KUALA Lumpur ranks 94th among the world’s most sustainable cities for transport, according to the 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index.
The index was compiled for design and consultancy firm Arcadis by the Centre for Economic and Business Research. It explores mobility through three pillars of sustainability — social (people), environmental (planet) and economic (profit) — to develop an indicative ranking of 100 of the world’s cities.
Kuala Lumpur scored an overall 31 per cent, an indication that the city should explore its mobility issues to benefit from an even greater economic future.
The report highlighted the untapped opportunity for Kuala Lumpur’s link with large-scale infrastructure and the ability to bring public transport to the masses to help the public utilise the transport system.
Malaysia is investing billions of ringgit to develop an integrated rail network in the Klang Valley comprising the light rail transit (LRT), KTM Komuter, KL Monorail, Express Rail Link (ERL) and the mass rapid transit (MRT).
When combined, it is Malaysia’s largest infrastructure project designed to enhance the city’s livability and connectivity.
MRT Corp Sdn Bhd has completed MRT Line 1, which runs from Sungai Buloh to Kajang.
By 2022, MRT Line 2 (Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya) will begin operations. The line starts from Sungai Buloh, passes through Sentul and Bandar Malaysia before terminating at Putrajaya.
MRT Line 3 is the final line for the MRT project and is in the planning stages.
Arcadis said the full opening of MRT Line 1 and increasing integration with the LRT, monorail and Komuter services should make public transport a more appealing option and boost the city’s mobility ranking.
The 350km high-speed rail (HSR) linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore is another government effort and a highly anticipated project which is expected to bring about fundamental change. The project is earmarked to be completed in 2026 or 2027.
Bandar Malaysia is the Kuala Lumpur terminal of the HSR.
Britain’s Prince Charles, who was here with his wife Camilla on their maiden visit to Malaysia, was impressed with Malaysia’s efforts to promote sustainable cities and community well-being.
According to Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek, Prince Charles is satisfied with how Malaysia is developing the cities.
Mohammad said the Prince of Wales is also satisfied how Malaysia is positioning itself at the forefront of low-carbon cities.
Kuala Lumpur can do more to become a world-class city
Arcadis Southeast Asia Business Advisory leader Girish Ramachandran said Kuala Lumpur is poised to become a world-class city.
Under the “profit” pillar of sustainability, Kuala Lumpur scored well on affordability of public transport at 57 per cent and wheelchair access at 63 per cent.
Under the “planet” pillar, however, there is no score for Kuala Lumpur, which shows a potential area for adopting a greener approach, such as low-emission zones, green transport links to electric vehicle incentives, said the report.
“The government is very focused on turning Kuala Lumpur into a world-class city. Although the ranking was lower than expected, Kuala Lumpur has an edge over its fellow Asian cities as they embark on one of the largest master planning projects in Asia.
“For example, more than 40km of pedestrian and elevated walkways will be completed. This is expected to take 160,000 cars off the roads. The HSR will also cut travel time to 90 minutes. These game-changing initiatives should improve the city’s sustainability ranking and I am very excited about its future,” he said.
Arcadis global cities director John Batten said cities and their policymakers face enormous pressures as they seek to meet today’s mobility challenges.
“As rapid urbanisation, ageing infrastructure, population growth and climate change continue to challenge our world’s cities, those that choose to make bold moves in advancing and diversifying their urban transport systems will gain a competitive edge. We see that investing in improved and sustainable mobility will give cities enhanced productivity, attractiveness and overall quality of life.”