Op-Ed: Handling Uncertainty in Transport Planning and Decision Making

TRAFFUC LIGHT TREE - LARGE

Report of a roundtable discussion held in London on 20 July 2018.

– by Glenn Lyons.  Full report available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/37926

Abstract

In the 1700s, the French philosopher Voltaire reportedly said “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” The transport sector is becoming increasingly alive to how uncertain the future is. There is significant (or ‘deep’) uncertainty about the extent to which existing trends, relationships, technologies, economic and social forces, preferences and constraints will carry into the future. Uncomfortable though it may be, there is a need in our transport planning and decision making to avoid absurdity and address this. This report reflects the insights gained from a roundtable workshop in London convened to discuss the matter.

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COSTS, BENEFITS AND HIATUS OF THE ORIGINAL PENANG TRANSPORT MASTER PLAN

Credit: Simphewe Nkwali (Eco-Mobiliy Johannesburg

* * * COLLABORATIVE THINKING EXERCISE (DRAFT 1) * * *

Government of the people, by the people, for the people

Please have a look and, if interested, may we have your thoughts about these and other impact areas that in your view need to be taken into consideration in order to have a full and shared understanding  of these impacts of the proposed and latest SDS Penang Transport Master Plan.

We need to be clear about this. The objective here is not to criticize or belittle the State’s efforts at improving the short-comings and potential of today’s transportation arrangements in Penang.  Rather the goal is to provide open citizen feedback to their proposals to all levels of government, civil society and the public at large.  As President Abraham Lincoln put it at a hard moment for history  in America: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”.  Your responses are welcome here or to penang@ecoplan.org. Thank you.

ON A SCALE OF 0-10: please show us your views concerning how the proposals, measures  and their potential set out in the  SDS PTMP do in the following legitimate areas of citizen interest and concern. Some of these are quite specialized as you will see as your work your way down the list, but don’t let that bother you.  Just share your views with the items that strike your attention. With a careful eye to both long and short term impacts (say in the coming three years, 2018-2020).

* * * For latest version of SDS MP : http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my — See below the listing of the principal infrastructure projects proposed by the plan.

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Why Alternatives Analysis is critical to Penang’s transportation future

Alternatives assessment or alternatives analysis is a problem-solving approach used in environmental design, technology, and policy. It aims to minimize environmental harm by comparing multiple potential solutions in the context of a specific problem, design goal, or policy objective. It is intended to inform decision-making in situations with many possible courses of action, a wide range of variables to consider, and significant degrees of uncertainty.

Since the early 1970’s transportation planners apply a multi-modal and/or comprehensive approach to analyzing a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes

Penang’s SRS ca. RM 50 bn “Transport Master Plan” does not make scientific use of an essential transport planning and decision tool, namely Alternatives Analysis to test and compare alternative solutions to identified mobility solutions (see below). This is a grave deficiency which discredits the entire body of proposals,, methodology and recommendations currently being actively pushed by the state government and their under-qualified  consulting partners whose expertise lies in other sectors than strategic transport planning and policy..

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