Kuala Lumpur

UMR Index


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Score: 44.9%

Sustainable Mobility


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Score: 32.3%

Public Transit


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Score: 58.4%

Population 8.8 million
Surface area (km2) 2,163
Population-density (people/km2) 4,053
GDP per capita ($) 36,485
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What Kuala Lumpur Does Well in Urban Mobility

Kuala Lumpur is building a diverse multimodal public transit system known for its affordable and fast service. The network spans commuter trains, light and mass rapid transit lines, monorail, and buses. It boasts three fully automated rail lines, the latest of which was completed in 2022.

The city also has a region-leading transit app that allows users to plan ahead for their journey with schedules, estimated time of arrival, and trip durations, receive trip updates such as delays, and pay for their rides without needing to purchase a physical ticket.

Urban Mobility Readiness Index, Sustainable Mobility and Public Transit scores

Challenges and Opportunities for Kuala Lumpur’s Transportation System

Once a popular destination for international passengers and flights, Kuala Lumpur's airport has declined in volume in the last few years, with the number of tourists visiting Malaysia at around 40% of the level in 2019.

The number of road traffic accidents is high, and the city has low regional connectivity given Malaysia's fragmented road network. The national government has adopted a road safety plan that aims to reduce traffic fatalities by 50% by 2030.

Dimensions of the Urban Mobility Readiness Index score

How Kuala Lumpur Can Improve Its Public Transportation and Sustainable Mobility

The city lags behind peers in incentivizing the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs), contributing to low EV use. Kuala Lumpur could increase monetary incentives or introduce non-monetary ones, such as special access lanes or a low-emission zone (LEZ) to limit combustion engine car usage. The government in 2023 introduced an initiative allowing foreign companies to sell EVs without meeting permit requirements with the goal of having 150,000 EVs on the road by 2030.

Some residents face long walks to get to mass transit stations. The city can bolster its public transit offering by introducing more stops and stations along its commuting lines. Focusing on expanding rapid bus and minibus services would be a resource-efficient option compared to developing additional rail stations. Increasing the number of stations makes the public transit system more accessible to the city's residents and will help increase ridership and lower car usage. In the long run, extending the reach of the Rapid Rail network will be key to building out the public transit offering, but that effort will be a timely and expensive undertaking.

Comparative Urban Mobility Readiness Index scores