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Research Proposal to Center of Policy Research & International Studies "Formulating an integrated Transport Policy for a virtual developing

country" Objective of the Research Project It is intended to reveal key social, economic, environmental and political ingredients which are critical in the process of formulating an integrated transport policy for a virtual developing country. Research Background The need of a sustainable transportation system and all the issues related to the movement of freight or labor by any particular mode from origin to destination has long been important topics for many policy makers, politicians, and even the general public. This is particularly because transport has an impact on all economic activities of a society and influences the pattern of life of people, more importantly being the intermediary in the process of production, distribution channel and consumption. Hence, the need of adequate attention to the transport sector in formulating economic policies, has become a public debate ever since. This has pinpointed the responsibility of the government in providing the necessary policy directions in order to achieve the objective of an efficient transport system in developing nations like Sri Lanka. National transport by it definition includes all the modes of transport including land, water and air transportation available and made use of by a government in providing accessibility and mobility to its inhabitants. National transport is the lubricant for moving the socio economic development of a country because of its ability to keep societies connected for various socio economic purposes. Hence, many studies out there in the field of transport have identified a direct positive relationship with the socioeconomic development and advancement of the national transport of a country. Sri Lanka being an island of 65,610 km2 with a population of 20 million; a Rs.4,111 billion GNP in terms of current market prices with a higher sectoral composition of agriculture and industries in 2008, is heavily dependent on transport as its means of satisfying its needs through effecting economic and social activities of the country. Out of this GNP, 448 billion is from transport; cargo handling, ports and civil aviation accounting for 29 billion. National transport in Sri Lanka is presumed to be focused on land transportation only as herald by the above figures as well. Inland water transport and domestic aviation is at a very primitive stage of development and has a very little significance in figures as well. Hence, national transport policies have never attempted to draw in the two modes of transportation into the definition of national transport in Sri Lanka. The three modes of transport land, water and air are alienated from one another and are managed through three different policy making bodies. Water and air transport policies does not give enough prominence to the domestic component of it and as well national transport policies ignore the presence of other modes except land transportation. And

even transport infrastructure is also disintegratively dealt by having different policies for different sectors, particularly a separate policy for national highways at draft level since 2002. Eventually, integration and intermodelism are foreign concepts to national transport in this part of the world. Participatory and regulatory agencies of these three modes of transport are separately dealt with no attempt to coordinate the policy making efforts and catering to the features of each mode to provide an efficient integrated solution to the final customers; the general public. Land transport, which is interchangeably used with public transport [in fact public transport is used as a synonym for land transport] comes under the Ministry of railways and transport which is responsible for the (operation of land transport modes) land transportation within the country. Under the ministry National transport Commission act as the regulator of inter-provincial omnibus operations. Railway operates independently under the ministry. Road sector has a separate policy; Road development authority is responsible for national highways which come under the ministry of highways. There are provincial authorities to deal with provincial omnibus transportation and road development which reports to the respective provincial councils. Water and air transport belongs to the ministry of ports and aviation. Even coming under one ministry the two has two separate policies and aviation is regulated through the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. Water transport is mainly focused on sea transport and Sri Lanka Port authority acts as the regulator as well as a service provider. The regulation of transportation in Sri Lanka has always been a disintegrated approach over decades even pre and post independence. The consequences are a disintegrated transport system which does not accommodate the increase of effectiveness and efficiency starting from regulation to operation. The following sections of the chapter will elaborate on each transport mode separately. The above analysis is summarized below by identifying the salient features of the present situation of the transport sector in Sri Lanka.
1. Disintegration of policies, lack of good governance, regulations, and strategies pursued to achieve socio economic goals of Sri Lanka has negatively affected the transport sector, resulting in isolated policy attempts which do not provide the room for an integrated approach to national transport policy development. Land, Air and Water transport modes being separately dealt with three different policies has promoted high level of seclusion between modes. Existence of multiple agencies responsible for different sectors of the transport systems and poor coordination among them leading to disintegration of sub sectoral policies. Decline of public transport modal share in the total motorized travel taking place within the country and the significant modal shift to private vehicle travel and other para-transit means. Significant increase in modal share in deregulated informal/para transit sector. Continuing losses in government owned public transport service providers; both Sri Lanka Transport board and Sri Lanka Railway. Deteriorating quality of public transport, both government and private service providers has resulted in leading increased distrust on public transport by the general public. 2

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


No attempt being made at promoting intermodalism in travel choice, at least between land transport modes. 8. Infrastructure development plans in the transport sector does not clearly indicate addressing the developmental needs of urban and rural sectors. 9. Insufficient national level measures to impose regulations on transport demand. 10. Increased levels of accidents and incidents related to transport safety. 11. Adequacy of measures introduced to control the environmental impact of transport.

Research Problem In the priority list of many developing countries in which national level policy formulation is ranked according to their macroeconomic development effects, irrespective of so many drawbacks and negligence in the past, transport sector policy formulation is assigned a high priority during the last few decades. Nevertheless it is not yet seen that a coherent and comprehensive transport policies are in place to address complexities and hassles in the transport operation not only within the domestic boundaries but also over the off shore. Many development and public policy makers often regard an efficient transport network as a condition sine qua non for acceleration of economic growth in developing nations. In many regions of such countries, public road transport is indeed the only possible means of opening them up adequately to transport on account of the existing topographical conditions; however, an adequate attention has not been given to its improvement. Over and the above this, provision of transport infrastructure will induce more private economic activities in the transport field and the transport sector in these countries is an open branch of the economy to which new supplies find easy access. Experience from the Sri Lanka context has apparently shown the above scenario i. e. private sector public transport operation in which good governance and effective participation in eliminating bottlenecks are constrained by informal demanding groups and political hegemony. Apart from these disintegrated land use policy and transport policy in the country has embarked over so many complexities in the provision of transport infrastructure and transport operation. In addition, transport Policies in developing countries are yet to be revised and developed in order to capture negative environmental externalities on their way to an optimized transport use. It has been a debatable topic among both public policy makers, environment and transport economists so as to internalize the external cost generated through heavy transport operation either by private individual or by commercial set ups. However the formulating a transport policy incorporating an internalizing mechanism is yet a unattainable statement in the context of developing countries in which high density of traffic in urban centers has been responsible for many of environmental hazards locally and regionally and finally in a global context. At the Master of Philosophy at Center of Policy Research & International Studies, I would engage in the research topic Formulating an integrated Transport Policy for a virtual developing country giving more emphasis to evaluate attempts of developing and developed countries to incorporate policies related to improve good governance among key stakeholders of transport operation and to internalize negative externalities of transport operation.