International Development Planning Review

Transport, urban structure and 'lock-in' in the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area

International Development Planning Review (2004), 26, (1), 1–24.

Abstract

The concept of 'automobile dependence', interpreted as a path-dependence phenomenon, informs this assessment of urban transport and structure trends in the Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan Area (KLMA). 'Automobile-dependent' cities, where high private vehicle use is strongly entrenched, are contrasted with 'traffic-saturated' cities, in which modest numbers of vehicles cause great problems for urban structures that are unsuited to them. Data from a recent international compilation are used to place the KLMA's patterns into perspective. The KLMA is found to be not yet very automobile dependent but a number of strong trends are encouraging and entrenching ever higher private motor vehicle use. Agencies in the KLMA are investing heavily in car-oriented mobility, while building urban designs that are hostile to non-car alternatives, yet with densities that may be incompatible with high car ownership and usage. These trends seem to run the risk of entrenching an intractable traffic crisis.

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Barter, Paul