Use of Location-Allocation Models for Improving the Geographical Accessibility of Rural Services in Developing Countries
Many developing countries are in the process of selecting new locations for providing basic human services to rural populations. These location decisions are critically important to development because a large proportion of their population is rural and their transport and communication systems are often poorly developed and costly to use. Many national governments and international agencies have recognized this fact and have responded with planning efforts to improve locational decision making. They realize that in the future it will be difficult to modify location patterns that are being determined today.
Beginning in the 1960s and widely applied in the 1970s, location-allocation methods are the only formal methods that have been developed to find optimal locations when many alternative locations exists. These methods evaluate alternative combinations of feasible locations and select the combination that performs best with respect to a defined objective (see Hansen, Peeters and Thisse, 1983; Hodgart, 1978).
This chapter reviews applications of location-allocation models in developing countries and comments on some areas of locational decision making where these models would appear to be useful but where they have not in fact been used. The chapter concludes by suggesting areas of research that would improve the potential of existing optimizing methods for improving the location of services in developing countries.