FEBRUARY 19 — You are probably familiar with the traffic congestion in Penang, crowded with cars, buses, lorries, and bikes. Such traffic woes affect our personal life, career, health and even safety.

Firstly, traffic congestion causes unpredictable delay that stresses us over when we are rushing for appointment, work, and catching a flight. As if that is not bad enough, traffic jam also takes away our precious time with our family, reducing our private time and so disrupting our work-life balance.

UK researchers had previously found that an extra 20 minutes of commuting time a day had the same effect of receiving news about 19 per cent pay cut.

Traffic jam has real impact to our time management and psychological wellbeing! That’s probably why we are seeing many road-rage incidents nowadays.

Secondly, long rows of vehicles crawling on the road means more fuel is wasted. More carbon is released into the atmosphere, causing rise in global temperature. Air pollution in a city would mean poorer quality of air for us to breathe. That’s how traffic congestion contribute to climate change and bad health.

Thirdly, traffic jam aggravates emergency cases as police car, fire engine, and ambulance cannot reach their destination in time. In emergency, each second counts. One second late is often a life and death matter during emergency.

Designing a good road infrastructure and public transport is therefore very important. Solving traffic problems will bring relief to these many aspects of our lives, as highlighted above. Better transport infrastructure means happier workers and more economic benefits – studies show that happy workers are 13 per cent more productive. And commuting plays a big part in that.

Good news is that the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) is coming! With LRT and new highway, traffic congestion will finally receive its long-awaited relief. A seamless and accessible transportation system is the key to higher standard of liveability.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.