Public transport project aims to end traffic congestion

May 13, 2011

Public transport buses located in Laos.

Vientiane will be a better place to live when the Vientiane Sustainable Urban Transport Project gets underway, a transport official said on Thursday.

The project will include the provision of two lines of small buses in the central city area, specific parking areas so people don’t need to park on city streets, and other forms of capacity building.

The project is estimated to cost about US$30 million and will be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Preparation of the project with technical assistance, appraisal and approval by ADB Management will constitute the steps of a process that needs to take place before the project is rolled out.

This process is expected to begin in 2011, according to ADB.

The transport project draws on pilot studies carried out in three Asian cities – Vientiane, Kathmandu in Nepal and Davao in the Philippines – and is designed to reduce pollution and manage the use of private vehicles.

Earlier this week, ADB Country Director to Laos Chong Chi Nai and Director of Transport and Communication Division of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department James Lynch met with National Assembly President Ms Pany Yathortou in Vientiane.

Talks centred on the proposed project based on the findings of a prefeasibility study that was conducted in 2010.

The study identified a number of key urban transport issues centred around institutional capacity development mechanisms to allow the project to become reality.

The study scope was divided into three components: a pilot public transport service, a demonstration traffic management scheme, and institutional strengthening and capacity development. These will help the government improve environmentally sustainable transport.

According to the ADB, the improved urban transport operations and systems in Vientiane city centre will contribute to reduced congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic accidents, all as part of a sustainable urban transport programme which will support the National Environmental Sustainable Transport Strategy.

All Vientiane residents and visitors are familiar with the rapidly developing transport problems in the city centre: traffic congestion that increases daily, poorly managed and insufficient parking space, and the lack of reliable user- and environmentally-friendly public transport.

Although these problems are relatively new to Vientiane, they are quickly escalating in their severity, according to the ADB.

The study reported that, to be successful, the project will require far-reaching support from government entities and decision makers, as well as from a wide range of private stakeholders and the general public.

Initial project studies found that poor public transport results in increased private vehicle use, worse congestion and more illegal parking in the city centre.


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