A Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory study conducted by Chiang Mai Municipality (CMM), showed that in order to reduce GHG emissions by the city, greater emphasis needs to be placed on reducing emissions from the transportation sector. Based on discussions with stakeholders, one of the measures identified was to promote Non-Motorized Transport (NMT) in CMM. This can help reduce emissions from transport as well as increase income generating opportunities for the poor.
The results from the survey at Three Kings Monument Square and moat in Chiang Mai found that the tourists are interested on the NMT campaign. Many domestic and foreign tourists believe that the NMT campaign will help to promote tourism and reduce GHG emission while creating jobs for local people in Chiang Mai. If the municipality provides the good facility/safety for the cycling, Thai tourists are willing to travel by cycling. Normally, foreign tourists like to travel by non-motorized transport in the city. However, many tourists are concern about the facility and implementation of NMT concept at the city center because the Chiang Mai moat area frequently faces traffic congestion. It may create problems for bike riders.
In the business sector, many operators, such as bicycle rental shops and repair shops, bicycle sellers, vendors, tricycle providers and tour guides think that this campaign will give additional benefits to them. The campaign will increase the number of travelers around the area. It shows that the campaign will help to increase the customers. On the other hand, some businesspersons concern about performance of the campaign. They think that the road is too small to make bike lanes, and the traffic congestion is a big issue around the Three Kings Monument Square and the Chiang Mai moat area. They also are concerned about the safety of cyclist, because the other vehicles (e.g. car, red caps, etc.) usually use the bike lane without giving any importance.
However, the study recommended some policy options for ensuring sustainable urban tourism in Chiang Mai municipality through NMT. The municipality needs to prioritize transport infrastructure investments to NMT, including aspects such as safety concerns of the pedestrians and non-motorized vehicle owners, construction of segregated lanes, parking of non-motorized vehicles, control on the activities of street vendors and ensuring smooth flow of NMT traffic, wherever feasible.
Written by Agus Nugroho on 30 May. 2014