Gridlock is already here

The 2014 traffic gridlock prediction in Jakarta? Here’s some obvious news: it may already happened.

Two of my research focus at the moment is on acceleration & due process of land acquisition in Indonesia, with the case study of the Jakarta MRT Project as well as on the Jabodetabek Transport Authority. So yes, I’ve been browsing through a lot of data and information on urban planning, urban transport, etc.

One document that I stumbled upon was a presentation for DPR made in 2007 from the Jakarta Government regarding transportation in Jakarta. Granted, the data is from 2007 and a lot of things may (or may not) develop. But based on that document alone, it is said that if the growth of private vehicle increases by 9.5%/year while the road space in Jakarta only increases by 0.01%/year, the traffic gridlock prediction will not happen in 2014, but in 2011.

Here’s some obvious reasons: there’s no limit on ownership of private vehicles, in addition to the fuel subsidy, which makes private transportation more desirable than public transportation (which lacked investment in the first place). As a result, from 2002-2008, the increase of car ownership doubles, while ownership of private motorcycle have increased by 4.6 times.

Source: Polda Metro Jaya

Since it’s already 2012, maybe the gridlock already happened, but we were just too oblivious to realize that it did.

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5 thoughts on “Gridlock is already here”

  1. Now and in the foreseeable future cars will remain the favourite toy for children and grown ups. Is is a convenient and very visible symbol of status as well as the most comfortable means of transportation. (And it helps climate change ..:().

    So unless public transportation will be forced upon urban populations, gridlocks are on our menus. What I saw in Jakarta last summer was a nice, jolly traffic infarct, or rather a number of beautifully silted up main arteries.

    Elsewhere compulsory restriction of private car transportation in the cities and improving public transport are combined to solve the problem ( partly).

    1. Hence my research topic is on land acquisition. Every time the government says that they’re going to invest in a public transportation infrastructure project, the problem always lead to land acquisition. And financing, mostly.

  2. Well, yes. It’s already here. It’s like the overpopulation of Java. When the Dutch became aware of it, it was already too late.

    I lived in Jakarta in 2004, 2007-2009 and have passed through on week-long visits in 2011. There is no question that gridlock has worsened. Increased commute times by several colleagues corroborate this.

    Greek tragedy always involved a tragic hero. The hero is tragic because his fate is foretold, yet despite this he cannot avert a fate foretold. The traffic problem is a tragedy in the classic sense of Greek drama.

  3. We talked about traffic congestion in one of our classes. The teacher was trying to argue that Singapore has to avoid congestion at all cost, or the economy will stagnate. I asked why New York City hasn’t stagnated when it hit the gridlock point decades ago.

    Bottom line, people will find ways to adapt. These things almost never turn out to be as armageddon-like as they seem at first glance.

  4. Having lived in both NYC and Jakarta, I can assure you that New York City’s traffic is not now nor has it ever been nearly as paralyzing and dehumanizing Jakarta’s.

    The question of whether people will adapt is besides the point. Of course, they will adapt. The question is at what cost.

    Forget economic growth. Let’s talk about the quality of life. Even if you care not a single iota about economic growth or stagnation, there are very real and urgent reasons to think about transportation and the quality of life.

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