AIBP Insights – Sustainable Urban Mobility – Keeping people and goods moving in ASEAN

ASEAN transport ministers have adopted a vision of “Towards greater connectivity, efficiency, integration, safety and sustainability of ASEAN transport to strengthen ASEAN’s competitiveness and foster regional inclusive growth and development.”

The last decade has seen unprecedented changes in how people move through cities. The rise of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platforms, shared and networked vehicles, and other transportation technologies has altered our perceptions of cities, transportation, and data.

Most visibly, new and disruptive modes of transportation will cause profound changes in cities. Jobs, social equity, and the environment are all affected. There are opportunities to shape transportation advances to improve streets and connect people; to reshape cities and improve the social and physical health of their residents. There are opportunities to reduce collisions and improve access to healthcare for those in greatest need, particularly high-cost, high-need individuals at the younger and older ends of the age spectrum. There is also the possibility of connecting people to jobs and changing how cities organise space and optimise trips.

Creating Value from Ecosystems

Earlier in March 2020, ComfortDelGro launched the Zig app, which was presented as a one-stop shop for transportation, food, and entertainment. Gerald Lee, Vice President of Digital Transformation, ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited, Group Digital Office, explained that they are creating an ecosystem in which they can understand commuters – where they are going and what they are doing – and thus provide push advertisements that may be relevant to them.

In addition to charging stations, Suwat Meemook, Executive Vice President, Bangchak Corporation PCL, added that they are creating a Destination Charging area where customers can visit retail stores. Customers, for example, may receive a $50 complimentary voucher to get a coffee while waiting for their vehicle to charge. Similarly, Gerald added that they are also in talks with local supermarkets about offering free charging for commuters, as charging for 45 minutes is a good time for them to go grocery shopping.

Gidionton (Gidi) Sritua Siagian, Executive Director of Digital Transformation, PT Transportasi Jakarta, also stated that they are interested in connecting commuters with other partners, such as integrating e-wallets and e-commerce channels onto their platform. Their ultimate goal is to make commuters’ lives easier while traveling on Transjakarta.

Improving Access to Electric Bikes and On-Demand Ride-Hailing 

Bangchak employees who helped launch, Winnonie, conducted a study on taxi motorcyclists in the vicinity of the Bangchak headquarters and refinery. The study’s findings, which looked at the work and lifestyle of taxi motorcyclists, were analysed to determine their needs and design solutions. According to the findings, taxi motorcyclists have incurred significant costs, with instalments for the lease-purchase of their vehicle and gasoline accounting for 60% of the total expenditure.

The main goal of Winnonie is to reduce taxi motorcyclists’ debt, which is their main source of pain, by leasing electric motorcycles to them. The move is expected to significantly reduce their enormous burden from compound interest associated with the lease purchase of general motorcycles, as well as to reduce their gasoline costs. According to the study, the expenses incurred by electric motorcycles are ten times lower than those incurred by gasoline-powered motorcycles. K. Suwat added that Winnonie is now Thailand’s first operator to offer battery swapping. Taxi riders can easily swap batteries at battery-swapping machines located inside Bangchak service stations.

GrabWheels, an electric scooter rental service, will return to Jakarta streets in August 2020 after a six-month hiatus beginning in November 2019. The return of the service, operated by ride-hailing decacorn Grab, will provide an alternative solution for people in the capital’s “first-mile and last-mile trips.” Pak Gidi went on to share that this is a trend he has noticed in Jakarta and believes will continue to thrive in the near future.

Looking forward, much of what is possible for the development of next-generation vehicles will rely on the strategic application of data, the majority of which will be generated while the vehicle is in motion. Claire Chen, Sales Manager, Korenix, went on to say that whether it’s in-vehicle Internet access, gesture-controlled entertainment systems, or high-tech cameras designed to recognise the vehicle’s surroundings, we are seeing the power of data-driven connected car services unfold right before our eyes.

Realising the Future of Sustainable Urban Mobility

Fixed-route transportation systems use buses, vans, light rail, and other vehicles to run on a predetermined route and schedule. These systems have timetables that are printed or posted, as well as designated stops where riders are picked up and dropped off.

Royaltrans is a premium bus service provided by Transjakarta that includes amenities such as wide foam seats and reclining seats, USB ports in each seat, 12 CCTV cameras that monitor every area inside and outside the bus, and luggage. Pak Gidi also stated that commuters will be charged the full fare and will be able to book and schedule a bus to their desired location. Similarly, Gerald mentioned that ComfortDelGro is developing fixed route, on-demand buses that are less expensive than private hires and taxis but slightly more expensive than public transportation.

The need to address climate change and local air quality, combined with volatility in the oil market, will keep the EV market on track for growth.

Singapore will no longer renew licenses for diesel vehicles by 2025. Along with charging stations in shopping malls, new public housing developments will have the capacity to support EV charging for 15% of their parking lots. Gerald shared that Singapore is currently running 20 EV buses on trial, and private buses are also embarking on the EV journey as part of their plans to achieve this.

Pak Gidi noted that the incentives for using electric buses will be greater than those for diesel buses. He also stated that Indonesia will only issue new licenses for electric buses and will not renew licenses for diesel buses.

K. Suwat highlighted that Thailand targets to phase out diesel cars by 2035. He also added that motorcycles are the low hanging fruit – Thailand has over 20 million motorcycles – and the same batteries used in EV motorcycles can also be used in their local Tuk Tuks.

To summarise, the development of urban mobility solutions is important in ASEAN cities to avoid loss of time and resources due to traffic congestions, as well as to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emission. Solutions such as mobility-as-a-service or on-demand ride-hailing, as well as electric and autonomous vehicles will change the transport landscape and ecosystem in ASEAN. We look forward to future and ongoing developments by regional leaders in this space.


17 November 2021