Urbanization has been making drastic changes in large cities across the globe, especially in growing economies. The increased affluence of citizens and influx of people from more rural areas have caused a significant increase in urban families owning cars. Combined with transport infrastructures like roads and lights that are unable to keep up with the surge in road usage, chronic traffic congestion has become a headache for officials and city dwellers alike. This has become such a challenge that commuting during rush hour can sometimes be a daunting task. In fact, time spent in traffic in certain cities in Asia is estimated to amount up to 24 days per year.
Despite the significant time spent in traffic, congestions are also usually unpredictable. This often leaves us helpless and frustrated, especially if you find yourself in an unfamiliar city. Apart from the tolls it has on our mental state, traffic congestion also affects economic growth. To give you an idea of how traffic affects our lives, here is an infographic of the traffic status and behaviors of popular cities during peak hours:
Cities with Bad Traffic Conditions
The capital region of this island nation is home to over 12 million people with a daytime population of 15 million. This translates to around 21,000 people per square kilometer, making it one of the most densely populated cities in the world. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for ride-hailing service Uber Philippines showed that the average time spent in traffic per person goes up to 16 days per year. And that's not including the 24 minutes spent a day looking for parking.
Recent efforts to alleviate traffic congestions include the consideration of an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), improvements on public transport systems and the recent passing of the Telecommuting Act.
Bangkok is split up into 50 districts and holds quite a number of business and retail districts. With the exact location of Central Business Districts (CBD) shifting over time, Bangkok is now split into its Core CBD and Outer CBD. The Core CBD is made up of its original CBD locations, Silom and Ploenchit. While the Outer CBD is mostly made up of Sukhumvit. While the distribution of its CBD and the recently built mass transit lines have firmly anchored the Core and Outer CBD, traffic congestion in Bangkok is still a pertinent challenge. The same study from BCG shows that the average time spent in traffic per person is estimated to be 24 days per year.
Recent efforts to alleviate traffic congestions include stricter enforcement of traffic laws, road improvement projects, and flood control programs. However, some districts like Ekkamai, Ratchadaphisek and Rama III have also started to boom, providing reason to believe that the city is set for yet another extension of its CBD.
Inrix ranks Jakarta as the second-most congested city in Asia next to Bangkok and 17th in the world. With over 10 million people trying to get to their destinations in and out of the city, traffic jams are a common occurrence in Indonesia’s capital. In fact, the BCG study reported that the average time spent in traffic per person is estimated to be 22 days per year.
Recent efforts to alleviate traffic congestions include the high-occupancy vehicle scheme and odd-even plate program. To augment this, plans have been announced to integrate an electronic road pricing system that aims to charge motorists for entering certain roads.
Cities with Good Traffic Conditions
Tokyo has managed to keep congestion at bay with an effective public transportation system despite being the most populous metropolitan area in the world. The city has an impressive infrastructure that includes a complex railway system and snaking bike lanes that eliminate the need for cars.
The railway system in Tokyo is so efficient that on a busy day, it might process up to three million passengers a day without much complaints and agitation. With such an efficient public transport system, for most residents its just not worth owning or commuting in a car, making the roads significantly less congested than other cities.
Singapore has done relatively well in alleviating, and improving, the challenge of traffic congestion. This has been done through multiple solutions including systems to control car and road usage like the electronic road pricing and certificate of entitlement system. Additionally, like Japan, the country has an efficient and constantly improving public transport system.
Singapore has also embraced technological innovations like carpooling initiatives such as Grab-share to further curb congestion. Singapore now sits at the 55th place on the TomTom Traffic Index, an index that ranks the severity of traffic congestions on roads during peak hours across major cities.
Getting caught in heavy traffic is something that we all want to avoid. With the help of innovative and well executed solutions, combined with some savvy decision making, there’s a chance to significantly alleviate the growing traffic congestion wherever you are in the world. However, perhaps for some, the solution might be thinking out of the box by taking urban mobility to the skies.
We believe Ascent is a step forward - one where mobility is an end-to-end service, starting with helicopters to skip the traffic and with first and last mile land transport to get from door-to-door seamlessly. A platform built specifically for you to regain control and value of your time.
Ascent is a Singapore based startup powering Air Mobility in Asia. Technology and experience driven, Ascent is a Global Air Mobility Platform that integrates ecosystems and runs operations such as air taxi, touristic, cargo and medical services, within urban areas and across regions. Ascent ambitions to democratize Air Mobility, as a convenient, reliable and sustainable mode of mobility that addresses congestion, connectivity, environmental sustainability and health issues generated by rapid urbanization and the pandemic. Ascent is operational in the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Chile and the United Arab Emirates. Awaiting all-electric aircraft such as eVTOLs, Ascent makes use of helicopters and planes today.
For more information, please visit www.ascent.flights
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