Chiang Mai is one of the fastest growing cities in Thailand with an economy heavily tied to tourism. As the city grew increases in air and water pollution posed significant threats to health and the growing tourism industry there. Thailand introduced the non-motorized transport system that both reduced emissions and encouraged job opportunities for the urban poor.
Chiang Mai is the capital city of the Chiang Mai province. In 2012 35% of its GDP came from tourism making tourism one of its largest, and fastest growing, industries. Besides tourism Chang Mai also experienced growth in its education, aviation, and medical industry sectors. During its growth, the city has recognized that its infrastructure was no longer sufficient to accommodate its growth and promoted the use of highly polluting transportation means.
To reduce infrastructure stress, decrease pollution, increase the accessibility to tourists, and provide job opportunities the city of Chiang Mai implemented the “non-motor transport” system (NMT). This system provided resources to provide transportation options including walking, cycling, and human-powered taxis called rickshaws. This policy has been deemed a win-win due to its pollution reductions and increased economic growth for the city’s residents. There were several lessons learned from this program.
This program was deemed successful because of its outcomes which included spin-off programs targeting different sources of pollution, and economic growth in the city.