Mobility the way out of poverty
Tan Jee Yee | 14 Apr 2017 00:30
Good transport network is essential.

One of the barriers for many low-income people trying to build a better life is the lack of reliable and efficient transportation system.

While rapid urbanisation and access to economic opportunities have largely helped to raise income levels and reduce poverty, there is still an issue for most to properly travel into such areas.

This has been a topic of a 2015 report by the World Bank, which points out that the urban sprawl, high motorisation rates and inadequate public transport have led to congestion and low usage of public transport in the country. According to the report, only 17% of commuters in Kuala Lumpur use public transport compared with 62% in Singapore, and 89% in Hong Kong.

By deliberately avoiding public transportation, the residents of Kuala Lumpur instead contribute to the ever-growing (and infamous) traffic congestion in the city. According to the World Bank’s report, Greater Kuala Lumpur residents spend more than 250 million hours a year getting stuck in traffic.

Being stuck in traffic actually costs more than you know. The World Bank states that the total cost of traffic in Kuala Lumpur is estimated at 1.1 to 2.2% of the GDP in 2014. This accounts for the loss of productive time and the fuel wasted in proportion to distance travelled.

The World Bank notes that “the lack of unified planning is a key obstacle to the delivery of efficient urban transportation”, adding that current planning and delivery practices in the country are “still not sufficiently robust to handle the underlying complexity of Malaysia’s cities as they are scattered across a number of different entities”.