TL;DR: New Urban Agenda sets up the consensus among countries in the world on how to have sustainable development.
New Urban Agenda is a document agreed upon at the Habitat III cities conference that outlines the vision for a sustainable development of cities through 2036; one of which is to improve land public transportation network in countries around the world so that urban development would be more inclusive in providing equal access to mobility and transportation regardless of one’s geographical location be it in the city as well as in rural areas.
The issue with public transportation in Malaysia is two-pronged; the lack of accessibility and connectivity as the infrastructure is either absent or underdeveloped; or even if the system is present, the quality and capacity of the public transportation are questionable thus making people hardly substitute the comfort of their own cars with public transport.
In Malaysian context, the effort to tackle the aforementioned issues is led by Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD); a government agency that provides stewardship and direction on the public transportation system. The recent Land Public Transport Symposium organized by SPAD, with the theme ‘Reimagining Connectivity: Sustainable Mobility’ is a platform to showcase the progress thus far by celebrating and reflecting on the state of land public transport system while encouraging participants to embrace the future of transportation.
Local industry players are recognized for their effort in working tirelessly behind the scene to deliver the best service and experience to consumers. Awards such as Best Express Bus Operators, Best Rail Operator, and Innovation Award will incentivize them to further enhance and improve day-to-day operation to the benefit of society at large. Railway projects that can potentially increase connectivity between major cities, town, and rural villages such as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), High Speed Rail (HSR), and East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) are also highlighted during this symposium.
Apart from tracking the quality and efficiency of the conventional public transportation system, it is also important to start preparing for the future of land public transport. Disruptive technologies such as hail ride services (i.e. Grab and Uber) and experimental technology like Hyperloop are changing the terrain of the industry now more than ever. The symposium becomes a platform to discuss opportunities and challenges that lie ahead through engagement with speakers and panel discussions that feature NGO leaders, policy makers, academics, and civil society.
Public transportation should not be a seasonal issue but should be discussed continuously as wider access and improved services obviously brings local impact while at the same time provides Malaysia the chance to be a part of something bigger by contributing towards the larger goal of New Urban Agenda.