Road constructions block traffic at Lenteng Agung in South Jakarta. (Antara Photo/Indrianto Eko Suwarso)

Hi TOD, Bye Traffic: Transit-Oriented Development to Transform Jakarta's Urban Transportation


DECEMBER 17, 2019

Singapore. In Indonesia, the government's plan for new roads is a double-edged sword – while it will increase mobility, market access and business activities, demand for vehicles will also rise. With already congested streets, commuters often find themselves stuck in three-hour traffic jams. This not only affects workers personally, but also factories and suppliers that deliver products to areas by land, leading to a decline in economic efficiency.

Jakarta also faces rising air pollution, 70 percent of which is contributed by the transportation sector. In fact, the estimated economic cost of traffic congestion in the city has reached approximately Rp 960 billion ($68.6 million) a year, and that does not even include the cost of health to humans. 

This is where public transportation projects can make a difference. New transport nodes mean decreasing the number of cars on the road. However, the Public Works and Housing (PUPR) Ministry noted that the 2020-2024 state budget is only able to cover 30 percent (Rp 623 trillion out of the Rp 2,058 trillion) required for the infrastructure development.

In view of this, what can be done to improve financing for public transportation projects?

How Transit-Oriented Development Can Boost Indonesia's Urban Transportation Financing 

Enter transit-oriented development (TOD) – a type of urban development that offers a strategic spatial planning tool designed to maximize residential, commercial and entertainment spaces within walking distance of public transport nodes.

It can help foster a greater demand and viability for international investors in the design and operation of mass transport systems.  

Cities like Singapore have leveraged TOD successfully. The city-state shares many similarities and challenges with Indonesia's metropolitan areas, such as traffic congestion.

These conditions have prompted Singapore to integrate its urban transit development with spatial design and planning and could be one example for interested cities in the same region to leverage TOD for urban transportation.

The result is a constellation of satellite towns that surround a central core, with rail networks that link these towns to industrial parks and the city center. These satellite towns are self-sustaining; with common public amenities within walking distance and a reduced need to venture out for common daily needs.

Under the right conditions, TOD can also be used for discrete and promising projects rather than the entire network.

In Jakarta, the administration has already expressed its intention to work on a significant number of TOD projects to transform stations and bus terminals into multimodal transport nodes that will integrate housing and public transportation.

The plan also aims to maintain the availability of green open space for the urban ecosystem.

By looking abroad, Jakarta could adopt best practices from other cities on harnessing TOD to fully realize its own vision as well as engage with solution providers based in the region who have the necessary experience with such projects.

While TOD improves the liveability of cities, its effect on the financing model for mass transit projects is often overlooked.

By partnering with organizations like Infrastructure Asia, Indonesia can tap into Singapore’s international ecosystem of firms with design, engineering and architectural experts.

This also includes other key value chain players for transit-oriented cities, including active real estate firms such as Capitaland, Keppel and Mapletree, to name a few financiers active in seeking opportunities and legal as well as transaction advisors who can help design and manage tenders up to its financial close.

It will also help Jakarta access the necessary investments for their TOD projects.

Like it did for Singapore, TOD can help them encourage greater transit ridership by maximizing access to public transportation and controlling the number of cars on their roads.

When the journey toward achieving transit efficiency is accelerated, costs, pollution and congestion all decrease significantly, to ultimately offer better quality of life for citizens.


Complex TOD design applied for the expansion of a brownfield multimodal transport station at Yishun to combine entertainment, residential and transport (Rendering provided by SAA Architects)

Seth Tan is the executive director of Infrastructure Asia. Poh Mei Yi is Lead (Indonesia) of Infrastructure Asia.