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Thailand's capital tackles traffic and air pollution

September 2, 2020

Heavy car traffic and old diesel-powered buses are a feature of everyday life for commuters in the Thai capital. The city is now introducing measures to modernize public mobility and reduce air pollution.

Traffic jam in the evening in Bangkok, Thailand
Image: Colourbox

Thailand: How to avoid getting stuck in traffic

Project goal: Introduction of a road toll to help discourage commuters from driving in Bangkok. Proceeds will be used to help modernize urban public transport. The aim is to improve air quality and make the city more climate friendly. 

Budget: The Thai Program for Clean Transport is a part of the global TRANSfer III project, supported by €8 million ($9.4 million) from the International Climate Initiative of the German Environment Ministry. The program is also running in Indonesia, Colombia, Peru and the Philippines. 

Partners: The program is carried out by the German Development Agency, GIZ  and the Thai Department for Transport Policy and Planning. 

Duration: The budget for planning has been approved for the period 2017 until 2021. The toll will be introduced at a later date. 

Transport, which accounts for almost a third of global energy related emissions, is a key focus area of Thailand's climate goals. 

In Bangkok, heavy traffic means drivers often spend hours sitting in traffic, while many buses are decades old and run on diesel. 

To tackle air pollution and help reduce emissions, the city is introducing a new toll. They hope the congestion charge will help deter residents from commuting in private vehicles and opt instead for modernized public transport. To find out more, we visited the streets of Bangkok to accompany a commuter on her way to work. 

A film by Joachim Eggers