Sustainability issues in Urban Areas : Managing transport

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  • sustainability in urban areas: managing transport
    • Managing transport in Bangkok
      • The city has one of the lowest proportions of road surface to area of any major city
        • This makes traffic density an issue
      • Bangkoks prosperity compares to the rest of Thailand means that it has 55% of the nation's cars with only 15% of the population.
        • 2.3 million cars and 2.5 million motorcycles fill the roads every day
        • Journeys average 5Km/h
      • Roads face several problems
        • Congestion
          • During rush hours and monsoon seasons, roads become congested and flooded at ground level
            • Road development in Bangkok is financed by road toll charges
              • At rush hours queues build up at toll booths
        • Accidents
          • Many freeway junctions have converging cross-overs which drivers negotiate at high speed
            • Bangkok accounts for 40% of Thailands traffic accidents
              • though road deaths have decline sharply, they are still 4X that of the UK
        • Air quality
          • Is poor though it is improving
            • The phasing out of lead petrol has had a positive effect
              • by 200, only 3& of schoolchildren in Bangkok suffered lead levels above World Health Organisation (WHO) safety levels compared to 11% just 5 years earlier
                • Bangkok's pollution is still above EU limits but below that of some US cities
                  • Motorcycles now have 4 stroke engines, a change from the late 1990s
                    • There are campaigns yo persuade owners of Bangkok's iconic (but polluting) tuk-tuks to make a similar change
    • Solving Bangkok's traffic problems
      • Bangkok's Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) is responsible for managing traffic and solving traffic problems by expanding bus and rail transport
        • But public transport has not kept pace with Bangkok's population and economic growth
          • After a military coup in 2006, Bangkok's military government promised to solve traffic jams
            • But little has been done
              • Instead it cut spending on public transport and increased defence spending by over 30%
      • Over 80% of Bangkok's working population travels to work by private transport
        • Developing rail systems
          • There is an existing system but it is slow and at present covers little of the city.
          • In the 1990s the Thai Government developed a rail system
            • Including an elevated 'Skytrain', a new light-rail tram system and an underground network all aimed at reducing congestion
            • However the 1997 Asian financial crash brought work to a halt and the system has never been fully built as planned
              • The Skytrain opened in 1999, linking northern and eastern suburbs to the CBD, with 23 stations (compared with 52 on London's Piccadilly Line)
                • The Skytrain's target was 600000 users daily, but it has never reached this, particularly due to the fact that there are no escalators so passengers access to elevated stations is difficult
              • A new elevated train links CBD with Bangkok's new SuvarnabhumiAirport
              • Further extensions were approved in 2007. 5 lines are under construction, 6 more are planned together with 4 additional monorails
                • These were due to open by 2013, but progress is at best slow and funding is limited.
              • Bangkok's first underground system opened in 2004 between the central railway station and northern parts of the city
                • the same area as the Skytrain
                  • It is more expensive than the Skytrain, so passenger numbers have fallen from 400000 to 150000
      • Bus transport
        • Provided by BMTA carry 3 million passengers each day
          • But ageing vehicles and rising oil prices make it difficult for the authority to provide reliable services.
            • Bus services are certainly frequent and cheap, with fares of about 7-baht (14p) to most destinations
              • The fares for air-conditioned buses are more expensive at 11-24 baht (22p-48p)
        • In 2010 the government announces a 'bus rapid transport' system
          • A network of dedicated bus lanes separated from traffic
            • The first 5 routes opened in 2010, covering 16km and 12 stations in the southern part of Bangkok's CBD.
              • It has not been well received - by constructing bus lanes within existing roads, one road land or more has been lost, making congestion worse
      • Boat and Ferry services
        • Travel by Ferry is attractive but can never carry high volumes
          • Capacity is low and travel times slower than rail or bus
            • Nearly 500,000 passengers travel by ferry services, including the fast Chao Phraya Express
              • Other smaller ferries cross the river at points where roads meet the water
    • Can Bangkok's transport system be sustainable?
      • Private vehicle use is too high for its density of people and roads, and public transport infrastructure is inadequate for the population
        • Especially rail
      • Governement policies are biased towards private transport
        • Planning and construction of transport infrastructure is slow.
      • London's congestion charge has provided one kind of solution
        • Funding  public transport expansion sing charges levies each time private vehicles enter London
      • Greater numbers of buses and bus lanes have led to a doubling of passenger traffic on London's buses between 2004-2009
        • Should Bangkok do the same?

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