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Sustainable Transportation
15 November, 1997

Sustainable Transport Action Network for Asia and the Pacific (SUSTRAN)
Dr A. Rahman Paul BARTER
P.O. Box 11501, Kuala Lumpur 50748, Malaysia.
TEL/FAX: +60 3 2274 2590

  1. New distribution method for flashes
  2. Please send details for contacts directory
  3. Creatively fighting forced evictions in Manila.
  4. Sustainable Penang initiative
  5. Bicycle advocacy news from Manila
  6. Melbourne tollway court battles continue.
  7. Toll road fight in Santiago, Chile
  8. FOE Bangladesh raises alarm over Dhaka air pollution
  9. USA transport sector and global warming
  10. Caution over Asian dependence on Middle East oil
  11. New resources
  12. Events
  13. Quick quote


If you get SUSTRAN News Flashes directly by email then you may have noticed a small change in the way we distribute them this time. With the very kind assistance of JCA-NET in Japan, we are now using the majordomo listserver software to distribute the news flashes.
If you want to continue to get SUSTRAN news flashes then there is no need to do anything. Please do not worry that you might now get a flood of extra email - you will not!! Only the SUSTRAN Secretariat can post messages to this list and the list of recipients is not available to be downloaded by any third party. THERE WILL STILL BE ONLY ONE EDITION EVERY MONTH OR SO. However, if you do want to unsubscribe from SUSTRAN News Flashes, it is now easier to do so - see the instructions at the very end of this message.


The SUSTRAN Secretariat is now preparing the first edition of our long-promised Sustainable Transport Contacts Directory. We hope that this will provide a big boost to the network. Our work would be greatly helped if you could take a few minutes to tell us a little about yourself and your interest in this issue. If you would like to be considered for inclusion in the directory, then please send answers to the following questions to the SUSTRAN Secretariat at

  • Your full contact details and organisation (if applicable). Please include email and web pages if any.
  • If you are part of a relevant organisation, what kind of organisation is it and what is its main purpose?
  • What main issues and activities are you or your organisation involved in?
  • What transport-related issues and activities have you or your organisation been involved in?
  • What transport-related issues are of greatest concern to you?
  • Which geographical areas do your interests or activities relate to?
  • Please list any relevant publications or information sources that are available from you or your organisation.

    As always, any other comments and ideas on SUSTRAN and its mission and on SUSTRAN News Flashes are very welcome.


    When local government didn't respond to protests over large-scale forced evictions in Manila an association of poor people's organisations, called DAMPA, called on the Japanese Government to investigate the violations of the rights of people displaced by Japanese-funded public projects. The projects included a highway flyover, an aqueduct, a railway extension, and an airport expansion. The Philippines and Japan are both signatories to international treaties which prohibit funding of projects which violate the rights of displaced residents.
    In March 1996, a Japanese fact-finding team, including church, academic and NGO representatives, made a much-publicised visit to Manila. They found that: people were evicted without prior consultation or notice; in relocation sites, people were left without basic services, water, electricity, schools and hospitals; people lost jobs in the relocation process; people were taken to relocation sites without choice of where to go, resulting in community disorganisation; implementing agencies reneged on promises of compensation, support services.
    The mission's findings came out in all the local newspapers, along with its recommendations to OECF: affected people, especially the poor, must be included in planning relocation programmes, and some of the project budgets should be allocated for relocation of displaced residents. The OECF promised to cancel funding for projects involving involuntary resettlement, and to investigate complaints of affected residents and rights violations.
    [Source: "Housing by People" No. 10, Oct. 1997, Newsletter of the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, 73 Soi Sonthiwattana 4, Ladprao 110, Ladprao Rd, Bangkok 10310, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 538 0919 Fax: 662 539 9950, E-mail: or].


    The new Sustainable Penang Initiative is a long-term project conducted by Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (SERI), with the objective of establishing a viable partnership for sustainable development in this highly urbanised Malaysian state. Consultations are taking place with citizen's groups, relevant government agencies and the business community as well as individuals with long-standing involvement in the issues concerned. Five roundtable discussions will be held to draw up a status report on Penang's economic progress, ecological sustainability, social justice, cultural vibrancy and popular participation.
    Transport became an important topic in the first roundtable, on Ecological Sustainability, which was held last week. Great progress was made toward developing a set of sustainability indicators for Penang.
    [Contact: Khoo Salma Nasution, Coordinator, The Sustainable Penang Initiative, Socio-Economic & Environmental Research Institute (SERI), 10A Persiaran Bukit Jambul (International College Grounds), 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia. Tel +604 645 1710, Fax: +604 645 2807, E-mail].


    Cycling grabbed the audience's attention and imagination at the 6th monthly Talakayang Kalikasan environmental media forum at the Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City. CYCAD members took center stage as they related the joys and risks of cycling in the city. They then read the petition for a bike-friendly city that CYCAD has been circulating and asked the audience, including the media, for their support and signatures. CYCAD's petition is seeking government policies that promote bicycling as alternative transportation and that recognises the social and environmental benefits of designing streets that enable cyclists to ride safely and pedestrians to walk without being impeded and forced on the roadway by parked cars. It asks government "to declare as government policy the promotion of bicycling and other forms of non-motorised transport."
    [Source: SIKAD Electronic Edition Newsletter of Cycling Advocates (CYCAD), November 1997 Vol. 1, No.2, Manila, Philippines (Sikad in Tagalog means "to pedal"). Contact: Ramon Fernan III, Cycling Advocates (CYCAD), 1563 Pasaje Rosario, Paco 1007 Manila, Philippines. Tel: +63 2 523 0106, E-mail:].


    The court battles against Melbourne's giant City Link tollway are continuing. Philip Morey, a member of the Public Transport Users Association, won an appeal to the Full Bench of the Federal Court against a trial judge's dismissal of his action for misleading and deceptive conduct against the promoters of the tollway. Morey has been granted a retrial of his allegations that the traffic and revenue estimates published by the promoters are inflated. His claims have been given added force by the recent announcement that the owners of the private Hills Motorway in Sydney have suspended payments to investors due to lower than expected traffic volumes. And a case by another PTUA member challenging the Federal tax breaks awarded to City Link goes on appeal to the Full Bench of the Federal Court on 31 October.
    [Contact: Paul Mees,]


    Growing opposition from community organisations and experts threatens to delay the Costanera Norte highway in Santiago, Chile. A legal writ filed by several community organisations in April halted bidding on the project and forced the ministry to submit an environmental impact study to the Santiago environmental commission (Corema). In July, an unprecedented number of community representatives used Corema's "citizen participation" sessions to get more information from the project's proponents and to present their criticisms.
    Grassroots opposition is based on four major concerns: destruction of green recreation space; massive air pollution that would emanate from eight chimneys; destruction of communities by destroying commercial activity in certain neighbourhoods; social inequality, as the project would benefit drivers and development projects in prosperous areas, at the expense of the vast majority of people who travel by bus. The project is also inconsistent with official policy to decontaminate Santiago, since by generating more traffic it would impact significantly on air pollution levels.
    The Latin American Observatory of Environmental Conflicts has recently sponsored the publication of a book on the debate, "Costanera Norte, What City Do We Want?," which will be launched later this month.
    [Source: Excerpted from an article by Lake Sagaris, from Chip News, forwarded by Christopher Zegras, Instituto Internacional para la Conservacion de Energia, General Flores 150, Providencia, Santiago, CHILE, Tel: (56 2) 236 9232 Fax: 236 9233, email:, URL:].


    Although motor vehicle ownership in Dhaka remains low even by South Asian standards, the rate of increase is very high. According to Friends of the Earth Bangladesh, the city's vehicle population has increased by almost ten times since 1992. Dhaka is a very dense city and cannot cope with the influx of vehicles. Millions of people are directly exposed to alarming levels of air pollution, 70% of which is attributed to the highly-polluting poorly-maintained vehicle fleet running on low-quality fuel. A recent BBC report labelled Dhaka as one of the most air polluted cities in the world. Lead is still used in the petrol supply (0.84 grams per litre). The two-stroke engines of auto-rickshaws and tempos (3-wheel micro-buses) which burn a mixture of gasoline and lubricating oil, are particularly polluting. Friends of the Earth is appealing for help in their campaign against vehicular air pollution.
    [Contact: FOE Bangladesh (Institute for Environment and Development Studies), 6/12-15 Eastern View (5th Floor) 50 D.I.T. Extension Road, Dhaka 1000, GPO Box No. 3691. Tel. +880 2 835394, Fax. +880 2 9566694, 9565506, email:].


    In the run up to the Kyoto conference on climate change, the international spotlight has been on the failure of a number of rich countries, especially the United States and Australia, to commit themselves to emissions reductions.
    Transportation in the "automobile-addicted" United States is the largest single carbon dioxide emitting "energy sector" in the world. A recent study by the National Research Council found that the US. transportation sector accounts for about 4-5% of the CO2 emitted as a result of human activities (including deforestation) annually. United States CO2 emissions from transportation are twice those from Germany, Japan, France and the UK combined (countries which together have a larger population than the US). Since 1990, transportation has been responsible for the largest share of US carbon emissions growth. The National Research Council says US motor vehicle CO2 emissions could double over the next 50 years.
    The Surface Transportation Policy Project coalition is lobbying the US administration to make the transportation policy connections to emission reductions but most environmental organisations have neglected transport in their greenhouse-related lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, a formidable coalition of big businesses, including auto, oil, road and air transport interests, have been lobbying hard against US action on climate change and launched a media campaign. They oppose any plan that does not also require emission reductions by developing countries.
    [Sources: Mobilizing the Region #142 and #148, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, 281 Park Ave. South, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10010, tel. (212) 777-8181, fax (212) 777-8157, email:, URL:]


    According to a Star report, experts warn that Asia's dependence on oil imports from the Middle East will rise to 90% from 75% by 2010. According to Kazuya Fujime of Japan's Institute of Energy Economics, demand in East Asia for oil will increase by 4.4% a year to reach 14.9 million barrels a day by 2010; with local production only rising 0.6% a year to six million barrels a day. Fujime concluded that Asian nations will need to increase stockpiles to cope with any cut in Middle East supplies by finding other supplies and developing other indigenous energy sources and improving efficiencies.
    [Source: cited by APRENET's CONNECTIVITY, Asia-Pacific Trade, Environment, and Development Monitor, VOL.1 NO.13, October 24, 1997. This is a useful electronic newsletter. Contact: APRENet, email:, URL:].


    a. "How Communities Organize Themselves - Stories from the Field -"
    Compiled by Kenneth Fernandes. The stories in this book have been told by activists and community workers from low and middle income settlements of Karachi, at forums organised by the Urban Resource Centre. They provide insights into the collective struggles of low income communities for accessing basic amenities and highlight the process of change that has been initiated at the grassroots level as a result.
    [Available from Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, 73 Soi Sonthiwattana 4, Ladprao 110, Ladprao Rd, Bangkok 10310, Thailand. Tel: +66 2 538 0919 Fax: 662 539 9950, E-mail: or].

    b. "The Full Costs and Impacts of Transportation in Santiago de Chile" by the International Institute for Energy Conservation (IIEC), 1997, 133 pp. + Appendices. US$25. Recent years have witnessed increasing emphasis on the full costs of transportation. While a number of studies have examined a range of transportation's full costs in OECD countries, little comprehensive work in this field has been conducted in the developing world. This report attempts to fill this gap. The study analyses personal costs (transportation expenditures and travel time), social costs (congestion and accidents), infrastructure costs (road, rail, parking, and land), environmental costs (air and noise pollution, energy resources), as well as issues such as urban outgrowth, water pollution, and equity. The study's results should help to spur and guide similar initiatives in other cities.
    [To order, contact: International Institute for Energy Conservation, 750 First Street, NE, Suite 940, Washington, DC 20002 USA. Tel: 202 842 3388 Fax: 202 842 1565, email:, URL:].

    12. EVENTS

    a. Meeting on Aviation, Environment and Development. INZET, Association for North-South Campaigns, is organising a meeting for experts on aviation, environment and development, at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, banquet rooms 'Amsterdam' and 'Brussels', Friday November 21st, 1300 - 1730. Two main questions will be discussed. Should we take the special position of developing countries into account when introducing economic measures for combating environmental pollution from international aviation? And if so, how? Emissions from aviation have a growing impact on the environment. Ideas on how to combat these emissions include economic instruments like excise duties on kerosene and environmental charges. What would be the effect of these instruments on developing countries? The meeting focuses on Africa South of the Sahara.
    [Contact: INZET, Association for North-South Campaigns, Keizersgracht 132, 1015 CW Amsterdam Netherlands. Tel: +31.20.6273339, Fax: +31.20.6273839, E-mail:].

    b. RESCHEDULED: "Greening Urban Transport: A National Conference on Improving Urban Transport Systems for Better Cities", 11-12 December 1997, Manila. Due to last minute problems this conference has been rescheduled to mid-December. Venue: Institute for Social Order, Ateneo University Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Organised by the Sustainable Transport Forum
    [Contact: Conference secretariat: Citizen's Alliance for Consumer Protection (CACP), 3-E Scouter Ojeda St., Roxas District, Quezon City Tel. (63-2)411-5753; 927-3658; fax. 410-0998; e-mail:].

    c. "International Short Course on Urban Mobility and Non-Motorised Transport" at IHE Delft. The course, to be held in Delft, The Netherlands, from 23-27 March 1998, is meant for policy makers, urban managers/planners and traffic and road engineers involved in transport planning and management. Starting from an overview of the differences in, and similarities of urban transport issues in developed and developing countries, the course deals with integrated urban transport planning and management, focussing on planning and engineering for non-motorised transport. The organisers, the Department of Transport and Road Engineering of IHE Delft, draw on both the extensive Dutch expertise of the subject matter, and on their experience in East Africa in the Non-Motorised Urban Transport Pilot projects in Kenya and Tanzania in the framework of the World Bank/UNECA Sub_Sahara Africa Transport Programme.
    [Contact: J.H. Koster, Tel: +31.15.2151750, fax +31.15.2122921, email:].


    "A short walk trip is the highest achievement of urban transport planning. Obviously it is not possible for all activities to lie within walking distance, but it is possible by bad planning for the great majority to lie beyond walking distance." (J.M. Thomson, 1977, in "Great Cities and Their Traffic" - this book is a classic by the way.)

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