The Integration of Micro-mobility into Malaysia’s Urban Transportation to Enhance First and Last Mile Connectivity

The Integration of Micro-mobility into Malaysia’s Urban Transportation to Enhance First and Last Mile Connectivity



The Integration of Micro-mobility into Malaysia’s Urban Transportation to Enhance First and Last Mile Connectivity

Urban areas in Malaysia are facing significant challenges due to high traffic congestion, air quality and mobility issues. With the urban population expected to rise substantially in the coming decades, micromobility is the way forward to transform urban congestion, reduce carbon emission and a more connected society, thus addressing first and last mile connectivity issue.

In line with the 12th Malaysia Plan to increase public transport’s modal share to 40% by 2030 and to invest infrastructure development that supports micromobility, I would like to put forward six (6) recommendations to address the pressing need and slow take up of micromobility solutions.

My recommendations are as follows: 1) A clear demarcation of duties in regulating micromobility solutions between Federal and Local Governments; 2) The establishment of a legal framework by the Federal Government to standardize the jurisdiction of e-scooters across all government agencies which often becomes a hindrance to adoption by city councils; 3) The construction of dedicated lanes for e-scooters (and other forms of micromobility such as bicycles) on roads that have speed limits above 30 km/h in all major cities, with measures to prevent misuse by cars and motorcycles; 4) The conversion of car parks into e-scooter reserved parking at strategic locations like MRT/LRT stations; 5) Financial incentives for users and operators such as subsidies and tax rebates and 6) Grants to local municipalities for the development of e-scooter-friendly infrastructure, in line with investments in sustainable modes of transport based on the released 2023 Guidelines on Micromobility Lanes.

I believe my proposals will address the challenges to adopt micromobility in Malaysia, which are as follows: 1) Lack of necessary infrastructure to accommodate e-scooters in the form of dedicated lanes; 2) High humidity and rainfall in our country that makes for unsafe conditions for small, lightweight micromobility devices; 3) Lack of any kind of comprehensive legal framework to address the problem; and 4) Initial cost of setup and the ongoing maintenance costs for potential operators.

In comparison with policies and practices of countries such as Australia and Japan, the best practice of micromobility is for the Federal Government to set vehicle specification requirements, besides general guidelines for local authorities to follow while the respective local authorities determine the specific matters of road use, pavement use, rider age limits and maximum speed.

In addition, these countries and their respective local authorities allow e-scooters to be used on “Slow Roads” with a speed limit of up to 60 km/h while having similar regulations with bicycles. Taking Australia as an example, the National Transport Commission has created recommendations for common micromobility legislation across all Australian States and territories while Australia’s six states have their own respective jurisdictions and the ability to create regulations and laws suitable for local contexts. Japan has also adopted a similar approach to e-scooter regulation.

The global micromobility market has seen exponential growth, expected to be worth over USD 300 to 500 billion by 2030. It has brought widespread benefits within several countries in East Asia and Europe, with cities such as Madrid and Seoul integrating e-scooters extensively to ‘modernise’ into their transportation ecosystem. Hence, it is a widely accepted practice for e-scooters to be regarded as a means of “transport for commute” instead of “recreational and leisurely use”.

In conclusion, the successful adoption of micro-mobility can lead to decreased urban congestion and pollution, besides pave the way for a sustainable and accessible urban transport system across many cities in a country.

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