Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Assessment of Trans-Java Toll Road

The development of Trans-Java toll road from Cikampek, West Java to Surabaya, East Java is regarded as the key for economic development, particularly the industrial sector, in the Java island. The planners and decision makers argue the current condition of transportation infrastructure, especially roads, can't support the development of the industrial sector for competing globally. The condition of the current roads is considered as the barrier for increasing the competitiveness of the Island of Java's industrial sector. Is the development of toll road Trans-Java the best solution for the economic development in the island of Java?


Tol Layang Pelabuhan, originally uploaded by rilham2new.

This post briefly attempts to assess the toll road of Trans-Java in the context of sustainable development for the island of Java. The daily newspaper of Kompas on 17 November 2008 reported that the toll road Trans-Java will convert 655,400 hectares of agricultural land. This agricultural land conversion will certainly threaten the national food security, given the role of Java island that supplies 53 percent of the national food needs. The conversion of agricultural land to urban areas will continue along the toll road, especially at the exit of toll road. The land use conversion will be also likely to change the employment structure in the Java island. We will see more labors in agricultural sector in the island of Java switch to urban sector. Sooner or later the agricultural sector in the island of Java will to become a marginalized sectors and it will be a serious threat to the national food security.

In the United States, the development of Interstate Highways started in 1956 and this is not the key factor of urban development in the United States. Before the development of Interstate Highway, the railroad system has played an important role in the urban development since the mid-18th century. The railroad system in the United States connects most areas of the United States, from cities on the East Coast to cities in the West Coast. Larger cities such as Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta are examples of cities that grow rapidly due to the infrastructure of the railroad. The development of road transportation becomes an alternative for distributing raw materials and industrial products but does not replace the role of the railroad.

The discussion about global warming and energy crisis put the interstate highways as the cause of the high use of fuel and emission of carbon dioxide. The development of interstate highways also causes suburbanization and urban sprawl. The urban sprawl causes public transport services inefficient and increases residents' dependence on the use of private vehicles.

Indonesia should learn from the negative externalities of the development of interstate highways in the United States. Not only will the development of Trans-Java toll road threaten the national food security due to agricultural land and labor conversion to urban sector, but also increase the fuel consumption as a result of the increased road length. The negative impacts of the development of Trans-Java toll road will be greater if we calculate the environmental impact of the diminishing green areas, including forests and plantations in the island of Java. The development of toll road will also cause the urban sprawl along the toll road.


En route vers Bandung (3), originally uploaded by Popples91.

Another alternative for stimulating the economic growth in Java is developing railroad system. The development of double-tract railway in Java can become an alternative solution for distributing raw materials and products from the industrial sector in the island of Java. Alternatively, we could also reactivate the unused railroads that was built in the Dutch colonial era. The development of the double-tract railroad will not convert as much agricultural land as the development of toll roads does. The development of railroad system will also consume less energy than the development of toll roads does.

In sum, we could argue that the development of Trans-Java toll road is not a sustainable solution for stimulating the economic growth in the island of Java. This solution is only a threat to the national food and energy security. The development of Trans-Java toll will not a cost-effective solution for the national interest. Alternatively, we could consider the development of railroad system that is more energy efficient and does not convert as much agricultural land as the development of toll road does.


(This post is an English version of the original article that appeared in the daily newspaper of Kompas on November 20, 2008. The article was also posted in the official websites of Badan Koordinasi Penataan Ruang Nasional and of Direktorat Tata Ruang dan Pertanahan Bappenas)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pak Rukmana,

I think, the trans java highway is a good investment for the Indonesian economic growth. However your concern about threatening food and energy security, I think it is now the time for Indonesian government to look other islands for taking over Java agriculture production. This highway, as you said it would bring economy growth and hopefully will spread the wealth too. Lets hope that this is not a mistake. And stay positive with all effort that they have been built.

languAID said...

dear sir,

Nice article, very interesting. However, I'd like to counter your argument that a trans-java toll road would increase fuel consumption. without a toll road we still travel every other day from region to region. with a better road, fuel consumption can be suppressed I believe.

Deden Rukmana said...

Dear LanguAID,
Thank you for your comments. The new toll road will cause induced demands and increase the use of vehicle.

Arul Venkadesh said...

Dear Sir/madam,
Very good article... that was informative.regarding the development of Trans-Java toll road from Cikampek, West Java to Surabaya, East Java is regarded as the key for economic development..

Arul Venkadesh said...

Truly it states development of Trans-Java toll road from Cikampek, West Java to Surabaya, East Java is regarded as the key for economic development.really informative one...Thanks many..

regards,
Prof. Arul venkadesh