Penang transport masterplan in the pipeline


From what I hear, a Penang transport masterplan is in the pipeline, with the state government believed to be working now on the terms of reference.

Once the TOR are finalised, an open tender is likely be held, perhaps in the second quarter of 2010, for the actual work of formulating the masterplan, which could take about a year to complete.

The emphasis of the plan is likely to be on sustainable transport. I hope the masterplan will try and wean people away from private vehicle ownership and encourage them to switch to public transport. In line with this, the focus of new infrastructure spending should be on public transport and pedestrian networks (and perhaps even cycling facilities) rather than new highways. The masterplan should also try and maximise the potential of water-based transport in the state.

This would be a golden opportunity for the Penang state government to do something quite different from the rest of Malaysia. Transport is a big issue in Penang, with many expressing frustration with traffic jams during school and public holidays.

If the state government can get this right and come up with a viable sustainable transport masterplan, it would enhance Penang’s green credentials and help us reduce our carbon footprint.

The big question now is, would the Penang Outer Ring Road and other new highways be part of the masterplan, or can we think of more sustainable alternatives? These alternative could perhaps involve the greater use of buses (bus rapid transit?) or other alternatives that are cost-effective and more environmentally friendly, with seamless integration between various modes of transports.

We need to be creative and think of alternatives, bearing in mind the need to curb the increasing congestion in the state (more highways, which assume higher private vehicle ownership, would contribute to congestion), the declining global and domestic supply of oil (which will lead to higher oil prices in the future), and rising greenhouse gas emissions (that is causing climate chaos).

Combined with other initiatives such as campaigns to reduce the use of plastic bags and to promote the use of biodegradable food containers for Thaipusam and other festivals (and next, how about a campaign to improve our food security and self-sufficiency and to go into renewable energy in a big way?), Penang could really lead the rest of the country and even the region as a centre for green, sustainable initiatives.

If we go down this road, then we could put ourselves on the regional map as a showcase of what is possible in terms of sustainable development, much like how it has put the spotlight on the Brazilian city of Curitiba in South America.

Not only would we be enhancing the quality of life of Penangites, we would also be doing our bit to save the planet. Now that would be something to be proud of.

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8 Nov 2011 11.43am

firstly, i was instantly impressed by your caption from Amos.
Now to my question..with all the talk about transparency, i’ve had a really hard time finding out where to find the “masterplan”, especially on the road network in penang. I live in BM and it has the highest concentration of flyovers being built due to the double tracking and nobody seems to know the new road alignments.
Same goes with the connecting network of roads to the 2nd link.
Any advise on where i can get a peek on all these secrets?

15 Oct 2010 10.11am

I went to several countries (Singapore, United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan) and enjoyed taking their mass rapid transit system and other public transportations. It was convenient. We may still own a private car but we can use less petrol and pro-long the service period. The private car can be used for personal travel outstation to other more remote places. If the local car industry is scared of losing business, have you wonder why it was never a problem for S’pore, USA, Hong Kong and Taiwan. So, we should look at how other countries’ transporation policies. We should learn the… Read more »

25 Jan 2010 10.11am

Certainly good news, Anil!! I’ve always been dreaming of being able to cycle safely around Penang. i don’t in reality because it isn’t safe. Cycling is more healthy, keeps us in shape and eco-friendly. This news is like winning the lottery, what are we going to do with the money? BUT we have to be realistic and understand that it won’t happen overnight. Firstly, who’s going to finance this transport project? Should we suggest that multi-national companies that want to invest in Penang put their investment into green technology and development instead of leaving it all to the State government?… Read more »

22 Jan 2010 2.59am

support for ahmad syafiq and anil netto… and to gerakan K… malaysia can still continue to produce cars but don’t market us such low quality at twice of that a quality car’s “original” price… japan and south korea produces most of the cars in Asia but seriously how many of its local are actually buying it in their own country’s big cities ??? plus Penang is a very established highly-concentrated urban area… public transportation are way more efficient than private transportation… hei, think of it rather than spending heavy taxes to subsidies petrol for some >2.0 litres (and also non-Malaysian… Read more »

21 Jan 2010 9.16pm

Really good news. Public transport is critical in the major cities and it’s wonderful to see the state govts of Selangor and Penang address these issues.

21 Jan 2010 7.28pm

The Penang government should move away from traditional transport planning which involves traffic engineers doing their fine analysis and mathematical models. The usual result of such transport planning is expansion of capacities. They should do contemporary transport planning where the focus is on access and TDM – Transport demand planning. In this modern planning, the focus is on access and transit and discouraging use of personal vehicles. Imagine what the second bridge will do for us, it will bring in more traffic and density thus congesting the already overloaded transport infrastructure. Instead if the money on the second bridge was… Read more »

Ahmad Syafiq
Ahmad Syafiq
21 Jan 2010 6.17pm

Yo Gerakan K, ever heard of opportunity cost? Ever heard of creating ‘more winners than losers’?

If you’re talking about Perodua and Proton going out of business, you’re talking in the wrong perspective. We’re only talking about Penang.

Perodua and Proton sell their cars all over the country, not just Penang ok?

Besides, even with the efficient public transport, many people would already by now have bought Myvi. It’s just a matter of using Myvi, or do they want public transport for a change? Think about the benefits.

21 Jan 2010 3.06pm

Yahoo, Anil, thks for the great news !!!

I will be the first one to sell my car…

Actually, it has been in my mind wanted to treat you, Anil, minum kopi di Coffee Bean, Bellisa Row, even though sometimes i really dislike your habit of censorship… Anyway, am in KL at this moment…

The truth is, i always admire and appreciate your work, your blog…

I must say, you are a very good blogger, a very professional one !!!

God bless you and family always !!!

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
21 Jan 2010 1.39pm

Proton and Perodua will be going out of business if public transport is so efficient. No need for private cars for the majority. By the way, now is the harvesting time for all slogans that were shouted, trips to police station, and endless empty promises.

22 Jan 2010 4.00pm
Reply to  Gerakan K

Have you ever heard of Park & Ride Scheme?

20 Jun 2011 6.06pm
Reply to  Gerakan K

In 10 to 15 years, the petrol price will be many times what we are paying now. Driving a car will become super luxury.
If we don’t have any comprehensive tranport network. the economic of penang will be fallen behind.