May 01, 2004

ASEAN Ministers Endorse Sustainable Transport Policies

In December, the Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) formally endorsed a policy statement that includes a host of sustainable transport measures. The ASEAN

Secretariat is a regional inter-governmental organization that fosters cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, technical, educational and other fields. Its new transport policy is the strongest statement of its kind about sustainable transport in the region.

The Transport and Traffic Management portion of ASEAN’s new Framework for Environmentally Sustainable Cities includes the following strategies:

  • Maintain and increase existing mode share of public transport, walking and cycling
  • Restrict demand for private motorized traffic
  • Develop cost-effective mass transit systems that meet present and future mobility needs
  • Improve traffic management to enhance flow of people and goods

The document also highlights several specific activities:

  • Ensure that the interests of public transport and non-motorised transport (NMT) are safeguarded in city planning. Ensure that supportive policies with respect to pricing are put in place
  • Promote the use of NMT for short distance trips
  • Restrict demand for private motorized traffic, especially for congested cities, through the use of appropriate economic instruments and in some cases physical restraint programmes
  • Develop a comprehensive vision that can inspire the detailed traffic management planning. Particular emphasis should be given to relatively cheap solutions such as Bus Rapid Transit Systems.
  • Traffic management schemes should also take account of road safety issues.  This can be accomplished by traffic engineering schemes and also by intelligent traffic signals. It is important that improved traffic flow of cars should not be at the expense of NMT.

The ASEAN Secretariat is also launching a program to support pilot projects and compiling a library of best practices in each of its thematic areas, Clean Air, Clean Water and Clean Land, which cities can refer to when implementing the new policy. Currently, ASEAN members are nominating cities to participate in pilot projects.

Those chosen will be given resources to implement projects that reflect the new policy. ASEAN will help the cities secure funding for projects, sponsor visits to case study sites, and promote information sharing among cities that are implementing policies outlined in the Framework.

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