Paving the Way for Greener Mobility in Cambodia

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CDIA is getting ready to undertake a project preparation study to help Siem Reap City develop a low-carbon transport system to address traffic congestion and improve the environment in Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination.

Siem Reap is home to the UNESCO world heritage site of Angkor Wat. In 2019, it welcomed around 2.2 million tourists, translating to at least $1.2 billion in tourism revenues.

Despite the significant contribution of its tourism industry, which is considered as the city’s main source of income, Siem Reap is facing various transport challenges such that its current network cannot fully accommodate the large number of residents, commuters, and tourists.

Its public transport is not organized and the high dependence on aged gasoline-fueled vehicles is causing air pollution, noise, and increased greenhouse gas emissions, apart from increased congestion. The risk of air pollution to heritage preservation is also a key concern.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) has introduced the low-carbon public transport project named Electric Bus Fleet as Public Service in Siem Reap City to address these issues and at the same time strengthen connectivity across the country to achieve sustained economic growth. The e-bus project is in line with several key policies and plans at both national and subnational levels that seek to promote smart and green initiatives.

In 2021, the Global Green Growth Institute conducted a pre-feasibility study, which established the initial feasibility of the e-bus transport option in Siem Reap compared to the diesel-based line. In addition, the World Bank’s Technical Report on Siem Reap’s Urban Mobility provided an overview of the transport system and institutional setup of the city. It also  identified potential green mobility solutions. MPWT then applied for CDIA technical assistance to take these studies forward to project preparation stage.

CDIA’s support, which is expected to start in the second quarter of 2023, will focus on the conduct of a feasibility study for a proposed low-carbon and smart public transport system with an electric bus fleet that will serve three new corridors. It will include the technical analysis of the e-bus system and the commercial aspects for a potential public-private partnership (PPP) financing modality.

The study will further provide an outline environmental and social safeguards  necessary to facilitate the linkage of the project to downstream financing; develop e-bus operation plans and an electric vehicle battery management scheme; and prepare an institutional and capacity development road map to support the operation of  transit corridor.

As the government plans to operate the e-bus system through a PPP modality, CDIA will provide recommendations on the most appropriate models, and from there, expedite the next steps of the PPP transaction packaging.

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