The chart above by Penang Forum shows us that cars make up 96% of the modal share in Penang compared with just 33% in Singapore.
What is more striking is that we have 100 metres of highway per 1,000 people in Penang while Singapore has just 30 metres of highway. So we have 3.4 times more highways per 1,000 people than Singapore has.
Notice that even though we have more highways per 1,000 people, we have zero stretches of roads where public transport has right of way (ROW) eg dedicated lanes.
Now here is where it gets more interesting. The aim of the Penang transport masterplan is to raise the public transport modal share from the present 4-5% to 40% by 2030. That means the car modal share would have to drop to 60%.
What would happen if we reach 40% use of public transport? Why, the number of cars on the road in 2030 would be 29% fewer than now! (See the chart below)
If that’s the case, we don’t need to build more highways and in fact, we could just as well provide dedicated lanes for public transport along certain stretches. It is that simple.
So why are we planning to build another 70km of highways (including 32km of elevated highways and 23km of tunnels) in our tiny state?
It just doesn’t make sense that the Penang government wants to spend a fortune on highways. Why don’t we just invest a fraction of those billions of ringgit in a top-class cost-efficient public transport system.
Thanks to the Penang Forum team for preparing these charts.