A Verité Research seminar on the topic “Economics of shooting without aiming: The case of transport in the Megapolis” on the 7th of April featured Professor Amal Kumarage. The presentation was based on a comparison of Colombo transport master plans from research conducted by the University of Moratuwa.
According to Professor Kumarage’s analysis, the Megapolis initiative is based on unsustainable high-cost long-term solutions that focus too much on building highways and too little on means and infrastructure for public transport.In contrast, the University of Moratuwa study gave priority to improving bus and rail systems based off of the existing infrastructure, as well as improving transport demand management and road infrastructure.
One of the key points addressed in the discussion was the lack of public information and adequate professional evaluation. Kumarage stated that the decisions and actions under the Megapolis initiative have been ad-hoc and has not received sufficient debate and evaluation, both within the government and from the public. A key weakness highlighted during the presentation was the process by which the Megapolis initiative is going forward. The discussion suggested that projects were being actioned even before the plan has been strategized and evaluated. Further, there was a failure to adopt an integrated approach to public transport.
Amal Kumarage is a Senior Professor in the Department of Transport & Logistics Management, University of Moratuwa, and was responsible for the development of the Transportation Engineering Division of the University of Moratuwa.
The Dialogues and Education program of Verité Research hosts weekly seminars that engage in issues of public importance.