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Journal of Transport Geography 46 (2015) 253255

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Transport Geography in Peru the Inter-Oceanic Highway that links the Atlantic port of Santos
(Brazil) with Peruvian ports along the southern Pacic coast
(Fig. 1). Original forecasts by Brazilian transport analysts for this
Research on the transportation geography of Peru has not fea- 3000-mile-long corridor argued that the route would provide com-
tured prominently in the Journal of Transport Geography since its petition for the renovated Panama Canal by reducing Brazilian
inception. This trend mirrors transport research articles addressing agricultural shipping costs to Asia by up to $100 per ton (Delbar
Latin America generally since the early 1990s, although signicant et al., 2011). However, to date, there is no empirical evidence that
growth in research articles on Brazilian transport issues has predicted cost savings have materialized. Indeed, the current
occurred since 2011 (Keeling, 2013). As the third largest country physical nature of these roads (surface and width) mitigates any
by size in South America, the fourth in population (31 million), signicant time and cost savings. Further north, Salonen et al.
and seventh in GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita (about (2012) examined measures of spatial accessibility in the Peruvian
$13,000), Peru is inuenced signicantly by its transportation chal- Amazons riverine environments to determine what impacts
lenges. The countrys geography presents barriers to accessibility, improved boat trafc capabilities might have on socio-economic
mobility, and regional integration. Most trafc occurs along the interaction. They found that boat frequency and transport capacity
northsouth routes between the Andes and the Pacic Ocean, data suggested a high degree of variability in transport possibilities
where the majority of Perus population lives (55 percent). across the region. In Iquitos, one of Perus more transport-isolated
Almost 10 million people reside in the Lima Metropolitan Area, communities, Paz-Soldan et al. (2014) used GPS tracking to
about a third of Perus total population. The dominant transport attempt a more nely grained analysis of local mobility. Bravo
corridor is the Pan-American Highway that connects Peru to (2002, 223) researched the role of rural roads in gender relations
Ecuador and Chile, with multiple eastwest corridors linking the in the Peruvian highlands and argued that affordable transport
coast with Andean and Amazonian communities. Only about 13% services and appropriate intermediate means of transport should
of the countrys population lives in the Peruvian Amazon, which be considered and encouraged in transport intervention
accounts for 60% of Perus territory, while the remaining third lives programs. Orr (2015) recently examined how class, ethnic, and
in the Andean highlands. geographical divisions within Peruvian society have impacted the
Detailed transportation research throughout Peru has been enforcement of transportation safety regulations, arguing for a
conducted in Spanish by local planners, national and urban gov- greater sensitivity to the anthropological elements of local move-
ernment agencies, universities, and regional development groups, ment and interaction.
with much attention focused on urban mobility issues (Lima), on Accessibility and mobility issues are central to strategies
the link between rural development and accessibility, and on designed for tourism development and enhancement (Tveteras
broader trans-boundary connections (e.g., Quispe Cornejo, 2014; and Roll, 2014; Smith and Hurt, 2011; Bury, 2008). Without the
DESCO, 2012; Bara Neto et al., 2006). The focus of this report, how- basic infrastructure needed to move visitors around the country
ever, is on recent English-language research on transport issues in to its physical and cultural hotspots, growth in the tourism indus-
Peru and the opportunities that exist for future research, as the try likely could be stied, especially as neighboring Brazil gains
country is signicantly underrepresented in the transport geogra- tourism momentum from the 2014 World Cup and the 2016
phy literature. Given its physical properties, a critical challenge for Olympics. Across the country, only 13% of all roads are paved,
Peru is building infrastructure to facilitate better integration with although 60% of national roads are paved, which includes the
and connections to its neighbors, with Brazil (east) and Chile critically important northsouth Pan-American Highway (Fig. 2).
(south) the most important economically. As part of a larger, Many of the key highways in Peru are now operated by private
continental-wide strategy to enhance regional infrastructure, the concessions, responsible for the highways maintenance and
creation in 2000 of the Initiative for the Integration of the on-going operation. Originally built by the public sector, these con-
Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA, 2009) led to the cessions recover costs by charging tolls, which typically run about
identication of multiple hubs and corridors that would impact 2.5 cents per kilometer (this compares to an average of 0.10 cents
transportation development in Peru generally, but especially in in the U.S. and across the Euro zone, although rates do vary widely
the Amazon basin. Of particular concern has been the environmen- by country, by location, and by time of day). Trucks pay at least
tal and social impact of road building in the Peruvian Amazon twice the private-vehicle toll, depending on the number of axles
(Perz, 2014; Perz et al., 2013; van Dijck, 2013; Mki et al., 2001), and/or tires, which obviously adds a cost to the price of goods
along with concerns about the relationship between transportation transported.
and export opportunities, and the role of port facilities A nal area of signicant research in recent years on transporta-
(Wilmsmeier et al., 2014; Mesquita Moreira et al., 2013). tion geography in Peru has been attempts to understand accessibil-
A much-celebrated project that has been hailed as a signicant ity and mobility challenges in the Lima Metropolitan Area more
transport infrastructure achievement is the recent completion of effectively (Barbero, 2007). As the countrys dominant urban
254 Transport Geography Page / Journal of Transport Geography 46 (2015) 253255

similar systems in cities like Bogot, Curitiba, Quito, Santiago de

Cali, Buenos Aires, and Lima (see, e.g., Jaramillo et al., 2012).
In summary, Perus transport opportunities and challenges have
not received much attention over the past decade from transport
geographers particularly. Although there has been a robust litera-
ture exploring the countrys transport systems from myriad the-
matic perspectives, the spatial element has been mostly absent
from much of the research. New technologies like GIS could be
put to good use in understanding ow and network dynamics,
not just in the cities but across the country. More research is neces-
sary on the wider socio-economic impact of IIRSA regional hub
strategies, with more detailed analysis needed of the efcacy of
new infrastructure in the Peruvian Amazon basin and the eastern
Andean foothills. How are tourism opportunities limited or
enhanced by transport infrastructure, particularly in managing
ows between coastal and Andean tourist destinations? Are there
expansion opportunities for Limas BRT or rail networks, and what
might their impact be on property prices, economic development,
social mobility, and urban integration? Is the accelerating pri-
vatization of transport infrastructure in the best interests of
Peruvian society, and how might the redistribution of costs impact
individuals at different levels along the social hierarchy?
Fig. 1. The recently completed Billinghurst Bridge at Puerto Maldonado on the Transportation geographers have much to offer in expanding our
Brazil-Peru border, part of the Inter-Oceanic Highway. Source: Photo by the author. understanding of Perus accessibility and mobility relationships.
Planners, policy makers, and infrastructure providers need effec-
tive spatial analysis to help guide more rational and economically
region, Lima faces the usual planning, infrastructure, and trafc-
appropriate decisions.
management concerns, especially in terms of the uneven social
and spatial distribution of the citys residents (Peters and Skop,
2007). Drawing from experiences in other metropolitan regions,
Limas government has invested heavily in a transport megaproject
Barbero, J., 2007. Urban transportation. In: Guigale, M.M., Fretes-Cibils, V., Newman,
called the Va Parque Rmac expressway, using top-down private J. (Eds.), An Opportunity for a Different Per: Prosperous, Equitable, and
enterprise and planning strategies that have raised valid concerns Governable. The World Bank, Washington, D.C., pp. 268284.
about project transparency and social justice (Strauch et al., 2015). Bara Neto, P., Wilmsmeier, G., Snchez, R., 2006. Hacia un desarrollo sustentable e
integrado de la Amazona: los corredores de transporte en la cuenca amaznica
The city also has invested heavily in both bus rapid transit (BRT)
central-occidental y sus auentes principales en Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador y
and metro-rail systems aimed at relieving road congestion, reduc- Per. CEPAL, Santiago, Chile.
ing air pollution, improving mobility for the citys poorer residents, Bravo, A., 2002. The impact of improved rural roads on gender relations in Peru.
and making commuting more efcient (Martnez, 2008, 2006; Mountain Research and Development 22 (3), 221224.
Martnez and Cornejo, 2003), Of particular concern has been the Bury, J., 2008. New geographies of tourism in Peru: nature-based tourism and
conservation in the Cordillera Huayhuash. Tourism Geography 10 (3), 312333.
placing of bus stops and their relationships with trafc accidents
Delbar, F.G., Moraru, D., Garg, H., Hu, Y., 2011. The Transportation Cluster in Peru: A
and injuries as BRT usage increases (Quistberg et al., 2013). Forthcoming Challenger of the Panama Canal? Grenoble, France: Lab-Center for
There has been no shortage of articles addressing BRT and metro/- Competitiveness, 211-018-1. <
light rail system development across Latin America, but almost all products/view?id=99883>.
DESCO (Centro de Estudios y Promocin del Desarrollo), 2012. Un Nuevo Plan para
of this research has taken a comparative approach by examining
Lima: Que participen todos. Lima, Peru: DESCO. <
IIRSA (Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America),
2009. Indicative Territorial Planning. Washington, D.C.: IADB-IIRSA. <http://>.
Jaramillo, C., Lizrraga, C., Grindlay, A.L., 2012. Spatial disparity in transport social
needs and public transport provision in Santiago de Cali (Colombia). J. Transp.
Geography 24, 340357.
Keeling, D.J., 2013. Transport research challenges in Latin America. J. Transp.
Geography 29, 103104.
Mki, S., Kalliola, R., Vuorinen, K., 2001. Road construction in the Peruvian Amazon:
process, causes and consequences. Environ. Conservation 28 (3), 199214.
Martnez, M.J., 2008. Advanced Integrated Rail Service for a Developing City: Lima,
Peru. Paper presented at the 15th World Congress on Intelligent Transport
Systems and ITS Americas Annual Meeting. New York, NY, November 1820.
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potential of intelligent transportation systems in a developing city, Lima, Peru.
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Martnez, M.J., Cornejo, J., 2003. Value of the facilities and attributes of new heavy
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infrastructure and regional exports with a challenging geography. In: Mesquita
Moreira, M., Blyde, J.S., Volpe Martincus, C., Molina, D. (Eds.), Too Far to Export:
Domestic Transport Costs and Regional Export Disparities in Latin America and
Fig. 2. A truck bound for Puerto de Lomas on the Peruvian south coast traverses the
the Caribbean. Washington, D.C.: Inter-American Development Bank, pp. 175
Pan American Highway. Source: Photo by the author.
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