Bandar Seri Begawan - The study on the Brunei Land Transport Master Plan has been progressing smoothly and is expected to be completed by June next year, with the objective of coming up with a draft national master plan for a sustainable transportation system for the country.
The study, which commenced in June this year, is being carried out by the Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies (CSPS) with appointed consultants from SQW China Limited and its associate Atkins, while the main stakeholders are from the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Development.
Some of the details from the studies were relayed by Dr Diana Cheong, the Chief Researcher of CSPS and Dato Paduka Dr Hj Ismail bin Hj Duraman, Executive Director of CSPS during an interview session.
"In June next year," Dr Diana Cheong said, "the study will come up with a draft national master plan for a sustainable transportation system for the country The master plan is supposed to serve the nation's need from today up to year 2035 and beyond."
She further said, "It is to produce a multi-model land transportation system that will solve our land transportation challenges. We will have a master plan that will contain the full implementation. Since we are covering all the four districts, the study will tell us what kind of transportation is suitable respectively."
Dr Diana Cheong also revealed, "We have asked our consultants to come up with three options for the nation, namely: 'business as usual', progressive, and ambitious looking scenario, to support the 'Wawasan 2035' goals."
Both CSPS officials also acknowledged the current transportation challenges faced, such as the significant increase in the number of private vehicles used for both personal and commercial purposes; traffic congestion that has increased at an exponential rate within urban areas; the need to cut down on travel time; awareness of road safety; the increase of traffic pollution; as well as the need to conserve fuel.
Public transportation is under-developed and is solely reliant on infrequent and limited bus and taxi services, they said.
With the study on Brunei Land Transport Master Plan, Dato Dr Hj Ismail said, "we felt that it will help the country towards achieving `Wawasan 2035', relating to not only the land transportation, but also on water transportation".
"We want to achieve 'Wawasan 2035' in order to accomplish a high quality of life, highly-skilled manpower, as well as to possess dynamic and sustainable economy. We want to develop an enabler of transportation that can be used in the future systematically and efficiently; not only for people movement but also the commodities," he added.
"To us, it is important to develop public transport, and in order to do so, we are conducting the study on transportation for a 12-month period with the appointed consultants, since last June, before coming up with recommendations to advise our main partners, the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Development, as well as other relevant stakeholders."
The efficient use of public transport, he said, "will help improve road safety reduce traffic jam and negative impact brought upon the environment, as well as prevent decrease in productivity".
Touching on the productivity, he said, "We tried to reach a higher productivity through efficient transportation. The economy needs to be driven by the population. When one gets caught in the middle of a traffic jam, they cannot contribute optimally to the economy This goes the same for the transporting of goods; it has to be done efficiently, without any delay in order to achieve higher growth."
Dr Diana Cheong then continued, "This is not just a consultant study, this is between CSPS and our consultants; SQW China Limited and its associate Atkins. The reason we chose them were due to their experiences in National Land Transportation Master Plan as they had done similar plans in countries like Kuwait, Bahrain, as well as cities in China and Europe. This is a CSPS study with the main partner of Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Development."
The guides toward the recommendation for Brunei's Master Plan are progressive industrialisation and commercial growth, which include the promotion of foreign direct investment in order to achieve economic diversification, high standard of living, urban and rural development, land optimisation, livable cities and communities, as well as quick mobility and connectivity between cities and cross border. A safe and efficient transportation system will not only take into account the transportation needs, but also the state of the art technology now and going into the future; including green technologies, mass accessibility to transportation for all sectors of the population, and is affordable to the low-income groups.
"We are formulating an efficient transportation system that will encourage the people to use less car," said Dr Diana Cheong.
Touching on public transport, she pointed out, "We must base the study on in-depth research, taking into the feasibility of options given of Brunei context. We are looking at MRT, train, as well as non-motorist transport, like cycling."
Dato Dr Hj Ismail added, -We are also looking at a school bus system, whereby we will try to ease the traffic. The major focus will be on everyday travel needs, more efficient transports, good connection from home to workplace, and promoting walking and cycling as alternative to cars."
The upcoming studies to be conducted by CSPS are on optimal population and manpower forecasting, sustainable food security, as well as national productivity roadmap. All the studies are related to one another, they added.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin