The government has announced proposed private sector plans to build three new highways in the Klang Valley to resolve congestion issues. We discuss whether the rationale for more highways holds water and policy measures to ease perennial urban traffic jams with transport consultant Rosli Azad. Source here.
Thanks to our volunteer Miss B, we have summarised the podcast so that you can have a quick read:
Q: Are highways a solution to our congestions issues and what are the concerns that should be raised on the sudden announcement of highway approvals in the city?
1. No one in the world builds highways to alleviate congestions. They build highways for the purpose of a bypass or as a ring road.
2. Highways by its very nature, attracts traffic.
Q: The lack of details in approving these highway approvals have triggered many questions. What are your main concerns?
1. There is no master plan for the Klang Valley city. One is needed to determine the number of car, taxis, trains and bus trips are expected to be made before deciding what is to be built in the city.
2. We don't have a master plan, hence decisions are made on an adhoc basis
3. Another major issue is the constant floods in KL. Why is this issue not solved first instead of focusing on building more highways?
Q: In your opinion are there any justification for building more highways in the Klang Valley?
1. The minister has said that he hopes the highways will solve traffic congestions. We cannot plan on the basis of hope.
2. The minister seems to be accepting private sector proposals for the planning of the entire Klang Valley city. Why do we leave the planning aspect of a massive Klang Valley area to the private sector who have companies that have an interest in collecting toll?
3. These companies will only be interested on building highways in high demand corridors where they forecast to have huge volume of traffic that will be channeled to their highways. This is in order to collect toll and justify the cost of building the highways in the first place.
4. On the contrary, the government should first have a master building plan, and if found that they don't have the budget to build on a particular alignment, they then can invite the private sector companies to build the highways, and not the other way around.
5. It has to be on the basis of an open tender, and not to accept the proposals from the private sector.
*Q: Does the traffic congestions have anything to do with the poor design of the planning of our roads in the city? *
1. They build at specific zones to attract traffic/direct volume onto the highways, with the believe that traffic speed will increase. However, that is a false assumption, and because of tolled highways, other adjacent areas will become more congested as people will take the residential roads to bypass the tolls.
Q: One seemingly obvious solution to congestion is public transportation, but this has problems of its own, ranging from last mile connectivity to the facilities themselves. So how do you think the government should approach this?
1. The government need to know what is the "first-mile" and the "last-mile" that users go through when using MRT/LRT
2. At the moment, the government is only providing carparks. In other words, they expect the public to drive to the stations, park their car, and take the LRT/MRT. There are no facilities to connect to these stations.
3. We should emulate other cities where Congestion Charges are implemented for driving into the cities.
1. The frustration is why are there private sector proposals circumventing the planning process?
2. Where is the thought process to connect PJD Link highway connect to the MRT/LRT?
Note: The above summary is for brevity. Please listen to the entire podcast for the details.