Bangkok’s Bumpy Road to Sustainable Urban Mobility: Governance Challenges in the Promotion of Cycle-friendliness

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Tanapon Panthasen
Bart Lambregts
Supaporn Kaewko Leopairojana


Many cities promote cycling as an environmentally friendly and healthier mode of urban transport. The challenge often is bigger than anticipated, as it involves inducing behavioural change among different groups of actors and reaching agreement about the reallocation of scarce resources. Recent experiences in Bangkok are illustrative. Here, multi-year efforts by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to promote cycling have yielded only partial success. Recreational cycling has increased, but utility cycling much less so. A gap remains between what the BMA delivers in terms of pro-cycling policies and what Bangkokians need in order to become utility cyclists. This paper investigates the characteristics of this gap and the factors that produce it. It finds that safety concerns in particular keep Bangkokians from cycling, and that organizational inefficiencies and failure to commit key actors, a narrow focus on physical output, wavering political leadership, and a failure to benefit from the knowledge available among members of the public, are key factors preventing the BMA from delivering more effective solutions. The paper concludes by deriving key lessons from the Bangkok experience.


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Panthasen, T., Lambregts, B., & Leopairojana, S. K. (2021). Bangkok’s Bumpy Road to Sustainable Urban Mobility: Governance Challenges in the Promotion of Cycle-friendliness. Nakhara : Journal of Environmental Design and Planning, 20, Article 106. Retrieved from


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