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Be wary of ‘supplier-driven’ solutions, Sri Lanka transport expert says

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs to be wary of ‘supplier-driven’ solutions for its urban mobility problems and not bring in modes of transport not affordable by the poor which require state subsidies, a transport expert said.

The right technology must be brought in, said Amal Kumarage, Senior Professor of the Moratuwa University’s Department of Transport & Logistics Management.
“We need to be technically wise and sharp to know what’s suitable for us and not bring in modes of transport that are unsustainable and not affordable by the poor where the government must subsidise.”

Kumarage said it was important to integrate different transport modes so to have seamless mobility.

“We need to attract investment and be able to balance private sector aims with public sector aims, which is hard to do,” Kumarage told a forum where the World Bank’s new report on urbanisation was launched.

“For that we need committed officials backed by equally committed politicians.”

Kumarage said past experiences of bad planning had worsened transportation problems in the capital city of Colombo.

“In my time what has been planned has hardly been implemented and what has been implemented has not really been planned,” said Kumarage. “We need to try to change that.”

Transport in urban planning becoming more important as vehicle ownership is growing with more people being able to afford vehicles which causes disruption in urban mobility,
“Colombo is the only major internationally large competitive city we have in this country, unlike other countries like India or Pakistan which have several,”

“We can’t afford to get it wrong. In Sri Lanka we have one chance to get it right for the next 100 years or we go down the tube.”  (Colombo/October 02 2015)





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