Penang transport master plan: Consultants clarify


The consultants for the Penang transport master plan have responded to an earlier post on this blog.

Halcrow consultant David Turner writes:

Dear Anil Netto,

I have read your article with interest.

I would like to clarify a number of issues raised therein.

The exhibition on the Overarching Transport Master Plan sets out a Core Strategy for implementation before 2020 and two possible ways forward after that date.

We (the Consultants) are recommending that the Core Strategy be adopted and are consulting the public on the two alternative longer term ways forward.

The Core Strategy is targeted primarily at making the existing transport systems within Penang work properly

The two longer term alternatives are based either around

– Building only new roads


– Taking a more Balanced approach, whereby some roads are built, but the main emphasis is targeted towards improving public transport and persuading Penangites to use it through initially increasing parking charges and ultimately imposing access charges (road user charges) on those that drive into George Town and Butterworth.

In terms of the strategy study objectives, the Balanced Approach is the preferred way forward. However, it has a number of features that might be unacceptable to the general public – these revolve around firstly the need to take away road space so as to achieve the necessary public transport improvements and secondly the need (in the longer term) to impose new road user charges on motorists who drive into George Town and Butterworth.

Both of these issues are, in our opinion, likely to be just as controversial as that of building new roads

At this point in time, we have therefore made no definitive recommendations in terms of the appropriate longer term way forward. Instead, we are seeking public opinion on these issues.

After the public consultation it is likely that we will be making a definitive recommendation, taking into account both the technical work we have already completed and the response we get from the public.

In my view, setting out the pros and cons of each option and seeking public comments at this time is the right way forward – It is a much better way forward than us, as outsiders to Penang, simply imposing our solutions on the residents of the State and offering no choice.

Ultimately, it is our belief that the validity of the finally selected Penang Transport Master Plan Strategy will be considerably strengthened as a result of going trough this process.

For any one who is interested in these issues, the exhibition material can be viewed at the Penang Transport Council website and details of the consultation process can also be obtained from this website.

My brief comment:

Dear David Turner

I just feel that the adverse medium- and long-term consequences of adopting the New-Roads-and-Highways Approach should be clearly spelled out to Penangites so that they can make an informed choice. This Highways Approach leads to greater dependence on fossil fuels, congestion and gridlock, and pollution. This unsustainable approach should not even be put on the table for consideration and its consequences must be clearly stated in no uncertain terms.

While there are cons in adopting a Public Transport Approach, the pain and sacrifice is mainly in the short-term, while the benefits are felt in the longer term. This approach leads to more sustainable transport in the future.

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George Tham
George Tham
27 Apr 2012 1.45am

Nice work, Anil. I think this matter needs more publicity. Much much more as i think not many even are aware of a transport master plan is being worked out let alone give suggestions.

Please use all posible methods to publicise this matter. The transport website should be advertised in maor news papers or send flyers or road banners or what ever.

Hope i make sense

Steven Tan
27 Apr 2012 1.16am

The only viable long term solution is to implement either a MRT or a LRT. Buses will never be efficient owing to cultural reasons. The state has to be able to afford the system. Once it’s done, the state then can think of ways to reduce reliance on cars, and to make Penang a greener, livable city. I believe the people does not want Penang to be like Singapore or some other cities in the world. We have our own unique heritage and we must be creative to incorporate this into our Master Plan (If we have one). Just as… Read more »

Bakar Brothers
Bakar Brothers
27 Apr 2012 7.14am
Reply to  Steven Tan

penang got seafront attraction which the locals prefer not to let the masses know about it. we fear pollution caused by high traffic to that site.
hint: many foreigners charter “sampan” to get there.

syiok syiok
syiok syiok
26 Apr 2012 6.17pm

while we await the response from consultant Mr David Turner in anil’s blog; let’s hear a song from another David Turner.

syiok syiok
syiok syiok
26 Apr 2012 5.57pm

Dear Mr David Turner I hope you are reading anil’s blog especially while you are still in Penang. You will get familiarized with local stylo-mylo ways of thinking very fast and hence able to recommend good proposal very fitting to local mindsets 🙂 🙂 🙂 I agree with anil that more new road creation only invites more vehicles on the road resulting in more fossil fuel air pollution since majority yet to drive hybrid cars yet (Proton not yet make and hence imported ones made very expensive). I agree with one of your proposals to make the road users to… Read more »

26 Apr 2012 9.17am

Penang Transport Master Plan booth at level 3 Komtar may not receive as much heated responses as in Anil’s blog; so people like Ah Soon should approach or email the suggestions to [email protected].
There is a A4 survey form titled “Penang Overarching Transport Master Plan Strategy” which you can fill up with your ideas and submit on the spot.

Alternatively, I also suggest Penang Master Plan Study Team to pick up valuable feedbacks from Anil’s blog.

Any way for you to highlight the suggestions in your blog to be more visible to the authority ? 🙂

Big Bang Boom
Big Bang Boom
26 Apr 2012 4.41pm
Reply to  rilakkuma

David Turner do check out comments/suggestions in anil’s blog on how to improve penang traffic master plan. your job will be make easier if you can exchange your expert views with local experts like Ah Soon, King Kong, Yang, Ahmad Sobri, Gerakan K etc etc.