Sustainable Design of Urban mobility in Medium-Sized Metropolitan Regions (SMMR)

Project description

Title: Sustainable Design of Urban Mobility in Middle-sized Metropolitan Regions in ASEAN
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: ASEAN region
Lead executing agency: ASEAN through the ASEAN Land Transport Working Group (LTWG)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021



The 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a population of more than 630 million. With a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of 4,034 US dollars in 2016, ASEAN has grown to become the sixth-largest economy in the World. Over the next 10 years, ASEAN is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.2 per cent annually, becoming the fourth largest single market in the World by 2050, behind the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China and the European Union.

Due to ASEANs young demographics (60 per cent below 35 years) and economic growth, approximately 90 million additional city dwellers are expected until 2025. While high numbers will move into large, high-density cities with populations exceeding 5 million – such as Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila –  high growth is expected also in medium-sized cities of between 200,000 and 2 million inhabitants, such as Phnom Penh, Vientiane, and Can Tho. 

With rapid urbanisation, ASEAN’s cities are increasingly confronted with challenges such as congestion, strained infrastructure, and air pollution, as well as social inequality, e.g. in access to mobility. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that traffic congestion costs Asian economies 2-5 per cent of their GDP, due to lost time and higher transport costs In the ASEAN region, transport accounts for 19 per cent to 32 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, corresponding to approximately 300 million tonnes of CO2. Road transport accounts for 80-90 per cent of these emissions and contributes significantly to urban air pollution. 

Urban sprawl beyond administrative city limits adds a further level of complexity to the economic and environmental challenges of urban growth on a metropolitan scale. Lack of coordination between different administrative bodies leads to bottlenecks in infrastructure, as well as weak public transportation, which in turn stimulates private car ownership. It is estimated that sales of passenger cars in the ASEAN region will double between 2015 and 2025 to over three million cars sold per year. This will put additional pressure on the already congested cities.


ASEAN Member States (AMS) have mainstreamed strategies and concepts for integrated, sustainable mobility into their planning and governance practices.



The project is implemented by GFA Consulting Group and Partners on behalf of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It uses a multi-level approach, working locally, with three partner metropolitan regions (Phnom Penh – Cambodia, Can Tho –Viet Nam and, Vientane/ Nong Khai – Lao PDR/ Thailand), as well as on the national and regional / ASEAN levels.

Output A: Cross-boundary working groups in partner metropolitan regions – metropolitan planning processes and transport governance structures
Urban growth beyond city limits requires improved coordination of mobility policies and projects between the central cities, neighbouring municipalities, provinces, and the National Authorities. The Sustainable Design of Urban Mobility in Medium-Sized Metropolitan Regions (SMMR) project will facilitate the set-up of cross-boundary working groups that, if successful, can lead to more formalised cooperation agreements potentially resulting in metropolitan transport executives. 

Output B: Integrated, cross-boundary Plans, Measures & Projects
The newly established cross-boundary working groups will carry out a thorough analysis of respective and common challenges, resources, plans, and projects. They will elaborate cross-boundary sustainable urban transport plans, prioritise measures and projects, and develop them to implementable maturity. The SMMR project will support the working groups in this endeavour namely through capacity building and targeted support activities. As a result, one ready-to-implement pilot action for sustainable mobility at the metropolitan scale – including financing concepts and implementation plans – will be produced in each of the partner metropolitan regions. 

Output C: Regional knowledge exchange for capacity development
The work and experience in partner metropolitan regions will be shared with ASEAN Member States and medium-sized metropolitan regions facing similar challenges. Throughout the project cycle, the SMMR project will support capacity development in regional conferences, workshops, trainings, and seminars and through the publication of knowledge products. Lessons learned, concepts, strategies, and experiences will also be shared through existing platforms, such as the ASEAN Smart Cities Network or the ASEAN Mayor Forum. As a result, the capacities of all actors in the fields of metropolitan transport governance and integrated sustainable transport planning will be strengthened.

Output D: Implementation of the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan
On the basis of the above and in close cooperation with the ASEAN Land Transport Working Group and the ASEAN secretariat, the SMMR project contributes to the implementation of the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP) with the elaboration of policy recommendations regarding Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) and Metropolitan Transport Executives (MTE), as concrete and effective tools for the application of the ASI (Avoid-Shift-Improve) policy in the urban transport sector.