Smart mobility is fast emerging in Greater Kuala Lumpur

1 October 2021

Through Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL), various parts of Malaysia are now more connected than ever. There’s one factor to thank for: the country’s burgeoning internal connectivity.

The region’s highly diversified transportation network is firmly rooted in big data development, exemplified by the recent launch of the Malaysian Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Blueprint (2019-2023). With this blueprint to guide them, local authorities aim to tackle the ongoing increase of car owners on Malaysian roads while steering towards sustainability.

There are plenty of benefits to technology-powered transportation networks in Malaysia. From potentially optimal energy use practices to alignment to global sustainability mandates, these benefits contribute significantly to GKL’s status as an emerging smart city with notable smart mobility development.

Factors to GKL’s smart mobility development

1. Seamless digital connectivity

Malaysia’s future transportation networks will be highly connected thanks to streamlined applications of the internet of things (IoT) and other top Industry 4.0 disruptive trends.

Case in point: the recently announced Malaysian City Brain project. It is set to leverage revolutionary cornerstones such as 5G, IoT and artificial intelligence to optimise GKL’s future traffic network. The projected connectivity from this anticipated development can regulate billions of connected devices, from cars to buildings, to communicate at speeds 10 to 100 times faster than today, with ultra-low latency yet massive capacity.

Then, there’s also the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and private hire car company Grab to take into account. The memorandum enables Malaysia’s traffic management agencies and city planners to use Grab’s anonymized traffic data streams ethically. This way, these stakeholders can determine the best traffic plans contributing to smart city planning — and ultimately, GKL’s digitalized mobility.

2. The global green economy connection

Malaysia’s commitment to global green economy mandates is a low-key but no less critical factor enabling smart mobility development in GKL. Malaysian leaders are in the process of updating the country’s nationally determined contributions (NDC) ahead of the United Nation’s upcoming 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) meeting.

Malaysia thus has a solid chance to showcase its unique and innovative financing schemes that align with COP26’s mandates on the global green economy, of which smart mobility is a pillar. With GKL poised to become an internationally known epicentre for smart transportation networks, the country can effectively fulfil its part in contributing to the global green economy movement.

3. Efficient public-private partnership

Global collaborations between the public and private sectors in Malaysia can account for the smart mobility development in both GKL and the country.

For one, the Malaysia City Brain project represents a tremendous global collaboration between Malaysia and Alibaba Cloud (China). The partnership represents a strong tie between two Asian nations and cloud computing’s ability to optimise Malaysia’s smart mobility strategies efficiently. In short, we can expect to see GKL’s data and traffic management systems improve soon.

Electric vehicles (EV), which are part and parcel of the smart mobility market, are steadily gaining traction among eco-conscious drivers in Malaysia, particularly within GKL. The public-private partnership aspect of this development is evident in the increasing local availability of EVs from continental brands. Undeniably, this feature helps local automotive distributors thrive economically. This synergy is ultimately favourable to our National Electric Mobility Blueprint, which memorialises Malaysia’s ambition to have 125,000 EV charging stations by 2030.

4. Commitments to sustainability

GKL’s burgeoning status as a highly connected smart city showcases Malaysia’s commitment to becoming not only technologically empowered but also sustainability-adherent. Sustainable transportation, of which smart mobility is a driver, is after all a sustainable development goal.

Existing transportation network providers in the country are already putting sustainability agendas at heart with their operations. Chief among them is MRT Corp who, in the first quarter of 2021, received the INFRASTAR-5 Star Sustainability certification for their Putrajaya line.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government is not far behind, with plans to create and unveil hybrid buses and autonomous public transport plans. At the same time, mobility experts are currently studying and theorising walkaway improvements. Brought to life, these efforts can integrate lower-income citizens into becoming smart mobility users and participants in Malaysia.


As outlined in the Ministry of Transport’s National Transport Policy (2019-2030) framework, Malaysia recognises the importance of revolutionizing current transportation and mobility networks, systems and policies. And the country can only do so with optimised smart mobility strategies.

Fortunately, the factors of seamless digital connectivity, effective public-private sector partnerships, commitments to sustainability, and connection to the global green economy are all playing to Malaysia’s strength in smart mobility. With a continuously strong outlook in this area, GKL can rise as the new global benchmark against other recognised smart cities in Europe and across the world.

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