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Sustainable Transportation Policy In Malaysia

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 4950 words Published: 25th Apr 2017

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Climate Change, or Global Warming, is one of the most serious environmental threats of the 21st century. According to NST article on Top 10 list Global Warming Cause, Carbon dioxide emissions from burning gasoline for transportation responsible for about 33% of emissions. With the population growing at an alarming rate, the demand for more cars and consumer goods means that we are increasing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and manufacturing.

The problems of greenhouse gas emissions and urban air quality are focusing attention on sustainable transport. There are many definitions on sustainable transportation. A sustainable transport system as defined by The Centre for Sustainable Transportation (Gilbert and Tanguay, 2000) is as follows:

Allows the basic access and development needs of individuals, companies and societies to be met safely and in a manner consistent with human and ecosystem, health, and promotes equity within and between successive generations.

Is affordable, operates fairly and efficiently, offers choice of transport mode, and supports a competitive economy, as well as balanced regional development.

Limits emissions and waste within the planet’s ability to absorb them, uses renewable resources at or below their rates of generation, and uses non-renewable resources at or below the rates of development of renewable substitutes while minimizing the impact on the use of land and the generation of noise.

How can transportation become more sustainable? According to The Center for Sustainable Transportation it is defined as:

With respect to society, transportation systems should:

Meet basic human needs for health, comfort, and convenience in ways that do not stress the social fabric.

Allow and support development at a human scale, and provide for a reasonable choice of transport modes, types of housing and community, and living styles.

Produce no more noise than is acceptable by communities.

Be safe for people and their property.

With respect to the economy, transportation systems should:

Provide cost-effective service and capacity.

Be financially affordable in each generation.

Support vibrant, sustainable economic activity.

With respect to the environment, transportation systems should:

Make use of land in a way that has little or no impact on the integrity of ecosystems.

Use sparingly energy sources that are essentially not renewable or inexhaustible.

Use other resources that are renewable or inexhaustible, achieved in part through the reuse of items and the recycling of materials used in vehicles and infrastructure.

Produce no more emissions and waste than can be accommodated by the planet’s restorative ability.

According to the Center for Sustainable Transportaion also, there are several barriers to the attainment of sustainable transportation. Four of the most important are these:

More than for most other areas of human endeavour, decision-making about

transportation by governments, corporations, and individuals has become locked into modes that reinforce the present unsustainable arrangements and trends.

There is a mindset that achieving sustainable transportation is too costly, difficult, and will threaten our quality of life and lifestyle.

Combustion of low-cost oil provides more than 99 per cent of the energy for motorized transportation and creates many of the environmental problems that result from transportation. Harnessing renewable alternatives will be a major challenge.

Mechanisms for identifying improvements in sustainable transportation, and disseminating resulting success stories, and beneficial trends are inadequate.

The effort towards achieving sustainable transport includes technological improvements of cars and lorries, fuels and infrastructure. However, using vehicles more efficiently (higher load factor for lorries, and fewer single occupancy private vehicles) would be a good start towards a smarter use of transport.

Walking and cycling are the ‘greenest’ and most sustainable forms of transport. However, public transport is a key option but it is not receiving the priority which it should be. Transport becomes sustainable only when it does not harm the environment or uses fuel from renewable sources such as wind and solar. In terms of human mobility, this means more use of public transport (including integrated mobility services), and non-motorised modes of transport like walking and cycling. For movement of goods, rail freight is more fuel efficient than trucking.

The public transportation system in Klang Valley includes busses, commuter Light Rail Transit (LRT), monorail, buses and taxis. Public transport passengers are just as inconsiderate as the drivers. Lining up is a practically unknown phenomenon is frustrating and time consuming


Whenever a car is started, sitting idle or driving it is producing emissions that are filling our atmosphere. These emissions include nitrogen gas (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2), water vapour (H2O), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2, together called NOx). Bryant et al. 2008.

Carbon dioxide represents about 80 percent of the manmade greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. 15% of the manmade carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere comes from cars, trucks, airplanes, trains, and ships. The remaining 85% of atmospheric CO2 comes from industry, buildings and agriculture. Current trends show atmospheric CO2 concentration would double by the end of the century (Jan Fuglestvedt 2008)

Figure 1: Projected concentration levels assuming continuing “business as usual” behaviour (Source:University of Maryland)

According ESMAP, Traffic congestion can affect human health due to pollution with high levels of particulates, hydrocarbons, lead and NOx. there are three principal sources of particulate air pollution: vehicle exhaust, re-suspended road dust, and solid fuels,

The Federal Highway Administration has documented the levels of these emissions and

how much of each compound is produced by cars (see Figure 2).

Air Pollutant

Proportion from On road Motor Vehicles


Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)


precursor to ground‐level ozone (smog), which damages the respiratory system and injures plants

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)


precursor to ground‐level ozone (smog), which damages the respiratory system and injures plants

Carbon Monoxide (CO)


contributes to smog production; poisonous in high concentrations

Particulate Matter (PM10)


does not include dust from paved and unpaved roads, which are the major source of particulate matter pollution (50% of the total)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)


thought to be primary contributor to global warming

Figure 2: Transportation Air Quality: Selected Facts and Figures 2002. Sterba 2009

According to study on Hybrid Cars (Michael et. al 2010), their higher price turns consumers away and makes the vehicles a less attractive economic investment. Energy efficient processing techniques need to be developed before the advanced materials in hybrids can help add to their clean image. Widespread change to advanced hybrid technologies is not a feasible option in the near future because of both cost and the limited amount of hybrids on the road today. Overall, hybrid technology has a lot of potential in the distant future, but as for right now they are not a significant improvement over today’s internal combustion engine.

To deal with the severe traffic problems in Malaysia especially in Klang Valley the transportation planners will have to look to solutions such as using public transport and introducing more environmental friendly vehicles.

In the 10TH Malaysia Plan, a sum of RM2.8 billion is allocated for improving urban public transportation was chosen as one of six National Key Result Areas (NKRAs), which are priority areas under the Government Transformation Programme. During the 10MP period, connectivity across different modes of public transport will be improved through the establishment of multi-modal transfer hubs for services within cities, from suburban areas into cities and for intercity travel.

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The Strategic Plan is a document which determines the direction of future transportation system in Malaysia. According to The strategic Plan of The Ministry of Transport (2008 – 2015), development of transport infrastructure a seamless, integrated, sustainable and competitive to meet the aspirations countries is emphasised. One of the plan objective is to ensure that environmental not contaminated by the land transport, air and

maritime. TERAS 2 The strategy highlighted is to optimize new technologies in transport by promoting the use of environmentally friendly vehicles and providing seamless transportation system by improving the park n ride facilities at all stations of urban transport to meet the objective to strengthen and provide world-class integrated transport infrastructure.

Park and Ride (P&R) system are known as incentive parking system. This facilities system consists of car parks with connections to public transport. The user will use public transportation to travel into city and leave their personnel vehicles in a car park. P&R system are generally located in suburbs of metropolitan areas or on the outer edges of large cities. Many countries had using this system such as United Kingdom, United State, Japan and Singapore. Park and Ride was first initiated in the United Kingdom (UK) in the 1960s and 1970s that enjoy most success in cities historic in nature and quite small capacity of controlling that balance to their inhibiting urban structure. In a range of settings across the UK, however, some of which very different in size and nature to the earlier host centres, Park and Ride has subsequently emerged as a major component of local transport policies. In Malaysia, the government starts using Park and Ride system such as Kuala Lumpur, around Klang Valley and Putrajaya According to CASE STUDY ON AWARENESS AND EFFECTIVENESS OF PARK AND RIDE AT PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA the awareness level for both Putrajaya citizens and visitors is not high enough to reach the target of the Park and Ride system. This is because, about only half of the people is using the system while the rest refuse to use the system and do not know to us the system. The understanding about the system need to be well explicate to the both Putrajaya citizens and also the visitors. Therefore, the user of Park and Ride may increase and many traffic problems could reduce.

Conference on Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) provide an illustration of how criteria and targets can be linked to significant environmental and health quality objectives. These targets are long-term – specific intermediate targets and milestones should be set to focus action. The quantitative target levels below are not prescriptive and could be adapted according to national, regional or local circumstances. What is essential for the EST approach, is that target levels are set to achieve environmental and health quality objectives.


Climate change is prevented by reducing carbon dioxide emissions so that atmospheric concentrations of CO2are stabilised at or below their 1990 levels. Accordingly, total emissions of CO2 from transport should not exceed 20% to 50% of such emissions in 1990 depending on specific national conditions.


Damage from ambient NO2and ozone levels and nitrogen deposition is greatly reduced by meeting WHO Air Quality Guidelines for human health and eco-toxicity. This implies that total emissions of NOxfrom transport should not exceed 10% of such emissions in 1990.


Damage from carcinogenic VOCs and ozone is greatly reduced by meeting WHO Air Quality Guidelines for human health and ecosystem protection. Total emissions of transport-related VOCs should not exceed 10% of such emissions in 1990 (less for extremely toxic VOCs).2


Harmful ambient air levels are avoided by reducing emissions of fine particulates (especially those less than 10 microns in diameter). Depending on local and regional conditions, this may entail a reduction of 55% to 99% of fine particulate (PM10) emissions from transport, compared with 1990 levels.


Land use and infrastructure for the movement, maintenance, and storage of transport vehicles is developed in such a way that local and regional objectives for air, water, eco-system and biodiversity protection are met. Compared to 1990 levels, this will likely entail the restoration and expansion of green spaces in built-up areas.


Noise from transport no longer results in outdoor noise levels that present a health concern or serious nuisance. Depending on local and regional conditions, this may entail a reduction of transport noise to no more than a maximum of 55 dB(A) during the day and 45 dB(A) at night and outdoors.

Minister of Transport Malaysia in his speech mention that “The transport sector has now entered the new era of a more challenging and requires a high commitment from all sides. It is now requires a mode of transport and more integrated services and quality system. In addition environmental aspects should also be given emphasis in the planning of all projects for the Ministry of ensure sustainable development.” (Message from DATUK ONG TEE KEAT, Minister of Transport Malaysia)


This is Life Cycle Analysis academic writing which needs a lot of journals and article readings, internet surfing and knowledge. Some articles were from Ministry of Transport, 10th Malaysia Plan and Malaysian Strategic Planning to ensure that suggestion proposed relevant to the direction of Malaysia development (Dasar Pembangunan Negara). However, more detailed studies should be done to get ideas that can contribute to achieving the goals.


What are the holistic approach toward sustainable transportation policy in Malaysia? Several strategies can be developed such as:

1. Develop of national transportation strategy

Transportation networks are an important piece of the communications infrastructure of a country. We are completely dependent on our transportation networks to move goods and people throughout the country. A national transportation strategy such as highlighted in The Strategic Plan would help Malaysia create a sustainable transportation policy. More strategies must emphasis on green technology.

2. Enhance national public transportation strategy

In order to reduce the number of private cars on the road, the government must plan their short term and long term strategies for public transportation. People must be encouraged to choose public transport for the movement of goods and people. Long term strategies need to plan on how people can move around in the future by using public transport as a priority and reach the destination faster, convenient and comfortable.

The Malaysian government has stated a goal to have 40% of the population using public transportation in the future. Unfortunately, at a meantime we have limited choices for safe, convenient, reliable public transportation. For example, we have a very limited train to travel from North to South. Road accidents which involved express bus are often happen in the country.

Thus, task force group which include expertise from relevant field must be formed. This group will come out with the national public transportation strategies and also to advice the stakeholders on how to achieve the mission

3. National public transportation department

Public transportation should not be run as a profitable business. It must be look as a choice of transportation that people can choose. Minimum fare should be charge to the people. More subsidies must be given to this department. People will surely use public transport if it is convenient and comfortable with the low fare.

It is time for the government to upgrade the public transportation to the first class facilities by locating more money in this department.Research and development unit must also form in this department. This unit will always do research on new technologies to upgrade the transportation systems or transport which environmental friendly like was done in Seoul as an earth friendly transportation city.

4. Expanded national railway network

Railway technology is still the most efficient way to move goods and people. Successful rail networks in Europe, Japan, India, China, Taiwan, and soon in Argentina, show us that the movement of passengers by rail is faster, easier, and better than car or air travel. Thanks to the English Channel Tunnel and the Eurostar High Speed Train, London and Paris are now two hours apart by train. Trains move more people, avoid congestion on the roads, use less energy, and are far more appealing than planes or cars.

A nation like Malaysia should have a reliable railway transportation network for freight as well as a fast passenger railway network connecting all major cities. High Speed rail connections between Kuala Lumpur and neighbouring capital cities must be explored. Thus, the full double-tracking and electrification of all rail lines within Malaysia is necessary. In addition, triple tracking and the construction of additional rail lines should be considered.

5. Regional/local public transportation authority

As we can see in the urban area, there is a more than one public transportation company. for example in Klang valley, Rapid KL and XXX are the famous bus companies. It is suppose to be only one authority which responsible for the planning, regulation and oversight of public transportation. This local authority has the duty to control the bus systems so that it operates under an effective an efficient system. This would eliminate unnecessary and wasteful competition and encourage stability and reliability in public transportation.

6. Additional, secure funding for regional/local public transportation

Public transportation service is important infrastructure. It should not be operated like a business. There should be no reason why a bus company should even try to operate a sustainable business. All world-class public transportation services do not make money. They in fact lose money, and their additional costs are borne by a combination of government funds, bonds, and additional investments.

The best way to build stable, reliable public transportation infrastructure is to fund it properly and fund it early on. This means capital investment and regular operations subsidies are necessary. No world class transportation agency should even be attempting to recover 50% o more of their revenues from fares paid by passengers. Instead, they should be receiving money from public and private investment.

Currently the state government of Terengganu is planning the introduction of Rapid Terengganu, a state-level bus service. While any bus service improvements are good news, this news is even better because it shows that the state government is committed to improving public transportation through government regulated service.

One small point, however. The name “Rapid” is overused, and perhaps should be limited to big cities only. A state-level service should have an appropriate name that reflects the service being offered, not a marketing tool. I personally like “Bas Negeri Terengganu” and I think the acronym “Bantu” (for “Bas Negeri Terengganu”) would be a very appropriate as the word “bantu” reflects the concepts of helping and supporting each other.

7. Expanded KTM Komuter Service

We have to realise that KTM Komuter has the lowest costs and greatest potential for expansion among all modes of transportation. An expanded KTM Komuter service (that means, higher frequencies, longer trains, faster trains, and more lines) would encourage people to use rapid transit. It simply costs too much to build enough LRT lines to make a difference in the transportation infrastructure in the Klang Valley.

KTM Komuter expansion plans include new networks in the north and south, extensions from Sentul to Batu Caves, Rasa to Tanjung Malim, and Seremban to Senawang. A plan is underway to rebuild more than a dozen damaged electric-multiple unit (EMU) trains, which would allow higher frequency and more reliable service. The government must commit to a real expansion of KTM Komuter service, meaning more lines, enough trains for five minute frequencies, and reliable service.

8. More urban mass-transit lines

LRT and mass transit should be built in urban areas, rather than suburban or rural areas. The cost of construction is increasing daily, and this is why the government should be committing to build lines in urban areas, not suburban or rural areas. There is no reason, for example, to build an LRT from Kuala Lumpur to Klang, when Kuala Lumpur itself still needs at least four more LRT lines (in addition to the new Kota Damansara-Cheras line).

Urban areas need mass transit. Urban areas have vast numbers of people and they have the population density to make mass-transit cost effective. Suburban areas do not need mass transit such as LRT lines. They really need enhanced, frequent and reliable bus service to move the vast numbers of people spread out over a wider area.

The planned Kota Damansara-Cheras LRT line will travel through Kuala Lumpur. The Sentul-Batu Caves extension will change transportation in the northern areas of Kuala Lumpur. However, additional lines are needed in Kuala Lumpur to create the core of a mass-transit network. The government should be building in urban areas, not the suburban areas. Extensions are for the future. The core of the mass-transit network needs to be built now.

9. Promoting Park and Ride

The government should enforce the user of Park and Ridein urban area. But before that the quality of service of Park and Ride system need to be improved where more frequent service of the buses to fetch the people from one point to another. Besides improve the service, other strategies to increase the number of bus user is provide enough information to the customer. Kiosk and information centre is suitable to notify the information about Park and Ride system to the people. Marketing and promotion such as image advertising, new resident promotion and fare incentives may also affect the number of bus user.

Malaysians seem to have an obsession with LRT and a misunderstanding of traffic congestion. We also think that traffic problems can be solved with massive projects rather than simple solutions. I won’t bore you with the details of why.

LRT is a mass-transit, and it is costly. As stated before, there is no possible way to build all of the LRT lines that are needed to create quick, reliable, convenient public transportation. This means that other rapid transit alternatives must be explored. Alternative forms of rapid transit include rapid trams, and bus rapid transit. Even simple things like traffic signal priority, bus lanes, and traffic monitoring cameras will make a huge difference.

Sadly, the majority of people in Malaysia still cling to the belief that traffic lights, reduced number of lanes, and roundabouts contribute to traffic congestion. The truth is that traffic congestion is caused by having too many cars on the road at the same time. Fewer cars equal lower congestion.

There is hope that the arrival of local public transportation authorities will make a big difference, expanding and enhancing public transportation. Radical ideas need to be implemented to reduce the number of cars on the road. Bus lanes are only a start but they are easy to implement. Bus Rapid Transit would be the next step.

A reliable Bus Rapid Transit service running along major roads like Jalan Puchong, Jalan Klang Lama, the Federal Highway, Jalan Ipoh, Jalan Kepong, and others, would also help. The government must announce a plan to invest in tram lines, not just additional LRT lines.

10. Reduction in petrol subsidy and incentives to encourage the use of public transportation

Petrol subsidies may make the lives of some people easier, but economics say that anytime you fix the price of an item below its natural price, demand will increase and this will ultimately result in shortages of the product. We have seen this happen in Malaysia with cooking oil, sugar, and diesel fuel. Petrol and wheat may be the next items facing shortages.

The price of petrol in Malaysia is low (compared to world markets). Malaysians are driving more and demanding more petrol. The supply is less and less reliable. Any imbalance is paid through taxes and government funds.

Other countries such as Indonesia (2005) and Myanmar (2007) have seen huge increases in the price of fuel after the government could no longer afford the subsidies.

One way to reduce the demand for petrol is to reduce the subsidy (thereby raising the price at the pumps) and directing that money into enhanced public transport service. The government needs to accept that this decision, though unpopular at first, will be in the best interests of the people.

To make their point clear, the government should reduce the petrol subsidy by an amount of RM0.08 per litre, which would lead to an increased pump price of RM2.00 per litre. An 8 sen increase in the price of petrol (after the election, of course) would be much easier to accept than a 60 sen hike in 2 to 3 years time. The government should allocate the funds saved towards improving and enhancing public transportation.

There are many simple things that the government can do to enhance public transportation across the country, and these can be implemented quickly. An expanded Touch ‘N’ Go service, subsidies for bus operations, tax incentives on the purchase of monthly transit passes, and investment in funding of public transport authorities would make a huge difference for Malaysia.


The proposals here are relatively uninteresting and less glamorous than new LRT lines or monorails in every city that asks for one. The fact is that public transportation can be interesting and glamorous and inspiring. However, before that can all happen, there must be changes in the attitude of the government and the people.

It is good to think that improved public transportation is part of the solution to traffic congestion in Malaysia. However, many people do not speak out and demand better public transportation, and do not actually intend to use the improved public transportation.

They are missing the point. We can only have inspiring, glamorous, interesting and effective public transportation if there are changes at the government level. Once the government makes the necessary changes, creates a national public transportation strategy and a National Public Transportation Department, then we will finally be on track to a great future.

a regular user of public transport, is deeply concerned that government plans to encourage the use of public transport will ultimately fail because of poor planning and lack of support from the public.


Ensuring progress towards sustainable development suppose to be a priority of the Malaysian government. Transport is a particularly challenging sector. It is indispensable to modern life, but has many adverse effects on health and environment. Most transport trends are unsustainable. More effort must be put on to develop public transport because study found that using public transport can minimize the environmental pollution and impact of health to human.

Although there is a lot of bad news – the good news is it’s not too late! We can implement solutions, but we need to act fast and we need our government to take the lead.


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