The Evolution of Sustainable Transport in Thailand

I never thought that it would be possible to write an article on the progress of sustainable transport planning in Thailand. For decades there has been continuous investment in new roads, particularly highways (that without a doubt are required as a foundation for social and economic growth especially for a country of Thailand’s size), but now the experts and the government are starting to realise that it is not sustainable to keep meeting the increased demand for travel with new supply of roads and very little investment in public ‘sustainable’ transport.

Here are some transport infrastructure facts about Thailand (estimated by sources at MOT and World Bank):

  • Thailand road network = 490,000 km
  • Thailand rail network = 4356 km

There are 112 times more kilometres of road than rail in Thailand, which when compared to other countries highlights its imbalance:

  • Australia - 26 times more road than rail
  • Germany – 16 times more road than rail
  • Great Britain – 24 times more road than rail
  • Vietnam – 85 times more road than rail

Developed between 1890’s and 1940’s, Thailand’s rail network was one of the first in Asia; the problem is that it hasn’t been upgraded or increased much in the last 50 years. Many of you will know that it is actually quicker to travel inter-city by bus than train. However, the train is generally more comfortable and safe than the bus and has the potential (with investment) to provide more efficient and sustainable travel in the future.

Over 90% of the railway network is single track, one meter gauge, which although restricts train type and speed is compatible with its surrounding countries (most of Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam). However, standard gauge and double tracking are regarded as the network of the future by rail engineers across the world, especially for High Speed Rail (HSR).

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January 12, 2012

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How does transport planning fit into Meinhardt's capabilities?
Previously, many of Meinhardt’s development-related projects required a traffic impact study or transport planning input; until now, Meinhardt has appointed sub-consultants to carry out this work. We now have the benefit of providing a more integrated and efficient service by offering transport planning to our clients.

At the same time, we are growing transport-led projects, such as planning for roads and metros, which can indirectly provide our Civil, Structural, Infrastructure and Environment teams with more exposure.

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