Project: On-Board Bus Announcements of Next Stop

We discussed with several of the focus groups the possibility of following the lead of leading cities around the world in ensuring that all of the new buses are equipped with a sound system that announces the next stop clearly at least one minute in advance so that all will be able to get to the door and prepare to exit. There was substantial support for this project.

The immediate reason for doing this is to provide convenience service for the blind and others suffering from visual impairments who cannot or have difficulty in recognizing stops, particularly when they use lines with which they’re not already familiar. These announcements will not only be useful for the visually handicapped but also for quite a wide range of other traveling Penangites and visitors.

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Transforming Transport in Penang – The earlier the better

Transport in Penang (and all around the world for that matter) relies on non-renewable sources of energy. Think 20 cars with one person in each vehicle, versus one bus with 20 passengers. The former creates traffic jams and worsens pollution to detract from the overall liveability of a city. It is often argued that supplying more roads only creates more demand for their usage. With 10,000 more vehicles added to Penang’s roads each month [1], we will have to commit ourselves soon to a decision to enhance sustainable transport.

Think City Bhd invited Prof Eric Britton, managing director of EcoPlan International in Paris, founder of World Car Free Days and longtime advocate of sustainable transport initiatives, to Penang with the purpose of studying the transport system, meeting stakeholders and hosting a series of events to come up with ideas and a new perspective for transportation improvements across the state. Thus, Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility was arranged as a two-week itinerary that featured 11 focus group discussions, three master classes, a lecture, a symposium and dialogues with MPPP, MPSP and the Penang Transport Council.

Malaysia Penang heavy traffic in GT

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Bus Rapid Transit in Penang

One of the most important early programs to create in Penang, and particularly in the first instance in George Town, will be to devise a system in which people who wish to come to the city for reasons of work or other will have a high quality, affordable alternative to using their own car. The immediate model to be examined and adapted has come to be known by the name of BRT or Bus Rapid Transit. It is an approach with many variations, which need to be adapted to the specifics of the city served. The basic idea is simplicity itself: namely to create priority lanes for public transport and services which offer more than competitive advantages to private cars.

taiwan taipei BRTPenang will not have to invent such a system from scratch.  Happily there is a rich background of experience  in  cities around the world and also in Asia.  By way of background information,  we  here draw your attention to a presentation  of international experience and lessons learned from projects in many parts of the world by  a foremost authority in the field,  Professor Geetam Tiwari of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD).  There is already interest in Penang in such services , and now is the time to  turn that interest into reality.

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