I READ with interest the report “Council appoints checker to assess TIA reports” (Metro News, The Star, March 8) regarding the requirement for Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) reports on Penang Island by private developers to be inspected by an independent checker (IC) starting this year.
As a professional in the transport and traffic field who promotes sustainable development (transport and mobility) in Sabah and beyond, I would like to suggest a good, if not best, practice for reviewing TIA submissions of proposed transport and traffic mitigation measures related to site development/re-development.
The review can be done by a technical committee led by the planning authority (such as Penang Island City Council) with members comprising stakeholders from local government departments/agencies (such as Public Works Department) and local NGOs like Penang’s SPEAD (a development body comprising surveyors, planners, engineers, architects and developers).
Observers could include individual stakeholders (such as local community leaders and representatives from institutes of higher learning) who are registered with the planning authority to be consulted in their TIA of interest.
The consultant who is engaged by the developer needs to present the TIA to a technical committee for discussion and review of the proposed transport and traffic mitigation measures.
Prior to the briefing, the consultant who is conducting the TIA must discuss with the planning authority and/or its members (checkers of the assessment) at a very early stage to understand the transport and traffic concerns associated with the development.
This should include projections of “the future we want” for the local area being assessed.
The inclusion of government departments/agencies, NGOs and registered individual stakeholders relevant to the site development in the review of the TIA report would help not only to develop capability and capacity towards good practice in the field of transport and traffic but also shape a liveable city that offers quality of life comforts.
If required, the independent TIA checker can still function within the technical committee as a mentor to the planning authority. However, the focus should not be just on traffic issues but both transport and traffic under the concept of sustainable development.