As Malaysia’s cities expand in tandem with a growing population, urban property developments and infrastructure projects have led to increased traffic congestion and higher carbon emissions. This pressing issue has prompted a closer look at Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) as a potential solution to create more sustainable and efficient urban environments.
Traffic Congestion and Urban Challenges
The rise in traffic congestion is a significant concern in Malaysia, exacerbated by rapid urbanization, high population density, a significant number of privately-owned vehicles, and inadequate transportation infrastructure. Sales of new vehicles in August 2023 increased by 6%, as reported by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA), further contributing to traffic issues. Notably, congestion in Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley, has surpassed pre-pandemic levels since the full reopening of the economy in April last year.
Value of TODs in Enhancing Accessibility
Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) have emerged as an alternative approach to address these urban challenges. Developers have recognized the value of marketing developments with access to public transportation as a key asset. Accessibility, particularly proximity to public transportation systems, plays a crucial role in enhancing the value of properties. High demand from potential buyers and robust rental demand from tenants contribute to this increased value.
TOD Expansion and Challenges
While TODs have gained traction in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley, their adoption in other regions has been slower. This is primarily due to reliance on stage bus systems in these areas, aligning development with population growth and transportation needs. However, it is expected that TOD adoption will gradually expand in other towns and cities as they develop their public transportation systems.
Importance of TODs in National Planning
The 4th National Physical Plan emphasizes the importance of Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) in achieving spatial sustainability and climate change resilience. TODs offer diverse transportation options, reducing reliance on private vehicles and encouraging alternative modes such as cycling and walking. Developers should prioritize creating transit, pedestrian, and bicycle-friendly environments, particularly in high-density areas, to address traffic congestion and minimize road infrastructure costs.
Affordable Housing and TODs
To reduce transportation costs, especially for lower-income groups like the B40, there is a need to prioritize the development of affordable housing (Rumah Mampu Milik) near public transportation transit nodes in urban areas. This approach allows residents to reduce their reliance on private vehicles and contributes to the creation of more accessible and inclusive communities.
Enhancing Property Value through Location and Accessibility
Location is a crucial factor in enhancing property value. Properties located in strategic and prime areas with easy access to highways, public amenities, and transit systems have a higher value. Proximity to public transit stations, in particular, significantly influences property demand and pricing. The convenience and accessibility provided by public transportation systems make properties near transit stations more attractive to buyers.
Incentives for TODs
Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) often receive incentives from planning authorities, such as higher plot ratios, reduced parking requirements, and encouragement for mixed-use development. As traffic congestion worsens, more people are opting for public transportation, making properties with convenient access to transit systems highly desirable.
Optimizing Land and Space Around Transit Stations
There is a significant opportunity for optimizing land and space around public transit stations. Local authorities should explore ways to maximize the use of land and space above and around these stations to plan for the future of major cities and urban areas. This approach can lead to more efficient land use and transportation systems.
In summary, Transit-Oriented Developments (TODs) hold great promise in addressing Malaysia’s urban challenges, including traffic congestion and environmental concerns. These developments offer accessibility, convenience, and sustainability, making them an essential component of future urban planning and development.