Sustainable Transport Planners Bookshelf (intro)


virtual library hand book penangIn support of the Better Choices process we are working hard to develop an open on-line library resource with select references on sources intended to be useful to planners, local government, decision makers, operators, the media, students, and concerned elements of civil society. These documents and references are being selected with the counsel of leading international authorities in our field.

For latest information on the Better Choices: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Smaller Asian Cities project, of which the Bookshelf is one part, click to

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Planning and Policy Objectives for a Real Strategic Transport Plan for Penang


Again and again and again, when it comes to “transport master planning” in Penang, it seems as if we always end up circling to the same old structurally wrong thing. And in the process allowing the undertrained proponents of the Big Bang “solution” of the present government package, to occupy the center of the debate. This is a huge mistake.

It is my position that the starting place for responsible and effective transport planning and policy in Penang is NOT to link it to land deals —  but to look at the challenge in and of itself. From a well defined, explicit strategic perspective.

Some will say that they do not have enough money to accomplish their objectives — which quickly become wild, pharaonic, costly and not related to the real problems and priorities at hand. Remember, transport for people and not for cars (infrastructure included)

Here is the simple question that the policy makers need to ask and resolve.

(a) What is it that they can accomplish for the people of Penang,

(b) working with available resources in order to

(c) alleviate the day-to-day mobility problems of the people of Penang – with

(d) especial attention to the needs of the poorer half of society and the vulnerable populations (elderly, handicapped, poor, isolated, non-car owners, and

(e) above all women of all ages and stations of life, and in

(f) in the coming four years, i.e., 2017-2020.

How hard is that? And why is no one minding this store?

Please someone, tell me why this is not being done?

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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions -- and in the process, find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. More at:

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Road safety in Malaysia: What, who and why?

Malaysia reports to the World Health Organization on the order of 24 traffic fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants in recent years, sharing this ranking with countries like Chad, Namibia, Eritrea, and Swaziland. Countries with anywhere from one half to one tenth of the GDP/capita of the average Malaysian.

Roughly two thirds of the total killed were on motorcycles of varying sizes. Most of them were young people. This rate has not declined in recent years.

traffic accident death Penang

Where in the Penang Transportation Master Plan(PTMP)  can we find the analysis, conclusions and policy recommendations to do something about it?  And could this be shared with the public?

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Towards a New Mobility Agenda for Penang: October 2016

Penang Forum meeting

Penang Forum meeting


An open letter to Mr. Joshua Woo
Special Officer to Member of Parliament of Bukit Mertajam

Subject: – Commentary on your article appearing in the Penang Monthly October issue under the title “Better, Cheaper, Faster – Really?” –

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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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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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There is more than one way of changing the quality of transportation and public space in a city.  And more than all of the Big Bang projects that grotesque amounts of money can buy, at the end of the day the most important thing to change in all this is our minds.

And those changes, and hopefully the creative educational process which goes along with it, can be very small indeed.  You do one small visible thing, and then another, and then another again and suddenly everyone in your city starts to look at the issues in a different way.

Here’s an example of what we might call a “Little Bang” project which you and your friends could do quickly and well, and the only thing it would cost to would be the price of an hour of on-street parking space in George Town, Butterworth, or any other transportation hub in Penang with lots of physical, on-Street metered parking.  It is called a PARK(ing) Day.

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