Asia offers an opportunity of restructuring the transport sector
With a comparative advantage of building new cities and with a modest energy intensity, Asia offers an opportunity of restructuring the transport sector to ensure public access, comfort and sustainability. This was the opinion of experts during a seminar on “Land transport in the era of rapid urbanization and climate change concerns,” organized at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) recently (1 April 2013).
Delivering their talks were three authors of recently released books, who addressed various aspects of land transport while focusing on urban transport and climate change issues.
Leading the discussion was Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal of AIT’s School of Environment, Resources and Development (SERD), who remarked that Asia enjoys a latecomer’s advantage. Cities are being created and Asian lifestyles are still modest. This provides a greater flexibility in shaping the transport sector with a tremendous opportunity for incorporating sustainability, he reasoned. Dr. Shubhakar is co-editor of a book “Low Carbon Transport in Asia: Strategies for Optimizing Co-benefits.”
Dr. Surya Acharya, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Transport Policy Studies, Tokyo, Japan, provided a comparative analysis of metro projects in major cities in the world to stress that while the Bangkok metro was earning more than its operating cost, Delhi was close behind. However, cities like New York and Paris were able to recover only 60 per cent of their operating costs. He stressed the need of allocating more city area as road space. “The challenge for Asian megacities is to select the most relevant strategies in the Asian context,” he added. Dr. Acharya is co-editor of a book titled “ Transport Development in Asian Megacities.”
Mr. Stefan Bakker, Team leader of the project “Transport and Climate Change”, ASEAN-German Technical Cooperation, GIZ, stated that Greenhouse Gases measurement is a new
element in the transport sector. He remarked that managing the transition to a low-carbon economy would be a major challenge. Drivers of unsustainable transportation include economic, technological, socio-economic and cultural factors. Mr. Bakker is co-editor of a book titled “Low Carbon Land Transport: Policy Handbook.”