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Building Capacity for Urban Transport Planning

Comprehensive planning for urban transport is extremely important and piecemeal solutions have not been effective.  For instance, efforts that only focus on construction, such as building flyovers or high-cost mass transit systems, are inadequate unless accompanied by suitable land-use planning and demand-side measures.  It is also essential to consider the transport needs of different population groups, such as women, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and children. Each of these groups needs mobility and their travel needs and patterns vary widely.

As part of our efforts to help build capacity for urban transport planning, we just held a capacity building program at the Land Transport Authority Academy (LTAA) in Singapore from January 27 to February 2.  Twenty-seven participants from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Vietnam attended this latest offering of the World Bank’s Leaders in Urban Transport Planning (LUTP) program.  All of them had previously followed a month-long self-study phase to prepare for it.

The program was opened by Mohinder Singh, Dean of the LTAA, and by Abhas Jha, Sector Manager, Transport, Urban, and Disaster Risk Management Unit, and Kamran Khan, Program Manager, Singapore Liaison Office, in the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Region.  Bert Hofman, Director and Chief Economist in the World Bank’s East Asia and Pacific Region, attended the closing function.

The LUTP program seeks to develop capacity at leadership levels in comprehensive and holistic transport planning.  Given the nature of the target group, it emphasizes the case study approach to learning.  In addition there are group exercises, site visits, and lectures on the local context.  Initially launched in Singapore in January 2012, the LUTP program has already been offered eight times and in four languages (Chinese, English, French, and Spanish).  Over 250 participants from 30 countries have benefited so far.

The recent course in Singapore used seven case studies to explore different dimensions of urban transport, such as integrated land use and transport planning, diagnosing the problem, public-private partnerships, analysis of alternatives, market structure for public transport, and governance.

The feedback we received from the participants was very positive.  One person praised the case study discussions and assignments for being “based on real-life experience and real-time relevance; most recent and up-to-date [information] related to issues facing some major cities around the world.”  Another participant said, “The program is very useful to all agencies involved in land-use and transport planning and for transport managers. I will definitely recommend this program to other senior managers.”

Mohinder Singh, Dean of the LTAA; Ochie Adewumi, Roads Specialist, Lagos Transport Authority;
Bert Hofman, Director and Chief Economist, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank

Participants also expressed strong appreciation for the opportunity the program gave them to interact with and learn from their peers in other countries.  This helped them realize they are not alone and others face similar problems.  A common sight was exchange of emails and telephone numbers among the participants and a desire to keep in touch.  What better way to build a community of practice for urban transport leaders!  The Bank intends to nurture this community and keep it updated with new knowledge from the practice.

The program was made possible with the generous support of ESMAP, PPIAF and AusAid. Their contributions made it possible to develop all the learning material and also conduct the different offerings. The next offerings of the LUTP program will be in Mexico City (Spanish – May 2013), Marseille (French – June 2013), Ahmedabad(English – July 2013), Seoul (English – September 2013), and Singapore (English – January 2014). The National Academy of Mayors in China will also be offering the program in Chinese with World Bank support.

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