We are about to introduce this book to our 4,434 readers living and working in no less than 149 countries, most of whom in “emerging economies” — but let’s make this first part of this review very simple. If you are at all interested in the on-going tectonic shift from what we used to call “transport” or “transportation” to the far more elusive and difficult “sustainable transport” or “mobility”, especially in the context of cities, this is a book which you really have to spend some time with to read and savour. It is timely, deep, critical, fair and wise. And not only for those working in the emerging economies
(Notice: For many of our readers, students, young professionals, NGO’s or tightly funded small city administrations, the hefty price may be a problem,. But let’s first take a good look at the book and then we can talk about a possible work-around for that price.)
Help needed for better balanced coverage of ongoing Penang TMP discussions and next moves
From the beginning of my relationship with Penang starting in the summer of 2013, I decided as part of my original exploratory mission with Think City to create an open public website to share my experience widely with my international colleagues. And then based on this common data platform from time to time to solicit their professional views on technical areas with which I may be familiar for the point of view of policy, but in which I am not technically qualified.
The platform is entitled Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda. It went on line on 20 June 2013, has been carefully maintained since, and you can find it at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/
My goal in doing this was to create something along the lines of a personal “Journal of Record” of all I was seeing, hearing and learning about transport and land use issues, analysis, planning and policy in your beautiful and oh so delicate city-state. The intention was to open up the issues and discussions taking place in Penang to our extensive network of international colleagues, hopefully from a balanced professional perspective and in a comprehensive manner.
The goal of this section of the Sustainable Penang supporting websites is to provide easy access to anyone from within Penang or beyond in order to get a clear understanding of what is going on in the at-times painful path of contradictory and withheld information on the topic of how best to go about creating a sustainable, efficient and equitable mobility system for all in Penang. It works like this.
CYCLING: We have been exchanging in our several group fora in support of the Sustainable Penang project thoughts about plans and actions in favor of more, better and safer cycling for all in Penang. And of course by this we mean specifically cycling for day to day transport, cycling for men, women and children getting from their particular A to B in all parts of Penang. (though it will be interesting as well to know of their coverage of leisure and touring cycling, etc.)
So, against this background we respectfully ask the following . . .
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.
The solution to the problem of traffic congestion has been to build more roads, flyovers, interchanges, bridges and toll plazas but the problem remains
Our transport system has created what one sociologist referred to as the “rivers of death that run outside our doors”. . . It is the poor who constitute the majority of road accident vic¬tims. About 60% of all fatal accidents involve motorcyclists, 17% pedestrians, and 7% cyclists
Development, without regard to our environment, heritage and tradition, has been responsible for the despoilment of our urban landscape. Beautiful green towns and cities with open grounds, human-scale buildings and rich architectural gems have given way to ugly metropolises with dominating skyscrapers, megamalls and ugly transport infrastructure.
And that is just a taste of which this excellent document offers still today. Read on . . .
A Big Bang approach to a Sustainable Penang
The full content of the official Penang Transport Master Plan (SRS version) as available on 27 June 2016 is reproduced here for the convenience of our international visitors interested to follow progress . As indicated this is considered by local government as a living document, subject to extensions and updates. For the latest version of this document: http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my