Will LRT and MRT solve traffic jams?

February 21st, 2013 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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For past few days, I’ve been driving to KL daily. Rain and the subsequent traffic crawls make me wonder if the upcoming LRT extension and MRT service will help alleviate the traffic problem.

In my opinion the new rails services may, at most, maintain the level of traffic jams. This is because these services are expected to run after 2015, by which we will see an addition of more than 1 million vehicles (more than 500,000 vehicles newly registered every year). A significant percentage of those will be in Klang Valley. Our roads are not expanding and you can’t expect people to leave their cars at home in view of the unpredictable weather conditions.

More importantly, how many will let go of the convenience and comfort of being in control of your vehicle, able to take detours or stop wherever you fancy? With connectivity a possible problem, it may not be feasible to take public transport if waiting time and accessibility is not good or up to expectation.

I wonder what is the plan beyond the next few years. Perhaps work on those plans should start now instead of waiting 5 more years.

I think we should buy few thousand buses for Klang Valley to obtain maximum coverage, and build more covered (rain-resistant) walkways. Probably cost a few billions but much cheaper than rail options. Buses that run on regular frequency and able to cover many areas will be useful. Need to relook at connectivity between cities as well. For example, how to go to from Puchong, Dengkil or Seri Kembangan to Putrajaya and how long does it take? How about Shah Alam to Puchong? As far as I know there’s no bus (or at least on short intervals) between these points whereas these are adjoining places. Obviously not all routes (examples as before) will make money, thus its better for government to run it rather than companies.

I seriously wonder if increasing public transport ridership to 50% will alleviate traffic jams, because the other 50% will be using personal vehicles, and that 50% will be a significant number of vehicles.

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