Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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8.5.1 Barriers to Technology Transfer between Countries

The barriers to technology transfer of transport options between countries discussed above can be categorised into technological, financial, institutional, information and social. These should be seen along with the generic barriers already discussed in Chapter 5 of this report. In the transport sector, an overriding barrier that require emphasis is the lack of an enabling business environment for both technology supplier and technology recipient countries to promote technology transfer. Industrialised countries, which are mostly technology suppliers, can institute economic and fiscal measures and regulations with the necessary compliance regimes that can stimulate the private sector to transfer transport technologies. Technology recipients, which are mostly developing countries, need to create the enabling environment that is receptive to transport technologies (UNEP, 1998). Lack of a suitable enabling environment is particularly absent in low-income and capital constrained countries. In general, technology recipient countries need to build an effective business environment to attract involvement of the private sector, which is now increasing its role in transport technology flows, especially in transport infrastructure.

An important technical barrier to technology inflows to any country is lack of the necessary manufacturing capabilities, especially in technology recipient countries. Additionally, a lack of companies to undertake sub-contracting, as may be required by large transport companies, and the absence of suitable facilities for training and RD&D can create serious problems for technology development and transfer. An important financial barrier is access to capital, because most of the transport options are very expensive and involve long lead times such as building or modifying highways and bridges. These activities may involve significant capital outlay and many institutions with different interests. Harmonising and optimising these interests can prove to be challenging (Pacudan, 1999). Also, implementing some non-motorised measures such as wider use of cycling can be expensive, because of the need for dedicated lanes and other support infrastructure, which would be a barrier for many countries. Lack of compliance and arbitration institutions can be a barrier for effective private sector participation. Lack of knowledge of the existence and development of environmentally friendly transport options, including their weaknesses and benefits, will be a major barrier in adopting them. This is common among technology recipients. Differences in social and cultural systems among countries can be a barrier, because some transport options are sensitive to these differences. Adopting cycling may require certain lifestyle change as well as some other non-motorised systems. Similarly, adoption of recently smaller and more fuel-efficient cars that is being manufactured by many of the major manufacturers may not be acceptable to many countries because of their transport needs. Political will by respective governments for technology transfer is needed and so can be a major obstacle if absent.

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