KUALA LUMPUR: With increasing traffic congestion, brought on by more cars on the road, transit-oriented developments (TODs) and contemporary urban planning would be called on as solutions to the mounting number of traffic jams.
The recent rise of many TODs along the mass rapid transit (MRT), light rail transit (LRT), monorail and KTM lines are evident that the community is slowly buying into the sustainable urban planning concept.
While many real estate stakeholders have recently joined the TOD bandwagon, TODs are used by property developers as a marketing tool since investors and homebuyers like the idea of being able to go around with ease thanks to public transportation.
"You see, theoretically, a TOD is a very good idea, because where transportation is available, a higher density of people is required to make the transportation system viable. Transportation systems are expensive and the only way for them to be affordable is to have everyone use them," Veritas Architects Sdn Bhd principal Edward Chew Fook Kong said.
However, the true goal of TODs is to assist in lowering energy usage, which in turn lowers pollution and carbon footprint.
“So, what you have here is, instead of distributing higher density across the city, which creates lots of traffic. But by concentrating on the nodes, on transportation and on the line, people don’t need to travel by car as much anymore,” Veritas design group president and director David Mizan Hashim added.
This shift of the masses using public transportation will be better for the environment. David noted that this could be one of the ways in which Malaysians could cut down on pollution, stress and accidents.
He pointed to the number of people moving into the cities, with an estimated 70% of the world population to be living in cities by 2050. Despite this, only 20% of commuters use the rail network. With good urban planning and a comprehensive transportation system, Malaysians would be able to take advantage of public transport.
David pointed to Singapore’s example of dealing with traffic congestion with electronic road pricing. The system would charge during certain hours for its busiest areas in an effort to curtail congestion.
And with proper urban planning, the daily conveniences can be within short walking distances from each other, eliminating the need for cars.
"You can have your mamak, your food, you can shop and get everything done. Another hundred metres away could be where your kids can go to school, and within two hundred metres you have hospitals and medical facilities all within walking distance, so chances are you will choose this lifestyle accordingly as well," Veritas Planning Sdn Bhd and Veritas Architects Sdn Bhd principal Ng Yiek Seng said.