Move People Not Cars

Move people not cars

Yogyakarta, September 2013

“I hate to stuck in traffic jam!”

Tackling traffic congestion in the mid-size city such Yogyakarta is not related with how big the city size is. In fact, the planners really have to deliver much energy in order to  fighting private car ownership rapid growth. Everybody could imagine how would awful the city while cars and motorbikes running around and producing air pollution which is contaminated by carbon dioxide.  Recently, what we imagine about Yogyakarta in the past is totally different now, which is showed by lack of pedestrian facility, traffic chaos, and million number of cars.

The city sickness is caused by economic growth aftermath which do not follow by environment awareness. Yogyakarta government actually has released good city land use plan which has regulated by the local parliament. However, what they could not do is to control land ownership and  land utilization which showed us how city plan does not works. Land market price is totally control the development and drive people to build new houses in ricefields which the price is cheaper than inthe city. On the other hand, new apartment development nearby into the city is not really popular due to culture shock issue. Therefore, nowadays, many developing cities such as Yogyakarta is facing urban sprawling issue, where new settelments are built in the out fringe area and sometimes is not yet supported with proper infrastructures.

Now we can think, how urban sprawling is connected with traffic congestion? Which one is more suitable to prioritize whether solving urban sprawling or solving traffic congestion? In Japan and Singapore, land use system are totally highly regulated and managed. Besides controlling land prices, their government have been using transportation infrastructure to maintain the city growth since 1980’s. While new Mass Rapid Transit corridor and station launched, it would easy to generate new land use developments. To answering answer this phenomenon, we can rely on how people always put convenient, livability and accesibility for their consideration when they plan to buy new property. Obviously, saving much time with having a new house or office as close as possible with MRT station are totally adorable by many people.

Building new infrastructures on certain space in order to drive land development has been proven effective in Indonesian cities that called urban decentralization by many experts. In fact, many Jakarta new settlement development is ussually located nearby intoToll Gate and highway. However, it is just frankly a wrong tool to control traffic, since it would generate more traffic while people think it shall more convenient to use car on the new road. Furthermore, at the first time it s not also effective enough to deploy traffic, but it is also would growth slowly time by time and at the end of the day new road volume would change  more crowded.

Move people, not cars. That simple statement is really necessary to change our  mindset. Even though the government build up many new urban area or making new central business district to deploy traffic without do rigorous effort to supply public transport infrastructures, that would not give us significant impact. In my opinion, I doesn’t merely wants to say that road development is not necessary, but I think we have to rlplace our priority to build new Mass Rapid Transit corridor (Bus, or Rail). Spending too much budget to facilitate cars which means supported fuel consumption is worst rather than remove commuters to use public transport. Obviously, this kind of policy it is not really popular, but would give big change for us.

Achmad Faris Saffan Sunarya


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