A LESSON FOR PENANG
The great weakness of the local political establishment to Penang’s transport planning and policy needs is that they have insufficient technical backgrounds and knowledge to solve the mobility problems the people of Penang . This was made clear by the final Halcrow report in 2013 and nothing has been done since to improve the situation.
There are other more effective approaches to dealing with these problems with a strategy of affordable policies, measures and tools capable of giving swift results and a fraction of the costs of the proposed massive infrastructure program, the PTMP.
Let’s have a look at the Canadian report “Rethinking Malahat Solutions: Or, Why Spend a Billion Dollars if a Five-Million Dollar Solution is Better Overall?” at www.vtpi.org/malahat.pdf
Since TDM (Transportation Demand Management) is a key pillar of the New Mobility Agenda strategy, and of our now forming-up Five Percent Challenge Climate Emergency program, it is important that the basic distinctions are clear for all. In one of our recent master classes, when several students asked me to clarify for them, I turned the tables instead and asked them, since we are now firmly in the 21st century, to go home, spend a bit of time online and come up with something that answered their question to their satisfaction. Here is what they came up with, taken whole hog from http://bit.ly/2rTxHrr (which we then lightly edited together and offer for your reading pleasure).
Comment from Yueh Kwong Leong in today’s WhatsApp S/P exchanges: “Kaohsiung in Taiwan was considered the most polluted industrial city in Asian. It is today considered as one of the most green city in Asia.”
Kaohsiung, yes! Good example.
For the record, we have been strategically involved in the Kaohsiung transition process in the transport sector since 2009. Among that city’s great accomplishments have been an important capacity building effort over the last decade, both within the various local government offices, but also because Taiwan has developed world level technical, planning and policy capabilities and a professional/university network that puts the necessary expertise at the fingertips of local government. These networks of competence are important factors in the advances being made not only in Kaohsiung but also a number of other cities in Taiwan. (Cities compete!)
As far as I am concerned this is THE GREAT WEAK POINT in your capabilities in Penang today – and the general chaos that has surrounded the so-called PTMP has in large part due to these persistent technical competence deficits.
Dr. AH Abdul Hamid, an eminent traffic and transport engineer from the School of Housing, Building and Planning at the USM, has recently issued a strong call to respond to the at times acrimonious debate between the government and its consultants who are defending a high cost, car-oriented, project-oriented “Big Bang” program of costly investments (PTMP), and on the other side a coalition of representatives of civil society in Penang who are asking for a revised planning process that better corresponds to the needs, the environment and the vision of the people of Penang. This call, first published locally in Chinese in the China Press of August 13, 2016 was translated into English and reposted in the Wednesday edition of World Streets – http://wp.me/psKUY-4wd.
Dr. Hamad takes a step back from the increasingly acrimonious public arguments and recommends that
- “the government engage independent experts to study both the proposals by SRS and the NGOs, based on best scientific estimates of construction cost, acquisition cost, maintenance and operation cost, life cycle, opportunity costs and externalities, ridership, environmental and life quality impacts, cultural and heritage issues, impacts on vulnerable populations, etc. . . . instead of keep on arguing.”
Inspired by this call for perspective in the following article I have pulled out of my working notes this article sketching what I believe to be the first basics of an appropriate planning structure and strategy for the much-needed rethink, based on the experience of many cities at the leading edge of sustainable transport that works for all. In this form it is not an easy read, and for that I appologize. My point is that we need to find a solid science-based middle ground, and as Hilmy advises get on with it “instead of keep on arguing.”
For extensive background on both sides of this debate readers are invited to consult the right hand column of the Sustainable Penang/New Mobility website at https://sustainablepenang.wordpress.com/, .
OPEN DATA BLOG / INNOVATION
Transport Open Data and the convenience revolution
– NSW Government, Australia
This gives an indication of the level of competence and foresight that is needed to come up with a viable “Sustainable Transport Master Plan” worthy of the name for Penang. Continue reading
COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTS: REVIEW OF URBAN CONGESTION
TRENDS, IMPACTS AND SOLUTIONS
Study of Successful Congestion Management Approaches and the Role of Charging, Taxes,
Levies and Infrastructure and Service Pricing in Travel Demand Management