The ASEAN Context & SMMR Approach 


Project Background & Scope

The 10-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has a population of more than 630 million. ASEAN has grown to become the sixth-largest economy in the world. It is projected to further grow by 5.2% every year over the next decade. The region’s demographic – 60% of its population is below 35 years of age – and economic growth is leading to rapid urbanisation. By 2025, 75% of ASEAN’s population is expected to live in urban areas. Much of this growth is expected in medium-sized urban centres. Such centres between 200,000 and 2 million – Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Nong Khai, and Can Tho are SMMR project partners.

With rapid urbanisation, transport challenges increase, such as congestion, pollution and social inequality in access to mobility. The lost time and higher transport cost of traffic congestion cost Asian economies 2-5% of their GDP.

The urban sprawl beyond administrative city limits adds a further level of complexity to the economic and environmental challenges on a metropolitan scale. Lack of coordination between different governmental bodies leads to bottlenecks in infrastructure and weak transport services, which in turn stimulates private car ownership. It is estimated that sales of passenger cars in ASEAN will double between 2015 and 2025 to over 3 million vehicles sold per year. This will put additional pressure on the already congested cities.


Project Scope

The ASEAN-German cooperation SMMR project is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project is implemented by GFA Consulting Group and partners on behalf of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ).

The project “Sustainable Design of Urban Mobility in Middle-Sized Metropolitan Regions” supports four metropolitan regions across CambodiaVietnam, Laos and Thailand in their ambitions to create metropolitan mobility planning procedures.

Others benefit indirectly through regional products and events, supported and organised by the project.


Metropolitan Regions involved in the project include:


Phnom Penh

  • Phnom Penh Capital Hall (PPCH)
  • Ministry for Public Works & Transport (MPWT)

   Thailand / Lao PDR

  • Vientiane – Ministry for Public Works & Transport (MPWT), Vientiane Capital Authority
  • Nong Khai – Office of Transport and Traffic Policy & Planning, Nong Khai Provincial Government


Can Tho

  • Ministry of Transport (MoT)
  • People’s Committee of Can Tho City 


Project Objective

To support ASEAN Member States to mainstream strategies and concepts for integrated, sustainable mobility into their planning and governance practices.

Project Outcomes

The project employs a multi-level approach, working locally, with three partner metropolitan regions, as well as on the national and regional / ASEAN levels.

Outcome A: Cross-boundary working groups in partner metropolitan regions – metropolitan planning processes and transport governance structures

Urban growth beyond city limits requires improved coordination of mobility policies and projects between the central cities, neighboring municipalities, provinces, and the National Authorities. The SMMR project will facilitate the set-up of cross-boundary coordination which may lead to formalised working groups, potentially resulting in metropolitan transport executives.

Outcome B: Integrated, cross-boundary plans, measures & projects

Based on the analysis of the challenges for integrated and sustainable mobility in the metropolitan regions, the working groups will develop working programmes. The SMMR project supports the working groups through capacity building and supporting studies. As a result, one ready-to-implement pilot action for sustainable mobility at the metropolitan scale – including financing concepts and implementation plans – will be produced in each of the partner metropolitan regions.

Outcome C: Regional knowledge exchange for capacity development

The work and experience in partner metropolitan regions will be shared with ASEAN Member States and other metropolitan regions facing similar challenges. The SMMR project will support capacity development in regional conferences, workshops, trainings, and seminars and through the publication of knowledge products. Lessons learned, concepts, strategies, and experiences will be shared through existing platforms, such as the ASEAN Smart Cities Network or the ASEAN Mayor Forum.

Outcome D: Implementation of the ASEAN Transport Strategic Plan

The SMMR project supports the ASEAN Land Transport Working Group and the ASEAN secretariat by contributing to the implementation of the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP) with the elaboration of policy recommendations regarding Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) and Metropolitan Transport Executives (MTE), as concrete and effective tools for the application of the ASI (Avoid-Shift-Improve) policy.

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