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|Title: ||The rise of the private car in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Assessing the policy options|
|Authors: ||Kiggundu, Amin Tamale|
|Keywords: ||Transportation system|
|Issue Date: ||2007 |
|Citation: ||IATSS Research, 31(1): 69-77|
|Abstract: ||Introduction: In many cities today, the private car has become an important and dominant mode of transport1-3. The increasing dominance of the private car as a mode of transport is due to inherent advantages associated with its use. The unrestricted freedom that car users enjoy is one important reason why many people wish to own a car. Whilst public transport modes necessitate the sharing of services with strangers, the private car affords privacy and comfort for its user.
Additionally, the private car has become more popular and dominant than public transport because it is usually available when required, takes the user from door to door and can reach dispersed destinations. It is also worth noting that the private car has become a symbol of power, status and prestige. Furthermore, private cars enable drivers to offer free lifts to travellers, and expensive car models are often associated with wealth in society 4. It is therefore not surprising that car ownership and use are widely perceived as both a sign of affluence and increasing personal wealth.
According to Ohmae5, in countries that have reached USD3000 per capita GNP (income threshold), there is always a strong and steady demand for consumer goods such as refrigerators, colour TVs and relatively cheap motorcars. This, he says, was particularly the case in Japan when it reached the USD3000 income threshold. Ohmae further asserted that for the people below USD3000 per capita GNP, “between say, USD1500 and USD3000, the emphasis is more on motorbikes; below USD1500, it is more on bicycles”5. Ohmae finally noted that “at USD5000 income threshold, there is usually a need to construct modern and high-speed highways, build up-to-date airports as well as the demand for high quality and posh cars”.
Rapid motorization thus became an important feature of many East Asian cities such as Bangkok, Manila,
Seoul and Jakarta 6-8. Over the 1980-1990 period, the spectacular economic performance of the East Asian miracle economies such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia has created numerous employment opportunities, increased incomes and reduced poverty9-12. In Malaysia, for example, since 1987, the economy has grown at an average of 8.5 per cent each year, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world13-15. By early 1997, just before the Asian economic and financial crises, unemployment stood at 2.9 per cent and the poverty rate at 8 per cent16. Malaysia’s recent rapid growth in car ownership particularly in conurbations such as Kuala Lumpur offers evidence that rising incomes are the major driving force for car ownership.|
|Description: ||IATSS Research (online version) is produced and hosted by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences (IATSS).|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Articles (Tech)|
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