New Mobility, Better Choices . . . And Taking Climate Change Seriously

In a conversation about one of the critical issues and decision points being set out in my forthcoming collaborative book, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City” — namely the fundamental structural importance of the climate/transport link — I was told yesterday by a well-placed person in Malaysia that no one in Penang or indeed Malaysia (or for that matter  pretty much anywhere else on our gasping planet) takes climate change seriously.  At least sufficiently seriously to even consider changing their daily transport choices (which it just happens is what my book is all about.).

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CONGESTION AS POLICY. (You have seen worse.)

Whether or not congestion is “good” is one thing.  But what is for sure is that one way or another congestion is policy, or at the very least a policy option. And in some cases quite possibly a wise one.

Now this has been said many  times  by many people in many places, yet despite its incontrovertible wisdom the message continues to get lost on policy makers.  So in cases like this, we have to take a page out of the book of good people who sell us iPhones and cars, and keep repeating our message.

Today let’s hand over the podium to Kent Strumpell  from Los Angeles and see what he had to say on our subject in LA Streetsblog back in early 2008. To this reader it has lost none of relevance over almost a decade.  Read on. Continue reading

Towards Sustainable Transport in Malaysia – What we already knew in 2001 and are steadfastly ignoring today

Penang Changing Directions - color

The Consumer Association of Penang organized a National Seminar on Changing directions from 7-10 September 2001  in Penang, subsequent to which a report was published and we now make  freely available here in its entirety at https://goo.gl/kQVD0T. This is a remarkably prescient document which was largely ignored at the time despite the vigorous effort of the Consumers’ Association of Penang and others in the city’s lively civil society and NGOs.  Somehow neither Penang or the national government were prepared to devote time and resources to finding the path to sustainable transport in cities. (And they were not the only ones.)

The policy of directly or indirectly encouraging the use of private motor cars and motorcycles to meet the transport needs of our people has had severe effects on the quality of life in the cities and on the economy and efficiency of urban transportation.

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WHOSE OPINION MATTERS? Lessons from a stakeholder engagement process for Penang, Malaysia

This study examines stakeholder involvement in a transportation plan in Penang, Malaysia. The study employs a qualitative methodology and uses select indicators to evaluate the engagement process. Despite a concerted effort to engage the public, the government failed to resolve conflicts with key stakeholder groups.

Author: Minal Pathak • MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program 2017
* PDF Download available from https://goo.gl/AhBC4o

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Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit Project – Environmental Impact Assessment Report

Volumes 1 to 3 now available after a considerable delay  for public inspection, review and comment

WHAT IS THIS?

We have just received from a concerned NGO, who prefers to remain anonymous, a full set of copies of the three massive SRS volumes submitted for public scrutiny, reflection  and comment under the title  “Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit project – Environmental Impact Assessment report”. We are grateful for this democratic collegial gesture and are most pleased to share it widely in Penang and beyond. These are important documents for citizen review and active participation, and need to be made widely and freely available to all. The URLs for the three volumes will be found immediately below.

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Why Alternatives Analysis is critical to Penang’s transportation future

Alternatives assessment or alternatives analysis is a problem-solving approach used in environmental design, technology, and policy. It aims to minimize environmental harm by comparing multiple potential solutions in the context of a specific problem, design goal, or policy objective. It is intended to inform decision-making in situations with many possible courses of action, a wide range of variables to consider, and significant degrees of uncertainty.

Since the early 1970’s transportation planners apply a multi-modal and/or comprehensive approach to analyzing a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes

Penang’s SRS ca. RM 50 bn “Transport Master Plan” does not make scientific use of an essential transport planning and decision tool, namely Alternatives Analysis to test and compare alternative solutions to identified mobility solutions (see below). This is a grave deficiency which discredits the entire body of proposals,, methodology and recommendations currently being actively pushed by the state government and their under-qualified  consulting partners whose expertise lies in other sectors than strategic transport planning and policy..

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