History has shown that highway-based urban sprawl in Klang Valley has never, ever, solve the problem of urban congestion. On the contrary, it downgrades livability. Without coordination in inter-municipal spatial and transport planning, future of Klang Valley looks very bleak to our future generations. Do not let history repeats itself.
The present auto-oriented transport networks and outward residential growth promote long-distance commute pattern that can’t be sustained without further eroding quality of life through the vicious cycle of free-flowing roadways and traffic jams. Expanding expensive rail lines as the only countermeasure is not only expensive, but also counterproductive and noncompetitive as it fails to address the public transport network fixity problem.
Introducing Klang Valley Urban Growth Strategy 2025, which relies on coordinated regional planning across 10 municipalities towards Sustainable Urban Nodes and Transport Network (SANTAN).
TIPS: Click the upper right-hand corner icon to enlarge the map. Inspect the individual elements of the Strategy by first toggling the layers (via the tick boxes), and second by hovering and clicking over the element(s) you choose to learn about.
The Strategy aims to promote higher level of livability through transport linkages and spatial nodes that can sustain future economic, social and environmental pressures, not limited to urban sprawl, auto dependency, congestion, pollution, housing affordability, traffic injuries, public health and social equity issues.
A livable region promotes shorter trips, where people do not have to travel far to live, work, and play. This is unlike the present plethora of reactive transport fix bandages of sprawling commute-oriented highways and rail lines that can’t be utilised enough for non-commute activities which unfortunately represent the highest share out of all trips made.
Frequent Rapid Transit (RT), frequent highway and local bus networks, which run timetable-free (12-mins maximum, all-day), form the primary framework for regional and local growth.
Metropolitan Cores (Kuala Lumpur, Kajang and Klang City Centres) are served by at least two regional RT lines that reach out to at least four different considerably-distanced regional directions when combined with regional highway bus routes. They possess the best geographical fit to serve as regional employment and commercial activity anchors to the entire region.
Metropolitan City Centres are selected based on similar principles, except Rawang and Putrajaya, which, despite being in the fringes, possess massive greenfield-based intensification potentials to transform the surrounding bedroom communities into vibrant sub-regional cities of their own right.
Sub-Regional Cores are served by at least one frequent bus and one frequent RT lines that reach out to at least four different considerably-distanced sub-regional directions. Likewise, Sub-Regional Centres are intersected by at least two frequent bus lines. These centres possess the best geographical fit to serve as local employment and commercial activity anchors.
The fundamental reason as to why the urban centres are located at the crossing paths of multiple transit lines (or the other way around: the lines are anchored to the cores and centres), is because people are more willing to make transit connections in vibrant, walkable places (such as chaining together work and grocery trips). This is not too different from the way past civilisations and ancient empires were anchored on merging trading paths. The entire area within the urban centre boundaries are to be made walkable and barrier-free from one corner to the other, with stringent pedestrian-oriented building codes and minimal parking requirements fully enforced onto any new (re)developments.
The positioning of Cores and Centres away from Kuala Lumpur ensures optimally distributed travel movement pattern across the huge swath of sprawl in Klang Valley. In other words, this would help to relieve the huge stress the sprawl is causing onto the present transport infrastructure as inbound-to-outbound and peak-to-off-peak trip volume gaps are minimised. For example, operational productivity and sustainability of Kelana Jaya and Ampang Lines will increase if more and more folks along the western sections of the corridors choose to work in Putra Heights.
A minimum target of 80% of new commercial growth (measured in commercial outlet licenses/permits) should be planned for these Cores and Centres (i.e. 30% in Metropolitan Cores and Centres, and 50% in Sub-Regional Cores and Centres). A maximum threshold of 20% of new residential growth (measured in dwelling units) should occur in areas not served by frequent bus and RT nodes. 0% of new high-density residential and commercial developments (or re-developments) should occur in areas not served by frequent bus and RT nodes.
Metropolitan/Conurbation Urban Growth Boundary serves as a protection to avoid further losses in agricultural land banks and natural forest reserves which are critical components to Klang Valley’s ecosystem. Urban sprawl must not be allowed to leapfrog beyond Kapar-Puncak Alam-Batu Arang-Bukit Beruntung in the north, and Semenyih-Bandar Baru Bangi-Putrajaya-Dengkil-Saujana Putra-Jenjarom in the south.
Separate strategies are required for townships in Salak Tinggi and Nilai to outgrow their status as mere bedroom communities to Kuala Lumpur and become self-sustaining economic centres of their own rights with greater urban ties to Seremban conurbation.