank. At the time of its establishment, the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department had the following divisions: the Transport Development Division (INUTD), the Water and Urban Development Division (INUWD) and the Infrastructure Strategy, Management and Assessment Division (INUIS). In 1988, the Transport Development Division was renamed the Transport Division, but retained the same acronym.

The Transport Division performed the following activities:

  • developing, in consultation with the Regions, priorities for research and policy on key issues in the transport sector;

  • conducting policy analyses, research, external liaison, operational support, and related environmental quality enhancement activities on various economic, institutional and management issues;

  • advising on transport issues in the design of country strategies, and in adjustment and sector operations; providing operational support to strengthen links among research, policy and projects;

  • reviewing annual performance of Bank operations in the transportation sector;

  • disseminating research results and policy studies for the sector and organizing and conducting appropriate training seminars on emerging issues in the sector; and

  • maintaining contacts with the academic community worldwide. /nOn December 1, 1991, President Lewis Preston's first reorganization abolished all Senior Vice-Presidencies. The new Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency (OSP) was created and adopted functions previously supervised by Senior Vice Presidents, including the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department. On January 1, 1993, as part of a larger initiative to align the Bank's organization with the priority areas of its poverty reduction effort, the Sector and Operations Policy Vice Presidency was terminated. It was replaced by three new thematic vice presidencies: HumanResources Development and Operations Policy (HRO), Finance and Private Sector Development (FPD), and Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD).

During the 1993 reorganization, the transportation function was placed in the newly created Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU). The Department was organized within the Environmentally Sustainable Development Vice Presidency alongside three other sector or thematic departments: the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department (AGR), Environment Department (ENV), and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Secretariat (CGIAR). At the time of the creation of the Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department, it had the following divisions: the Transportation Division (TWUTD), the Urban Development Division (TWURDS), the Water and Sanitation Division (TWUWS), and the UNDP/World Bank Water and Sanitation Program (TWUWU).

Each Sector Department was responsible for the following:

  • preparing policies, guidelines, standards, handbooks and analytical tools relevant to the sector;

  • identifying, codifying and disseminating best practices and lessons of experience, and evaluating weaknesses;

  • providing advice to the Regions as needed;

  • monitoring and tracking work in the sectors assigned in order to identify generic issues and identifying, evaluating and influencing trends and patterns;

  • performing surveys of experience and practice within the Bank and elsewhere, and develop innovative approaches;

  • participating in Bank-wide efforts to assess skill requirements, and to upgrade skills through recruitment, training, orientation, seminars, newsletters, etc.;

  • representing the Bank to external communities of interest;

  • maintaining an awareness of relevant external practices and viewpoints.

Four years later, in 1997, the thematic Vice Presidencies were reorganized to strike a better balance between country focus and sectoral excellence. To facilitate sharing of expertise and knowledge, the Bank established networks that linked Bank-wide communities of staff working in the same field across organizational boundaries and with external partners. The networks formed a virtual overlay on the existing Bank organization, and were intended to link staff working in the same sectors throughout the Bank, whether the staff was located in the Regions, in the Central Vice-Presidencies' Sector Departments, or other Vice-Presidencies.

Each of the three thematic Central Vice-Presidencies was transformed into the central units,or anchors, of each network and consisted of the existing sector departments. On a Bank-wide basis, sector specialists were grouped into regional sector units or into central sector departments which worked with country departments in a matrix relationship. Staff from the central sector departments could become part of the regional operational teams when their sectoral expertise was required.

The work programs of Network staff focused on:

  • global knowledge - putting the best development knowledge in the hands of Bank task teams; ensuring that the knowledge base was accessible to external clients; and contributing to the growth of the knowledge base;

  • enhanced skills - developing and providing content to training courses; establishing professional and technical standards for professional development;

  • shared strategies - assisting regional and central units to develop a common sector agenda, and ensuring that skills are effectively deployed across the entire network. Network leadership assumed responsibility for global programs, sector strategy development and evaluation, strategic partnerships, and learning and dissemination;

  • best teams and best practices - improving the Bank's flexibility and mobility by building stronger task teams and delivering higher quality products;

  • institutional initiatives - providing substantial support for new Bank-wide initiatives, such as Social Development, Rural Development, Financial Sector, Anti-corruption, Human Resources, and Knowledge Partnerships.

Theresult of the 1997 restructuring was four networks: the Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network (ESSD); the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPD); the Human Development Network (HDN); and the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (PRM). The Transportation, Water and Urban Development Department (TWU) retained its name and component parts and was situated within the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network (FPSI).

The Department again retained its name and component parts when, in 1999, the Finance, Private Sector Development, and Infrastructure Network became the Private Sector Development and Infrastructure (PSI) Network. In 2001, however, the water function was removed and joined with energy to form the Energy and Water Department (EWD). The newly formed Transport and Urban Development Department (TUD) remained in the Private Sector Development and Infrastructure Network until it was moved into the Infrastructure Network (INF) in 2003.

On January 1, 2007, the transport function was combined with the energy and water functions to form the Energy, Transport and Water Department (EWT) and this Department was moved into the Sustainable Development Network (SDN). Then, on September 17, 2010, restructuring placed the transport function within the Transport, Water, and Information and Communications Technologies Unit. The Unit remained in the Sustainable Development Network.


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