He has also led planning and appraisal for new developments and master plans, as well as feasibility and PPP viability studies for major transport infrastructure projects in Asia.
Recent roles which he has held include: Study Director of the Jakarta Airport Rail Link PPP Feasibility Study; Study Director of Travel Smart Singapore and director and advisor roles on several studies for private investors and government authorities in China, Vietnam, India, Thailand and the Philippines.
Here Chris talks to us about transport planning and trends in transport infrastructure in Asia.
What do current population predictions mean for Asia’s transport planning in the next 10 years?
Not only are populations growing rapidly in many Asian countries, but economies are growing even faster. This results in more people wanting to move into the larger cities (urbanisation), which tend to be the economic hubs. Invariably transport infrastructure provision lags behind the population growth in major cities.
Planning ahead is thus a major challenge for cities in Asia, together with pipelining the supply and funding for the required infrastructure.
What do you see as the major challenges for effective transport planning in Asia?
Certainly political commitment and institutional capability for infrastructure investment and implementation is always a challenge. Planning and implementing a major new urban transport infrastructure project such as Metro or toll roads can take at least 10 years, requiring a coordinated series of tasks such as land acquisition and safeguards, financing and public consultation.
What financing structures are we seeing for transport infrastructure in Asia?
More and more governments are turning to PPP as the “magic” solution for financing transport infrastructure projects, but there is still quite a learning curve in many places regarding the commitment (Partnership) required from Government in this process.
Most public transport projects in particular will require significant viability gap funding from the government, together with guarantees in order to provide acceptable levels of risk for the private sector investors.
What transport projects have you most enjoyed in your transport planning career?
I most enjoy multi-disciplinary feasibility studies – two recent projects have been Jakarta Airport Rail and Ho Chi Minh Metro. But greatest satisfaction probably comes from seeing a project through from early planning stages through to full operation – and in that case probably I would point to the traffic & transport planning for the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station development: 1 million m2 of mixed development, fully integrated with MTR, airport rail, bus / minibus / taxi interchange, and a cross border coach facility.