Mobilien: Better, Faster, Cheaper. . . than BRT (for Penang)

While Penang is thinking once again about its transportation arrangements, we are hearing a lot of late about BRT and tramways — and rightfully. Both a huge improvement over earlier proposals for a mad spaghetti mix of intrusive monorails, elevated LRT/LRV systems,  Sky Cabs hanging uselessly in the horizon, over-built road infrastructure projects  to serve and encourage yet  more car traffic, and a backbreaking  proposal for a sea tunnel that would bring yet more traffic into the island and in the process extend and multiply today’s traffic mess and associated inconveniencies

But before we make up our minds let’s also give a thought to another less well known mobility option, the Mobilien.  It may be just what you were looking for.

Paris Mobilien 1

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Better. Faster. Cheaper. – Toward a New Mobility Agenda for Penang

Better-Faster-Cheaper - script

It is amazing how words can pop up and associate in a situation in which a number of people with different ideas and orientations come together to see if they can put their fingers on some elusive but important truth.

Over the past months as a civil society consensus critiquing the State government’s transport plan in Penang (and, no less important, the process behind it) has slowly taken shape, this short phrase  is starting to crop up often enough to serve as a common motto, a watchword, a rallying point to give high visibility to the ideas and proposals that are better adapted to the important work that remains to be done

When we speak of the path to s sustainable transport system and sustainable Penang today we now speak with a unified voice of Better, Faster, Cheaper. Let’s have a look.

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Public transport advocate solicits ideas to break ‘car culture’ in Penang

Penang has over-built infrastructures that are poorly used, says Eric Britton. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

From the Archives. George Town Malaysia. Sept 23 , 2013  http://themalaymailonline.com/ —

By Opalyn Mok

A predilection for cars means that 80 per cent of transport funding is used to cater for the needs of 20 per cent of society, according to a public transport proponent today.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton pointed out this uneven distribution in public expenditure was an issue in many modern cities, including Penang.

“It should be the other way around where only 20 per cent funding is needed and it can fulfil the needs of 80 per cent of the society,” he said during a media focus group under the Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda two-week programme this morning.

In a bid to change that, Britton is here for the two-week Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda.

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Paradigm Shift for Public Transport in Kuala Lumpur (A lot more to it than that)

Bangkok Skytrain - Problem solved. Next? t

Bangkok Skytrain: Note the huge investment in public transport to solve the problem. Oops!

Public transport in Kuala Lumpur: A paradigm shift

First extracts:

“MAY 19 — The Malaysian Government has established an objective of improving public transport in urban areas around the country as a core to stimulate economic growth and relieve traffic congestion. In order to achieve the stated objectives, the government has allocated funds worth up to RM180 billion to be invested in new public transportation systems.

“For example, this commitment can be reflected on the approval of large scale public transportation projects such as the MRT Line 2, LRT 3, HSR (High Speed Rail) KL-Singapore and BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) on the Federal Highway. The shift in focus from building more roads and highways back to improving public transport will no doubt be welcome to the urban population.

“However, despite these colossal public transportation investments, have we gone far enough to ensure public transport usage in Kuala Lumpur is a feasible alternative option to car use? I believe that there are several elements that can be addressed to further improve the attractiveness and effectiveness of the Greater Kuala Lumpur Public Transport Master Plan.”

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USEFUL SUSTAINABLE PENANG/NEW MOBILITY REFERENCES

SP FB - walkers

This set of references in support of the sustainable Penang project, and in particular the component involving civil society participation in determining the future of Penang’s transport/mobility system, has been carefully pieced together over the last two years, in response to a system on the part of the government that was providing little information to support citizen enquiries into the program which is also referred to by them as the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). The latest information on the government program in support of this will be found at http://pgmasterplan.penang.gov.my

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Family Mouse Behind the Wheel

Of Mice, of Men and . . . of Penang

erc the crow with sign seatedWhen I first visited Penang back in late summer 2013 in response to an invitation by Think City, I had several weeks to profit from a steady diet of site visits, lectures, master classes and intense skull sessions with ten different key groups (including media, local government, transport operators, auto industry and lobby, regulators and police, gender balance, cycling and pedestrian groups, civil society, the universities, and finally “hacking sustainable mobility”). All of which, as I travelled around both the island and mainland, gave me an excellent occasion to start to get a feel for both “halves” of Penang.  Not a city, not a state, but in fact an in many ways typical and varied metropolitan area.

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