The GHI assessment seeks to determine whether a country has:

  • Adequate road networks and access to public transit
  • Access to potable water, sewage systems, and electricity
  • Adequate police and fire protection
  • Infrastructure plans and funding to accommodate projected population growth

It is hard to imagine living without access to water, sanitation, or electricity. For many parts of the world, it is reality. The United Nations estimates that almost 40 percent of the world’s population is living without access to improved sanitation facilities and 13 percent live without safe drinking water.

Inadequate infrastructure – such as lack of a solid waste treatment plant, poor police or fire protection, or inadequate roads – is unsafe and unhealthy for residents. Many cities lack the resources to maintain or expand infrastructure networks as their population grows. Poorer residents become priced-out of homes connected to formal infrastructure networks.

The important role of public transit

A good public transit system provides many benefits: less traffic congestion, cleaner air, and reduced expenses for maintaining roads.  Public transit also connects residents, rich and poor alike, to jobs. Many large cities lack adequate public transportation. In Manila, for example, some 80 percent of commuters use motorized modes of transportation – cars, motorcycles, or buses – creating unbearable congestion and disconnecting many residents from jobs.  Improving transportation systems requires population projections, physical plans for the city and surrounding municipalities, and a capital investment plan.

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