On 7 July 2022, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH joined with the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), and Chulalongkorn University Transportation Institution (CUTI) in organising a youth workshop on the vision in the transport sector for clean air. The event on the theme “Driving Thailand towards a Low Carbon Society through Transport Policy” was held at Chulalongkorn University Center for Social Innovation (CU SiHub). Dr. Luksanawadee Tanamee, Director, Transport and Traffic Information Technology Centre from OTP and Dr. Dominika Kalinowska, Director, Transport Projects of GIZ Thailand / ASEAN presided over the event.
Throughout the workshop which ran from 5th and 7th July, students learned and exchanged ideas with moderators and experts, amongst them Dr. Dirk Van Amelsfort, a speaker with a wealth of experience in designing congestion charge policies in many cities around the world. The purpose of the session was to allow students to understand the planning perspective along with the technical and communication factors that have led to the successful promulgation of the Congestion Charge policy in other countries, as well as to introduce various approaches from the learning session that could see this policy being adapted to the Thai context.
Students were divided into 6 groups, assigned sample scenarios of the Congestion Charge in Bangkok areas and invited to work together to come up with a solution to implement the Congestion Charge policy by considering the potential impact as well as the advantages and disadvantages and how to properly communicate to the public. All groups had the opportunity to present their solutions and measures based on the scenario area they were assigned. Some of the outstanding solutions and measures included, for example, a fee reduction for sick and vulnerable groups (young children, the elderly, and people with disabilities) who need to use a personal car to travel to the hospital for treatment. Other suggestions ranged from optimising the public transport system by using funds from the Congestion Charge fees to support public use; putting restrictions on vehicle types and time of entry to Congestion Charge areas and making them subject to different fees; and developing an application to calculate travel expenses of those driving into the areas subject to charges.
After the presentation, students had the chance to vote for the group they felt presented the best solutions and measures for implementing the Congestion Charge scheme. They also learned from and shared ideas with professors and experts and exchanged perspectives with each other to unveil a visual summary of various concepts raised in the workshop for use in the implementation of the study project on the Congestion Charge.
Dr. Luksanawadee Tanamee, Director, Transport and Traffic Information Technology Center from the OTP said: “The designated areas to implement the congestion charge scheme and proper fee rates for Bangkok are components that require further study. Also needing more study are the technical issues for determining charging fee rates and spaces in designated areas, structure management design, law enforcement, and fee equality for low-income and socially vulnerable groups. The Thailand Clean Mobility Fund (TCMF) financed by congestion charge fees to improve public transport systems, walkways, feeders, fare subsidies, and improvement of communication strategies to the public should also be further examined.”
“The workshop will lead to the development of new ideas and further discussions from the new generation. Meanwhile, this process will be the first step in working with stakeholders from all sectors to achieve acceptance at both the policy level and the public sector. The results and ideas from this workshop will be important parts of the development required for sustainable traffic in Bangkok in the future,” Dr. Luksanawadee added.
Dr. Dominika Kalinowska, Director Transport Projects of GIZ Thailand / ASEAN said: “For policymakers and stakeholders, the question still remains on how to implement this kind of instrument that internalises the negative effects of mobility on the one hand but respects the principles of fairness and equity on the other, and most importantly, doesn’t leave anyone behind in terms of accessibility and freedom of choice and mobility.”
“This workshop is where the journey begins towards finding solutions and co-developing a vision together, a vision for a sustainable future of our mobility and transport systems. Creating this vision and finding solutions on how to implement it will only be successful if we work on it together. And our young generation, our students, are playing a crucial role in this undertaking. Your creativity, engagement, and joy in learning, experimenting with new ideas, and finally in making a change are the perfect ingredients for creating a joint vision of a sustainable, climate-proof, and inclusive mobility system and – most importantly – in turning this vision into action and reality.”
The workshop was organised under Thailand Clean Mobility Programme (TCMP), a national programme that supports city administrations in their efforts to plan and implement Sustainable Urban Transport Projects, thereby reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions and stemming air pollution and achieving the Thai government’s intentions to reduce 20 % of GHG emissions by 2030. The creation of the TCMP focuses on three topics.
Studying a Congestion Charging Scheme for Bangkok.
Support to the bus sector reform and fleet modernisation in Bangkok.
Setting up of a National Sustainable Urban Transport (SUT) Fund to finance SUT projects in further Thai cities.