Jakarta is the world’s 10th largest
city with a population of about 10
million and is the headquarters
city of Asean. Like other Asian
megacities, Jakarta is the country’s
center of government, finance, commerce,
and education. All Asean capital cities
are showing growing strains due to urban
growth and an influx of investment in real
estate, but Jakarta’s problems stand out as
the most severe.
Jakarta remains a top destination for foreign investment, but as the population grows and vehicle sales soar, experts have predicted total gridlock by 2012 unless drastic action is taken. The traffic jams already cost the city about US$1.4 billion a year in lost productivity, according to one study. The city is expected to continue growing until 2030, when it will become the world’s largest urban area.
The condition of Jakarta recently drew the attention of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when he focused on Jakarta’s traffic problems. Jakarta does not have a mass transit system along the lines of a subway or elevated light rail system. On February 23 he ordered the Governor of Jakarta to free the capital of traffic gridlock by 2020, and added that significant improvement must be felt by 2014.
“The transportation target for Jakarta, and this is a heavy task for the governor, is that Jakarta’s congestion must be overcome before 2020,” Yudhoyono said.
Jakarta may have the most intense traffic congestion in the world. One report stated that road speeds average little more than 5 miles per hour.
James D. Filgo, a director at US company Consolidated Services International and a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the excruciating traffic jams caused by heavy rains were cutting business productivity by 30 to 40 percent. “People are afraid to make appointments in the afternoon or evening,” he said.
Busways have been built. The construction of two monorails has been suspended but there are plans to build a subway. Given Jakarta’s commercial dispersion, nothing short of an 800 meter rapid transit grid could possibly make a difference. This would bring everyone within the international transit standard of 400 meters, which given Jakarta’s dispersion is the only way, experts say, a rapid transit system would work.
They also say that system would cost far more than all of the personal income in the area each year in capital and operating expenses. Greater Jakarta falls short of the critical mass needed in a commercial or even a residential core to make transit a viable solution. .....................