NMT benefits

Benefits:
– Space for all users
– More public space available for residents, visitors, shoppers, tourists
– Bollards and chicanes guiding traffic and ensuring slow speeds
– Bollards with chains stopping motorbikes driving or parking on sidewalk
– Level pavement with pattern increases attractiveness of street (between Rue Samsenthai & Rue Setthathilath)
– Widen current sidewalk with bollards and stamped concrete increases attractiveness of street. (between Quai Fa Ngum & Rue Setthathilath)
– Buried pipes/tubes potentially for the aerial cable underground. (between Rue Samsenthai & Rue Setthathilath)
– Landscaping, street trees, street lights, benches, and bike parking add value to street users Proposed complete street on Chao Anou Rd (502m, between Rue Samsenthai & Quai Fa Ngum)

The NMT improvements will only be fully realized when the BRT project roads (Rue Setthathilath, Nongbone Road, Avenue Lane Xang) are implemented. However, neither the BRT nor the parking projects need necessarily delay the NMT project implementation. The NMT project implementation can proceed as soon as possible, with BRT and parking implementation either in parallel or immediately following the NMT improvements.

Benefits

Reduction of traffic congestion

With limited road space and increasing car ownership and use, congestion in Vientiane is set to increase. However, pedestrians and cyclists require much less road space than private, motorized transport. If more of Vientiane’s residents and visitors were to walk and cycle, less road capacity would be needed, with lower traffic congestion as a result. Moreover, high-quality NMT facilities help moderating people’s aspirations to own and use a private car or motorcycle and current carowners may be tempted to substitute a part of their trips to NMT modes. Safe, convenient and fast walking and cycling facilities also benefit public transport users, who rely on walking/cycling to access stations and stops, thereby improving the catchment area and attractiveness of using public transport. With the forthcoming implementation of BRT, access to stations can greatly improve BRT ridership.

Cost-effective transport solution

The costs of providing high-quality NMT infrastructure is low compared to other modes of transport. The investment, operation and maintenance of NMT infrastructure, as well as the required use of land per user, is significantly lower than for private, motorized vehicle users.  With limited national and local budgets, NMT can provide cost-effective solutions for a large share of trips to and within Vientiane’s city center.  High shares of NMT also stimulate dense, urban development, thereby reducing the costs associated with urban sprawl.

Better and more tourism

Better walking and cycling conditions and public space improvements can greatly improve Vientiane pull for tourists. Vientiane is in strong competition with Luang Prabang and other areas in Laos PDR for drawing and keeping tourists in the city. The Minister of Tourism stresses the importance of NMT and public spaces in the historical city center, to enhance a more pleasant experience for tourists. A safer and more pleasant walking and cycling environment, and more opportunities for leisure  NMT related activities, are expected to increase the time and money tourists spend in Vientiane and draw more tourists. Streets such as Chao Anou Road, Rue Francois Ngin, Rue Setthathilath and Rue Hengbounalready draw many tourists and are expected to draw more with the proposed NMT improvements.

More profitable business

Improved walking and cycling conditions tend to increase local property values and support local development. More local residents and tourists can be expected to visit the cafes, restaurants and shops, especially in Vientiane’s historical city center. This in turn would increase investment in retail and restaurants and provide jobs. Property owners on streets with remarkable NMT improvements, including Chao Anou Road, Rue Francois Ngin, Rue Setthathilath and Rue Hengboun, can benefit greatly. International examples prove office, retail and apartment values increased with the provision of high quality NMT improvements.

Improved road safety

Over half of the road fatalities in Asia and the Pacific are pedestrians and other NMT road users who incur the costs of motorization with few of the benefits. Well-designed NMT facilities and related traffic calming measures can reduce the number and severance of traffic accidents with pedestrians and cyclists. Furthermore, higher numbers of cyclists and pedestrians in fact lead to reduced risks for individual NMT users, since fellow road users will better adapt their road behavior to the presence of pedestrians and cyclists.

A 2007 report by the Ministry of Communication Transport Post and Construction, in cooperation

with international consultants, identified several ‘black spots’, of which only Quai Fa Ngum is in the scope of this project. Traffic calming measures and pedestrian refuge islands for safer crossings are proposed and will improve pedestrian safety. The proposed street designs also improve road safety for motorized traffic. Intersection improvements and traffic calming reduce both the risk and severity of traffic accidents.

Improved health

Health experts advise a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Coronary Heart Disease and diabetes are the most common death in both men and women and lack of physical activity is one the most important risk factors.  Despite low In Laos obesity and cardiovascular Draft Report, ITDP 39 1-Feb-2015 disease are on the rise as well[http://ggs.gmu.edu/People/Curtin/WMHPObesityFinal.pdf]. High-quality NMT facilities can attract more of Vientiane’s residents to exercise, for recreational or transportation purposes.  Furthermore, physical activity improves worker productivity and reduces sick leave. In WestEuropean countries, health benefits prove to be NMT’s highest economic value.

Social inclusiveness

NMT encompasses the most fundamental of transport options. NMT represents the most affordable mode of transport by the urban poor who need NMT to access jobs and critical public services, such as education and healthcare. Of all income groups, low-income households often spend the highest percentage of their incomes on transport. NMT facilities can relieve this burden by providing a door-to-door solution. With low public transport penetration in Vientiane’s suburban areas, improved walking and cycling conditions are crucial to those without the means for motorized traffic options. Moreover, NMT facilities are particularly critical to the most vulnerable road users; including physically disabled, elderly, women, road vendors and students.

Energy, pollution and CO2 reduction

With more non-motorized and fewer motorized trips, significant environmental benefits are achieved. More NMT trip result in reductions in local air pollution (such as SO₂, NOx and PM), CO₂ emissions and noise. Reduced needs for petrol also reduces Lao PDR’s dependency on imported oil.