Bandar Seri Begawan - Increasing traffic congestion, limited public transport choices and the ever present need to safeguard our environment for future generations are all issues that concern each and everyone. With an increasing pace of development and ever increasing population, the resolution of these issues is becoming ever more pressing and is increasingly occupying the efforts of government.
In order to provide a sustainable future for the country, planning is becoming increasingly coordinated across a range of activities in order to identify effective long-term solutions. Brunei Darussalam faces some unique and pressing challenges to its future economic and social development. To these ends, Wawasan 2035 provides an ambitious strategic vision for future growth and development of Brunei. A key element in delivering the Wawasan 2035 vision is the need to address the country's transport system in order to provide-a "people centred" transport network which serves our socio-economic and environmental needs and aspirations.
Under the efforts of the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS), Brunei is currently preparing a Draft Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) which will shape the country's land transport policy up to and beyond 2035 in line with the aspirations of Wawasan 2035.
With the Ministry of Communi6ations and Ministry of Development as its main partners, CSPS has taken the opportunity to examine and follow international best practice not only in response to current problems, but also for the development of a long-term policy agenda, to 2035 and beyond. Over this timescale, transport technologies, policies and processes can be expected to change substantially, for example in the area of alternative fuels and transportation user charging. Additionally our urban landscape and lifestyles are also going to change in line with economic development. The LTMP needs to anticipate such changes, identify which ones will impact upon and are relevant to Brunei's transportation system, and to develop visionary, comprehensive and practical proposals for change. In order to sustain the country's pristine environment and to serve our social and economic activities, to the benefit of all citizens, a new direction in transport must be identified.
In view of its pervasive ramification onto the wider society, and the need to steer the LTMP,in a meaningful and relevant way for the national context, CSPS is and will be engaging a number of important stakeholders to contribute to the project, for example, the Royal Brunei Police Force, the Energy Department at the Prime Minister's Office, Department of Economic Planning and Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, the private sector, public transport operators through to. the grassroots level of parents, youth and community.
The study is now moving into one of its most critical phases with CSPS about to undertake what will be by far the most comprehensive range of transport surveys ever undertaken in Brunei. Nationwide in coverage, these surveys will provide a complete and comprehensive picture of both current transport patterns and the emerging preferences and needs of the population. To undertake this task CSPS have retained the services of SQW China Limited in association with ATKINS who have been working on the LTMP since June. Through the early stages of the study it has become evident that, while the transport network has the capacity to function albeit with some local congestion at present, in the foreseeable future the network will reach maximum capacity and impact negatively on the country's economic development. The need to prepare the LTMP is therefore of paramount importance in order to support economic development and the other goals of Wawasan 2035.
Starting in early October and in collaboration with the Royal Brunei Police Force and Ministry of Communications, CSPS will be undertaking a series of roadside interviews across Brunei. This exercise aims to establish in some detail the travel patterns undertaken by Bruneians in order to better plan for future transport needs. Interviews will be held at the roadside where' drivers will be asked a series of questions to determine the origin, destination and purpose of their journey. This interview will be undertaken by trained survey staff and take around one minute to complete allowing drivers to resume their trip with the minimum of delay.
The data gathered from this exercise will allow the consultants to prepare a transport model for Brunei which will accurately forecast future road traffic and enable a range of possible improvement options to be evaluated. Underpinning the accuracy of the model and robustness of the forecasts is the heed for a considerable amount of existing traffic data and developing an understanding of local transport use and preferences. CSPS and their consultants have therefore developed a data gathering programme which makes best use of available data from government and includes an important range of observational surveys to fill in the gaps which currently exist.
In addition to the roadside interviews, which will be the most visible exercise, traffic counts, bus and boat passenger surveys and an in-depth transport attitudes survey will also be carried out across the country. The transport attitudes survey will again be one of the largest exercise of its type ever undertaken irk Brunei. The objective of this questionnaire is to develop a profound and empirical understanding of travel behaviour and preferences in Brunei. This will include car and bus use and attitudes towards public transport as well as emerging walking and cycling habits. A key area to be analysed will be in the area of environmental awareness including attitudes towards environmentally friendly future transport solutions including hybrid and electric vehicles as well as mass public transit systems. This survey will be carried out in workplaces, commercial centres ,and, rural areas nationwide in order to address the needs and aspirations of all segments of society in order to assist CSPS in preparing and integrated strategy that not only addresses present day problems but will also help to identify emerging trends in transport demand in order that long-term planning can be initiated in order to support the economic and social development of the country.
CSPS calls for the kind cooperation and patience of the community in making all its stated transport surveys a success and positive data gathering effort for all.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin