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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Towards a sustainable transport system

IN MARCH last year, after Petaling Jaya residents made their feelings clear in opposing an elevated tolled road through the centre of the city, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali instructed his administration to prepare a State Public Transport Master Plan (SPTM) based on a sustainable, environmentally-friendly, modern public transport system.

In August 2015, the Selangor State Economic Planning Unit (Upen) initiated the Selangor Public Transport Master Plan Study (SPTMP) with the objective of curbing the out-of–control and growing traffic congestion in urban areas by adopting the target figure that 60% of personal travel should use public transport.

The SPTMP has been completed and its main findings are in line with and support the transport planning principles laid down by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in its Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley Land Transport Master Plan.

However, the Selangor Master Plan extends the concepts into Selangor to serve a growing conurbation. The Selangor transport study is based on the state’s physical and economic development master plan, but finds that the increasing gravitational pull of the metropolis will lead to an almost doubling of the urban population by 2035.

Most of the development required to accommodate the future population and their attendant services will take place in Selangor as an extension of the conurbation.

To cope with 60% of the urban travel that this scale of growth will generate, the SPTMP calls for a structured plan based on new mass transit, public transit lines with development around stations and transport hubs configured as high-density “transit-orientated development” (TOD) to maximise convenience and accessibility.

The proposals take the classical form of the “wheel-and-spoke” arrangement, advocated many years ago by Dr R. Smeed of the UK Transport and Road Research Laboratory, as the optimum transport layout for an urban area.

To free up the KTM lines in the Klang Valley so they can be upgraded to become part of the high-speed, dedicated passenger line spokes leading to the central area in Kuala Lumpur, the study endorses the Federal Government’s plans for a dedicated freight line bypassing the Kuala Lumpur conurbation.

The line will serve the port from KTM main line connections in Serendah in the north and Seremban in the south. This will leave the Kuala Lumpur–Seremban section available for an improved and more frequent passenger service.

The spokes of the “wheel-and-spoke” layout of the proposed public transport system will consist of five high-speed, heavy rail services (four KTM lines plus the ERL system), supported by eight MRT and LRT lines.

The wheels or arcs will be four in number. The LRT Circle Line 2, serving a linear corridor of development running from Rawang in the north via Shah Alam to the Putrajaya transport hub in the south, will form the third wheel arc. The northern section of this line will serve the townships now under construction as part of the Selangor Vision City (SVC) concept.

The final arc will be a possible long-term extension of the LRT Line 3, from Johan Setia in Klang. This extension will curve in an arc as far as Salak Tinggi and Nilai, and integrate with the National Vision Valley in Negri Sembilan.

Within the city, the Selangor Master Plan has proposed that the original alignment proposed for the MRT Circle Line 1 should be adjusted to serve major new developments and, more importantly, those areas of Pandan in Ampang which would be deprived of the necessary new public transport system by the decision to divert MRT Line 2 out of the area to serve the Bandar Malaysia development.

The new Circle Line 1 alignment proposed by the Selangor State Study also serves Keramat, Ulu Klang, PJ East, Universiti Hospital and Section 16, Petaling Jaya.

In all, the SPTMP proposals will increase the length of the fixed-track public transport system serving the Greater Klang Valley conurbation from its present and planned length of 500km to some 670km, a 34% increase.

The master plan also recommends some new highways to maintain off-peak and weekend freedom of mobility by private vehicles, but these are limited in extent compared to past road-building programmes.

On Dec 1, 2015, the State Economic Planning Unit organised a focus-group meeting to introduce the transport plan proposals. The participants included federal agencies such as SPAD, KTMB, LLM, MRT Corp and Prasarana as well as all local authorities and major township developers.

To accommodate the SPTMP proposals, the Selangor State Structure Plan will require some amendments to match development with the new transport system and to adjust the land use and development densities to conform with the TOD principles. This, however, is a small price to pay in order to gain the benefits of a sustainable, environmentally-friendly transport system.

GOH BOK YEN

Petaling Jaya

Tags / Keywords: Central Region , Transport Safety , Goh Bok Yen , Selangor Transport Master Plan

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