Kamis, Desember 07, 2017

How to add traffic congestion to your city? Build more roads

Despite the massive effort and investment into mass transit projects in Jakarta, the city government is still eager to build flyovers and even toll-road, as a way to mitigate the traffic congestion in the city. This post explains why the investment towards road has negative impact on urban mobility.

Inaugurated on the 2017 Independence Day, by President Joko Widodo, the new circle flyover at Semanggi interchange in Jakarta has been praised as an innovative project by many. Claimed as a measure to reduce congestion by 20%, the flyover was built using new construction technology, at least in Indonesia, and built without any public fund. The Rp360 billion investment—from Rp579 billion given—was built using so-called “compensated funding scheme” by private developer, a financing scheme developed as an exchange for extra floor allowance given to the developer.

Induced traffic
Relieving traffic congestion has always been the main argument to build the new road or interchange whilst precisely leading to the fallacy of floor area ratio (KLB) compensation allocation. The phenomenon is called induced traffic which is, economically speaking, people tend to utilise something even more when the supply increases, especially something that is completely free. It happens for the case of adding more roads, too.

Two economists from University of Toronto and University of Pennsylvania, Turner and Duranton, wrote “The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities”. They compared the number of roads built in cities in the US between 1980 to 2000, and the vehicles kilometer travelled (VKT) in the same period. It is a match correlation that every 10 per cent increase of road between 1980-1990 and 1990-2000 induced 10 per cent more of VKT.

In practical domain, California Department of Transport, commonly known as Caltrans, also admitted that more roads mean more traffic. The institution linked to a policy brief written by Susan Handy from University California, Davis, and highlighted the empirical evidence of induced traffic, VKT addition both in short- and long-term and surprisingly most of the traffic is entirely new.

The traditional way to mitigate congestion by adding more lanes or roads is proven as a myth. The most popular analogy is curing obesity by loosening the belt which does not solve the root of the problem. It may provide faster travel time in the short term, but all the construction benefits are all lost because of the increased demand in the long term.

Six inner-city highways
Not to mention Jakarta is currently facing another huge threat of induced traffic phenomenon. It is the six inner-city highways. The massive Rp41 trillion for 69 kilometers highway investment has begun its construction in Kelapa Gading for Pulogebang - Sunter section. Yes, it is surely intended for cars, not people.

As explained earlier, constructing more roads either elevated or underground is definitely not the answer to solve the problem in urban context. Investment in urban highways reduces the city’s capacity to connect its people for daily interaction.

The torn down Park East Freeway in Milwaukee, Cheonggyecheon Freeway in Seoul and Inner Ring Expressway in Bogota are international examples that cities around the world have shifted their mindset to prioritise people by regenerating the same spot into place of interaction such as boulevards and plazas. Those cities were literally tearing down their freeways, why would Jakarta start again the illusive approach?

There are places outside Jakarta and Java that, foremost, need highway to boost the economic growth. Jakarta is at tipping point to decide whether to prioritise people or cars. Bold and thoughtful commitment from the government alongside with citizen support are crucially needed to turn the project down.

Logically, similar formula could also be applied to induce pedestrian, cyclist and public transport user. Budget should be allocated for sidewalk, bicycle lane and public transport revitalisation and that is the form of commitment for sustainable and equitable city. It really is a matter of priority. In line with that, the city has no right to limit people from buying their own cars, but it has the obligation to protect and prioritise its people by promoting efficient urban mobility especially in the heart of the city.

Also worth to note that cities improvements do not necessarily have to start with billion or trillion rupiah budget. Janette Sadik-Khan, the former New York City Transport Commissioner, gave example by streets operating code review, existing space adaptation with tactical urbanism and parking regulation adjustment.

It is important to strive for accurate long-term planning and goals because it is too common to see decision makers only execute short-term and easy-to-implement solutions during their defined service length. They often forget that “public”, the people who directly affected by their decision, is the key word in the phrase of public policy. Thus, it is important to decide without compromising fairness and choose the best interest of the public.

To sum up, cities would need countless road to accommodate cars. Rather than building more roads, cities should promote equality by prioritising pedestrian, cyclist and public transport user.

Minggu, Juli 02, 2017


Saya langsung mengganti saluran televisi yang menyiarkan acara motivasi. Saya tidak berpikir motivasi bisa didapatkan dengan menonton atau duduk dalam sebuah acara formal melalui wejangan seorang motivator. Sebaliknya, motivasi, inspirasi, hingga rasa syukur justru singgah secara natural dan organik melalui perbincangan santai di dalam lingkaran-lingkaran pergaulan kecil ketika tidak ada ekspektasi. Beberapa lingkaran patut dijaga.

Selasa, April 11, 2017

Global Transport

Feet, bicycle, buses, metros, cars, planes, ships or whatever the mode to travel and get around, there is no escaping away from transport as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is worth to mention that 8 out of 17 of those goals are either directly or indirectly related to transport. Therefore, it is important to focus on sustainable transport as one area of global governance and international cooperation.

All forms of transport mode and infrastructure play distinctive role to keep the world moving. On the other side, cleaner transport could cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet the goal of climate action. Without suitable connection and proper prioritization between these two, it is difficult to build resilience for the planet where currently transport is contributing for most air pollution.

Transport sector accounts for 23% of global carbon emissions. Global leaders gathered in COP21 in Paris and set an ambitious target of 2-degree increment. While actions need to be done from all angles of transport, a study from The International Council on Clean Transportation Roadmap suggested that we should pay more attention to urban transport and freight. It is crucial to keep promoting the build of compact cities and societies that rely on mass transit. To achieve greater results, international cooperation in global perspective is compulsory as part of global policy-making.

One of the main challenges is in this interconnected world we cannot simply pick partners who just have the same side, or rather we have to choose them according to the common challenges even though they have adverse mindset. Every related parties, including the "villains" from the perspective of sustainable transport, need to be pulled in the same direction. For example, car manufacturers demand the increase of sales growth each year, or more flight numbers to gain more revenue from airlines. It is crucial to look the future differently that to be less reliant on fossil fuel through less carbon or even carbon-neutral technology development.

Another challenge to name, transport development is hardly seen as straightforward execution. It is mostly top-down decision with other political considerations involving complex parties from national and local executive, legislative, private players and public itself. In this way, it is worth to strive for accurate long-term planning and goals because unfortunately it is too common to see decision makers only execute short-term and easy-to-implement solutions during their defined service length. Constructing elevated road, for example, seems considerably easier than land-use reform to alleviate congestion. This challenge is also related to state budget which is limited and we need other creative ways to fund transport infrastructure.

This situation is fully realized at global level but societies at every layer should also be treated and educated locally as we live on the same planet. We need paradigm shift of how cities should be developed. In urban transport development, the urge for transit-oriented development (TOD) cannot be set aside. TOD promotes non-motorized transport, compact and mixture of land-use development with high quality public transport. Automation and electrification of vehicles and shared mobility are also rising as part of solutions to minimize emission. Moreover, bureaucratic reform is important to place the right man on the right position and promote inclusive and transparent governance. It continues with delivering best technical expertise, not just within one guy, but the whole team as well. It is not impossible to unravel complex inter-dependencies with credible commitment and collective action.

Selasa, Maret 28, 2017

Jumat Sore

Jumat sore itu, lalu lintas seperti biasanya, tersendat di segala arah. Stasiun Transjakarta Cawang UKI semakin sesak, bus untuk beberapa rute yang tidak kunjung datang menyebabkan penumpukan penumpang di area tertentu. Setelah lebih dari 40 menit menunggu, bus jurusan Pluit/Grogol akhirnya tiba. Petugas on-board berteriak dengan lantang, "Lewat tol, ya!", tetapi seakan tidak ada yang peduli. Pikiran para penglaju ini hanya terfokus agar bisa segera naik dan sampai di rumah.

Bus masuk ke jalan tol dalam kota selepas Stasiun BNN. Momen ini mulai menyadarkan banyak orang tentang situasi yang tidak seperti biasanya terjadi. Setelah refleksi diri usai, para penglaju ini akhirnya membagi kebingungan satu sama lain.

"Masuk tol, ya? Keluar lagi di mana, Mas?"
"Semanggi, Pak!"
"Wah, nggak berhenti di Stasiun Cawang? Saya mau ke Depok!"
"Kuningan Barat juga tidak berhenti?"
"Kita keluar di Semanggi, Pak. Pemberhentian selanjutnya adalah Halte Semanggi"

Konstruksi LRT Cawang - Dukuh Atas mengurangi jumlah lajur di Jalan M.T. Haryono dan punya dampak yang signifikan. Bukannya memprioritaskan transportasi publik yang sudah ada, dishub justru menghilangkan separator Transjakarta. Hal ini disesali oleh banyak pihak. Bukan tanpa alasan, Pinang Ranti - Gatot Subroto Jamsostek yang biasanya ditempuh satu jam, kini menjadi lebih dari dua jam karena Transjakarta kehilangan jalur eksklusifnya. Padahal ini momentum yang tepat untuk menunjukkan supremasi sebuah sistem transportasi publik.

Alternatif yang dieksekusi oleh Transjakarta adalah sedikit mengubah rencana operasinya dengan melaju lewat jalan tol dalam kota. Beberapa penglaju kena getahnya. Mereka yang hendak transfer di Stasiun Cawang Cikoko atau Kuningan Barat terpaksa meneruskan hingga Semanggi lalu kembali ke arah yang telah dilalui sebelumnya. Waktu semakin banyak yang terbuang di perjalanan.

Alih-alih terjadi kericuhan di dalam bus, para penglaju malah seperti menertawakan diri sendiri. Di tengah kebingungan dan kepasrahan itu muncul interaksi, saling sapa dan tanya. Kepala mereka akhirnya menengadah dari yang awalnya tertunduk sepanjang perjalanan akibat sihir layar ponsel pintar. Ah, inilah situasi ibukota, pelik, tetapi pilihan untuk menikmati Jumat sore itu selalu ada.

Sabtu, Februari 04, 2017


Orisinal adalah kata yang tepat untuk menyimpulkan acara spesial @adrianoqalbi. Adri tampil sebagai Adri. Dia tidak peduli dengan penilaian orang sekitar, termasuk ketika membawakan acara spesialnya.

Contoh yang diingat oleh banyak orang pasti bit Adri yang satu ini, "Stand-up kan adu lucu, bukan adu hafal". Bit itu disampaikan tanpa kepalsuan dengan kertas daftar materi yang dijajarkan setengah lingkaran di lantai panggung. Sesekali Adri melirik bukan tanpa ketahuan oleh penonton.

Sesuai judulnya, "Lo Pikir Lo Keren" berangkat dari keresahan Adri melihat banyak hal sehari-hari yang konyol dan tidak santai. Mulai dari percakapan grup whatsapp, pilkada DKI, hingga hubungan asmara. Ketika begitu banyak orang melampaui batas dan merasa dirinya benar atau keren, mungkin saat itu tercetus pertanyaan "lo pikir lo keren dengan kayak gitu?".

Stand-up comedy yang secara harfiah adalah penyampaian komedi dengan berdiri, maknanya bisa lebih luas daripada itu, ia berarti berdiri atas apa yang diyakini. Malam itu di Usmar Ismail kami berbagi keresahan yang sama. Keresahan itu sama-sama kami tertawakan. Di situ ada kesamaan perspektif antara komika dengan penonton dan sialnya Adri selalu saja punya analogi sederhana yang tepat.

Malam itu cerah, kami semua pulang dengan senyum merekah.

Lo pikir lo keren, huh?

Acara ini dibuka oleh tiga komika yang juga luar biasa: @bendhanio, @patragumala, dan @kukuhya.
Foto oleh @piokharisma.

Kamis, Januari 26, 2017

Ramadan 2014

Riuh suasana pemilihan presiden di tanah air tidak akan bisa memudarkan pesona Ramadan tahun ini. Jika sebelumnya penempaan Ramadan terjadi di ekuatorial, kali ini perantauan menyeret jauh ke Utara, ke Negeri Ratu Elizabeth!

Kombinasi 23,5 derajat sudut inklinasi Bumi, pertengahan tahun, dan posisi belahan Bumi Utara membuat matahari betah berlama-lama singgah setiap harinya. Subuh pukul 02:30 dan Magrib pukul 21:30 membuat durasi puasa bisa mencapai 19 jam. Seorang rekan lokal bahkan berkata, "That's insane, it's too much!".

Tidak ada suara adzan bergema, tidak ada penjaja takjil, tidak ada sabetan sarung para bocah. Apapun wujudmu, wahai Ramadan, terima kasih telah hadir sebagai sebuah sistem kontemplasi.

Leeds, Juli 2014

Senin, Januari 16, 2017

Pesan Awal Hatta

"Allah tidak kekurangan suatu apa pun, tidak kurang hormat, tidak kurang kebesaran, tidak ingin disembah dan dipuji. Sembah dan pujian kepada Allah tidak lain maksudnya daripada didikan kepada diri sendiri, supaya menjadi orang yang lebih baik dan cinta kepada yang benar yang ditunjukkan Allah, kepada yang adil dan jujur, serta kasih antara sesama manusia."
Hatta, Mohammad
Bukittinggi - Rotterdam Lewat Betawi

Minggu, Januari 08, 2017

Tulisan Berbalas Tulisan

Pilkada Jakarta. Linimasa media sosial semakin riuh. Namun, ada satu hal yang membuat hati sedikit lega di balik pekaknya suasana: tulisan berbalas tulisan. Seorang netizen mengungkapkan kekecewaannya terhadap salah satu cagub lewat tulisannya (2-1-2017), kemudian direspons oleh netizen lain lewat tulisan (3-1-2017) pula. Tidak berhenti sampai di situ, netizen pertama meluncurkan tulisan keduanya (5-1-2017).

Saya tidak akan membahas isi tulisan-tulisan tersebut. Yang jelas, ini adalah sebuah kebiasaan literasi yang baik yang semoga terus tumbuh di Indonesia.

Kejadian ini mengingatkan saya dengan iklim serupa yang sudah masif terbangun di luar Indonesia. Ada sebuah mata kuliah wajib bernama understanding travel behaviour. Saya ingat betul kuliah itu dimulai dengan satu pertanyaan: why people travel? Tugas kuliah (coursework) pertama berupa esai 1.500 kata tentang travel as derived demand yang bobotnya 25% dari nilai total modul.

Sistem pendidikan di sana memaksa mahasiswa untuk membaca jurnal dan mengutip kembali data ilmiah yang disampaikan oleh penulis jurnal dengan kalimat sendiri (paraphrase). Lagipula, salin-tempel sangat tidak disarankan mengingat ada Turnitin yang mampu mengecek tingkat keaslian kata-kata yang dibuat.

Penjelasan umum travel as derived demand adalah orang bepergian hanya untuk memenuhi kebutuhan mereka di tempat lain. Button (2010) menguatkan argumen ini lewat teori ekonomi bahwa konsumen bertindak berdasarkan keputusan rasional. Dalam hal ini, memaksimalkan kesejahteraan dapat diperoleh dengan meminimalkan waktu tempuh. Penjelasan Button tadi didukung oleh Fowkes (2010) dan Mackie (2001) yang menjelaskan bahwa waktu adalah komponen terbatas dan perlu dikuantifikasi dalam analisis skema pembiayaan infrastruktur transportasi lewat VTTS (value of travel time saving).

Mokhtarian (2001) punya kritik terhadap penjelasan di atas dan mengatakan "travel is not purely derived from demand". Dari survei yang ia lakukan untuk 1.900 sampel, lebih dari 75% sampel menyatakan mereka bepergian hanya untuk kesenangan dan dua pertiga sampel tidak setuju kalau mencapai tujuan adalah hal yang paling penting. Metz (2007) melihat ada ketidaksempurnaan metode penaksiran investasi transportasi (transport investment appraisal) ketika VTTS masuk di dalamnya.

Saya takjub sendiri mereka bisa berdebat secara sehat dalam ruang dan waktu yang berbeda. Kondisi beda pendapat namun tetap kepala dingin ini semoga juga bisa menjalar di Indonesia.

Minggu, Januari 01, 2017

Memulai 2017

Penghujung 2016 ditutup dengan percakapan ringan dan sebuah pesan dari seorang sahabat.
"Semesta sudah terkondisikan dengan baik, Gan, tinggal bagaimana kita meresponnya saja."
Saatnya melepas kisah 2016, memulai kembali di 2017 dengan percaya sungguh-sungguh Tuhan memeluk mereka yang terus punya asa.