Bigger, Wider, Faster and More Roads for Penang . . . : Politicians, Engineers, External Costs (And you)


What are the actual costs off building bigger, wider, fast and more roads for Penang: Let’s start by hearing two conflicting and in many ways typical opinions:

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Wrong about widening the roads? FOLLOW THE MONEY”


Dr. Pojani in her lecture at Penang Heritage  of Friday entitled “Urban Transport Crisis in Small and Medium Size Developing Cities and the Effectiveness of Countermeasures” — at one point advises us to FOLLOW THE MONEY.  Now that’s an interesting comment and really makes me wish I had been with you. Here’s an example of how I interpret this counsel from my perspective as a strategic planner.

Thanks to Andrew we have a YouTube recording of the Dr. Pojani lecture – at . Hopefully her presentation slides will be available shortly for all those of us who were not in Penang that day.

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Op-ed: Urban Transport Crisis in Small and Medium Size Developing Cities


“Medium-sized cities” such as Penang better-off with bus transit system, as it is cost efficient and implementable, says urban transport expert Dr Dorina Pojani.

By Predeep Nambiar | September 24, 2016. Source:
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Driving to Work in Tel Aviv At Seven Miles Per Hour:

The Numbers Behind Israel’s Traffic Woes

* Excerpt from  more:

Many kilometers of road have been paved in recent years, which has done nothing to reduce congestion because of the growing number of cars.

Meanwhile, 1,555 km of new roads were paved in the last decade, leading Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to boast not a little about his “infrastructure revolution.”

Dr. Moshe Givoni, head of the Transport Research Unit at Tel Aviv University, shrugs that more and more roads get built because people figure that will resolve the congestion – but by now, we know it won’t because when there’s a void, it gets filled: People just buy more cars. Nor does parking get less stressful. It’s patently obvious, Givoni repeats the patently obvious, that the Greater Tel Aviv area needs better transportation.

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* Most definitely not a city without cars, but a city in which living without a car is, on the grounds of convenience, comfort and economics for many preferable to living with one.  It is not about government interference or compulsion. It is a scenario which offers more and better choices.  (Does your city offer that choice?)

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SEDUCTIVE BUT DESTRUCTIVE GOALS: Congestion-free and affordable driving

Penang. Highway construction. Source: Reuters

Penang. Highway construction. Source: reuters

Urban transport decision-makers face huge pressures to keep driving uncongested and to keep it cheap. But take a look at cities that have worked long and hard to get free-flowing traffic and affordable driving. I doubt you will like what you see. This point was a central theme of Paul Barter’s chapter “Achieving Sustainable Mobility” which appears in The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 jointly published late last year by UN-ESCAP and UN-HABITAT.

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Kindest thanks to the ever-observant Anil Netto for drawing this to my attention. And in fact at the back of my mind as I wrote the piece was the hope that this had been done but sitting here on the other side of the planet, I did not have the info at hand.

He pointed me to an article entitled “From Park(ing) Day, to Bersih 4, to Pakatan Harapan”  at, where I learned:

  1. Penang has already done it in 2015.
  1. As far as they know, George Town is the first city in Malaysia to celebrate Park(ing) Day.

How it worked in 2015 *

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