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Challenges Facing Urban Transport In Asia

One of the greatest challenges facing the new millennium is to effect a well integrated and environmentally acceptable solution for urban transportation. In spite of many decades of studies, involving research and experiments, success has often been elusive and more importantly, there is still a lack of consensus of what constitutes an acceptable integrated transport policy within the urban fabric The paper analyses the global trend towards urbanisation and demonstrates that while there are megacites throughout the world,there is a concentration of them in the Asian region and that the region needs to devise ways of dealing with the problem.

Since a majority of the cities in Asia are still developing, the rapid urbanisation of these cities has posed serious problems before the city managers and administrators in the field of housing, infra-structure, social amenities and transport. Transportation is crucial for the economic growth of the region. Urban mobility is a basic recquirment of urban economy. As a result of this urban transport is getting more and more importance with the passage of time. The paper looks at the scale of the problem facing urban transport planners and service operators in keeping the cities moving so that urban productivity is not affected.

A number of measures are needed : in the Short Term in a coordinated manner in areas such as road pricing , fiscal constraints, computerised traffic control systems, various traffic control measures, strict enforcement of traffic laws, operational and pricing improvements. Some of the other short term measures are making fuels costly , subsidising public transport. Also regulating on-street parking and levying proper parking charges can be adopted as effective short term measures.

Long Term mearures include improved land use planning, encouragement of distributedurban land development and investment in mass transit systems. .The paper concludes that the region needs to find indigenous solutions to these problems. A balanced series of measures proposed would keep the cities at the forefront of economic activity and make them more pleasant places to live. . Keywords- Megacities-Developing Rapidly-Urban Transportation-Problems-Short Term Measuers-Long Term Measures. Introduction: The 20th century has been an age of urban transition.

By the end of the century, more than half of world people have shifted to cities. Cities are widely acknowledged as the engines of economic growth, cultural diversification and technological progress. Transportation plays a crucial role in enhancing the productivity and economic efficiency of the urban market place, a role that will be critical in the cities of the 21st century as they strive for competitive advantage. To thrive and be efficient, however, cities must be able to move people, transport goods and facilitate the exchanges of ideas and information.

Burgeoning urban growth and rapid expansion of city boundaries are posing massive problems. Traffic congestion and environmental pollution has reached unprecedented levels, largely the consequence of excessive rate of increasing motorization in cities of both the industrialized and developing world. While the importance of managing urban transport demand is more and more recognized and the large number of policy proposals have been formulated, not many successful actions have been implemented.

This is largely because there is still a need for a better understanding of the chain of causes and effects in transport planning and management. . Since cities in Asia have neither enough resources nor space to respond indiscriminately to the growth of transport demand, it is becoming increasing clearly that actions need to be taken on the demand side of equation. There is a growing recognition that todays transport problems cannot be solved by making huge supply-side investments only.

The Urban Transportation Challenges: In order to place the scale of problem that this rapidly increasing urban population causes, it should be remember that around 1950 there were some 25 cities in the world with a population exceeding 1 million. By the year 2000 it is predicted that Asia alone will have 160 cities of more than 1 million inhabitants and of these 13 will be mega cities each containing more than 10 million inhabitants. These 13 cities in Asia will have a combined population of some 179 million inhabitants.

In the rest of the world there will be 8 additional cities of that size. Hence it can be seen that though this is not a problem peculiar to Asia, these mega cities are predominantly located in Asia and the special problems caused will have to be solved in the Asian context. In 1990 it was estimated that 45% of worlds population lived in urban areas. Of these 2. 4 billion people almost 41% live in Asia. By 2020 half of the population will be living in urban areas and Asia will contain more than half of the worlds urban population.

This means that 1. 5 billion more people will be residing in urban areas in Asia by 2020. 1 It is estimated that over 50% of national economic output is generated in the urban areas of developing countries. With continuing urbanization this is forecast to increase to 67% by the end of the century. By then 80% of this increase is forecast to be generated in urban areas. 2 The rapid increasing population causes a shortage of various facilities out of which transportation is one. Transportation is important in both economic and social terms.

Transport policy can influence the development of urban areas in both the short and long terms. Transportation policy can influence the growth of urban areas, thus substantially reducing costs for infrastructure and services by using what exists more efficiently. Every conceivable mode of urban transport is being used and being used extensively, somewhere in Asia-walking and cycling; motorcycles; guided bus systems in Japan: metroes in China, Hongkong, India, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Trams in China, Hongkong, India and Japan.

Light rail in Manila; suburban rail in Mumbai, mono-rail and guided rapid transit in Japan; rickshaws in India. Urban Transport in Asia- An Operational Agenda for the 1990s by Peter Midgely,Wotld bank Technical Paper224, Asia Technical department Series. In Asia. Singapore represents an example of what must be one of the most efficient urban transport systems in the world and Bangkok Provides an example of one of the least efficient and congested cities in the world. Transport technology ranges from the most sophisticated in Japan to the most simple in China.

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