smart energy + transportation infrastructure

Infrastructure investments in remote areas can transform landscapes and watersheds, unleashing irreversible, destructive change. Projects' impacts vary considerably and their approval is dependent on small groups of public decision-makers. Investments, especially remote roads, are often economically inefficient and usually have unnecessarily large environmental and social impacts. These characteristics - variable quality, concentrated decision-making, economic flaws and design shortcomings - add up to a big conservation opportunity, one in which good economic analyses can be influential. CSF's Smart Energy + Transportation Infrastructure program provides training to conservationists and decision-makers, as well as comprehensive cost-benefit analyses of infrastructure projects, such as dams and roads. Keen understanding of these projects at multiple levels of society will result in better decisions and large-scale conservation gains.

Smart Energy + Transportation Infrastructure

Why economics is key to addressing environmental
impacts of roads.

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CSF has developed the below tools to help analyze the effects of infrastructure and provide a platform to stimulate debate, transparency and ultimately good decisions on large-scale development. These tools allow users to understand energy options and calculate various factors to help determine which projects make the most economic and environmental sense, providing immediate results that could impact the future of fragile ecosystems and local communities world-wide.


The HydroCalculator computes the economic, environmental and social aspects of the hydroelectric dams. With this tool, users can analyze planned or prospective dams by inputting data on the location of the dam, its cost, reservoir size and capacity. The tool computes the economic return, greenhouse gas emissions, habitat loss and people displaced per megawatt of capacity. Projects can be ranked and viewed on a global map, where they are color-coded according to their economic rate of return.


The Roads Filter is an analysis tool that ranks 36 road projects in the Amazon region depending on their level of economic, environmental, socio-political, and cultural risk. The overall risk of each project is assessed through an index built from 17 variables grouped into four categories and weighted according to their relative importance. Users can sort the roads by country, road or rank and adjust weights by creating custom filters and modifying each rank according to preference.