The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) team, accompanied by a representative from the City of Boston, traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to hold in person engagements and conduct site visits along key corridors to improve our pilot project focused on walkability, and the overall Boston-Phnom Penh city pairing. US DOT was able to arrange several key meetings, including one with H.E. Vice Governor of Phnom Penh Mr. Nuon Pharat, where they reinforced commitments to communications and data sharing between the the Boston-Phnom Penh city pairing. U.S. DOT also met with the City Bus Authority, Office of Urban Planning, Department of Public Works, Traffic Control Center and representatives from the Traffic Policy office. Each meeting allowed U.S. DOT to collect key data and information or secure an agreement to share such data with our team, all in the name of advancing the workplan between Boston and Phnom Penh.
The DOT team rode a private bus through Phnom Penh to better understand space allocation along the roads for buses, and planes for priority lanes in the future. They saw the growing operations of their traffic control center and how they plan to further integrate priority signaling into their network. Most importantly, the team walked along Monivong Boulevard, the focus corridor of our pilot project, to see first hand the issue of walkability as faced by everyday citizens of Phnom Penh. There is a clear desire to walk in certain areas, but many end up choosing a car/tuk tuk or scooter as many areas of the sidewalk are completely unwalkable. Issues of crumbling sidewalk, uneven structures and cars parked along the sidewalk leave almost no room for pedestrians to walk. Walkability is a health and safety issue; in some cases children had to walk on the road to get to school. By paying an in person visit to our Phnom Penh colleagues, we were able to narrow down the block by block area within Monivong Boulevard that our pilot project will focus on, and furthermore, were able to identify some key priorities to address. In person engagement has invigorated the relationship between this city pairing and we hope it kick starts Phnom Penh’s engagement with Boston.