Study Area, Methodology & Findings

219 hectares with over 40km of streets surveyed through inspection and observation. A brief introduction to the study area, methodology and a general summary of the findings.

ISD study area E

*Legacy borders is a term given to boundaries that were set in place during the founding of the city. Today it still forms a distinctive line between Upper and Central City Centre.

“The boundary between the Malay quarter and the Chinese settlement around the square was a rough track, later to be called Java Street (and then Mountbatten Road and nowadays, Jalan Tun Perak).”

excerpt taken from J. M. Gullick, Old Kuala Lumpur, Oxford University Press 1994.

Study Area comprises 219 hectares and traces an approximate perimeter of one-kilometre radius around Masjid Jamek, the symbolic centre of Kuala Lumpur. Exceptions are the inclusion of the South West area / Section F and the northern tip of Section A / Heritage Row, which are situated outside of the one-kilometre radius.

The study area was divided into six main sections. These sections have distinct characteristics and structure. The sections’ perimeters are formed by natural features (river), legacy borders* and major modern roadways. Each section can be further sub-divided, but for the purpose of this report, these six sections are surveyed as a one zone.

ISD area size

The sections and their given names, followed by their respective area size, are listed below:
Section A– Masjid India 50 ha
Section B– Bukit Nanas 30 ha
Section C– Dataran Merdeka 30 ha
Section D– Old City Centre 17 ha
Section E– Chinatown 50 ha
Section F– Botanic Garden 42 ha


ISD data entry E
General Workflow (page 32)

Introduction This section explains the mechanism, processes and the parameter checklist (Assessment Criteria) approach in this report.

A workflow was developed to provide a high level of accuracy and detail. It also sets a limit to the amount of focus a surveyor should have in the field.

As suggested by Think City, the survey method employed included sight and estimation, and the use of cameras to capture photo evidence of the streetscapes. The survey was conducted during weekdays, on a “normal activity/ non-seasonal” day, from Monday to Thursday, and during a time window from 10am to 1pm. Night survey was conducted between 7pm to 10pm.

The time window is based on the “rule of thumb” methodologies for ±25% margin of error and 90% confidence interval and includes factors like fair, sunny or cloudy atmospheric conditions, with temperatures between 28 to 34° degrees Celsius. Static items could be surveyed outside of the time window.

Assessment Criteria

ISD Assess Crit1
Parameter checklist version 5
ISD Assess Crit2
Checklist with rating numbers and colour codes

The given name for the Parameter Checklist. It has evolved from a wide range of items to a checklist with specific objectives over the course of the project. The Assessment Criteria is currently at Version 5. The project has categorised the list into four categories: Path, Street Furniture, Transit and Behavioural.

Path A static street audit of the existing pedestrian and vehicular paths, prepared by the City Council. This part of the survey is mainly done along the streetscape only.
Street Furniture A static street audit of street furniture initiated by the City Council which includes vegetation, seating area, street lights, signage, bins, traffic lights and parking areas on roads (with partial photo evidence).
Transit A static street audit of transportation nodes, access points and traffic lanes and spaces provided for public transportation. This report has omitted bus routes and bus numbers as it was too big a task to include.
Behavioural A behavioural assessment and audit of pedestrian and vehicular (with partial photo evidence). This criterion covers the movement of users, activities and environmental situation.
Rating Each item is rated from level 3 to 6, from bad to good conditions. They were colour-coded from active warm to cool subtle colours and biased towards Active Mobility.
Markings Apart from marking waypoint locations for certain static objects, an overall assessment rating is given to a certain length of path dubbed a “Segment”. The assessment types are listed below
= both side of the street has individual rating
– single line, crossing path or route
∆ polygon, overall of street, shape of area/ space
• point for location of object
free line for route
Photography (P) Photographic evidence to show environmental situation and data is part of the criteria for deliverables.

ISD para cond
Pedestrian Path Condition, rating examples. To view all, download the complete Objectives & Methodology (786kb)


ISD segment
Think City Study Area, colour- coded segments according to sections (page 28)

Breakdown of each section with main / secondary road numbers:
• Section A – Masjid India 15 / 15
• Section B – Bukit Nanas 8 / 13
• Section C – Dataran Merdeka 9 / 6
• Section D – Old City Centre 5 / 12
• Section E – Chinatown 14 / 14
• Section F – Botanic Gardens 6 / 5
– 57 main roads / 66 secondary roads,
123 segments total

The streetscape is classified under five categories: highway, main road, secondary road, utility lane and pedestrian walkway. However, only the main roads and secondary roads are covered under the streetscape audit.

Highways lack pedestrian facilities, utility lanes are numerous and inaccessible, and walkways are dedicated pedestrian-only thoroughfares. Hence, these three categories were omitted from the survey due to their limitations in terms of interaction between Active and Passive Mobility.

The six sections from the main and secondary roads were further segmented between 100 to 300 meters. The segments were divided up when the road styling changed, or due to junction placement, or when the segment was beyond 300 meters. A total of 123 segments were assessed.

ISD rating map
A task list map paper with segmentation, ratings and details of surveyor’s notes. Section C – Dataran Merdeka (page 27)

click here to download Objectives & Methodology (786kb)

Summary of Sections / Findings

Lack of continuous pedestrian paths with rampant traffic obstruction. The  lack of greenery & seating areas, insufficient or inappropriate lights and pollution are major issues.

Click here to download individual section reports:

Section A– Masjid India (8mb)
Section B– Bukit Nanas (12mb)
Section C– Dataran Merdeka (5.3mb)
Section D– Old City Centre (6.3mb)
Section E– Chinatown (8.9mb)
Section F– Botanic Gardens (4.9mb)
Summary Study Areabcdef (18.9mb)


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Study Areabcdef
One of the few key findings concerns the connecting points and major junctions between these six sections. More than ten such junctions were identified as possible Crossing Plazas. If the City promotes more pedestrian walkability, these junctions and connecting points would need to be upgraded in order to improve connectivity.

Click here to download Summary (18.9mb)



Based on surveys of all six sections, the overall observation shows that although some areas are partially pedestrianised, most areas lack continuous walking paths and the existing paths are either riddled with barriers or their surfaces uneven and hazardous. The markings for pedestrian crossings are either faded or the crossing is non existent.

High contact or conflict between vehicular and pedestrian usage is a common issue that is mainly attributable to user behaviour. Traffic obstruction or encroachment on pedestrian paths are rampant. Static obstructions include utilities, amenities and building extensions while live encroachment include vehicles, street vendors, spillover goods or shop deliveries at mainly F&B outlets in commercial areas. There are numerous untapped, fine-grained network of back alleys.

Areas like Heritage Roads or Heritage Architecture need special attention or treatment. The Community Service Centre for the Deaf needs special attention to improve their connectivity and accessibility.

The Plaza Rakyat LRT area has been slated for a new commercial development. Of the entire rail network, the Plaza Rakyat station has the poorest accessibility despite being one of the most important transport nodes. However, this area will see a significant increase in footfall once the Warisan Merdeka building and the two new MRT stations are completed.

There is a good potential to create a tourism pedestrian corridor that links north of Masjid India with Dataran Merdeka, continue towards National Mosque and Museum Negara and finally ending in Brickfields though the KL Sentral MRT underpass or through Planetarium to the new proposed KL Central Park.

Suggestions to enhance pedestrian’s experience include a timely evaluation and improvement on walking paths’ accessibility, connectivity and crossings or desired lines. Create safe, hazard and barrier free paths for pedestrians along main roads or high footfall areas, for example a Pedestrian Plaza.

In addition, Buffer Areas for Heritage Roads/ Architecture/ Significant POIs as NODES should be identified. A transition to Pedestrian Zone can also be introduced. Initiate hygiene training and waste management system, especially amongst street vendors and grocers. And designate a proper rubbish collection site with clearing and cleaning schedule. The back alleys can be developed to complement a pedestrian corridor network and to support increased traffic in the future.



Generally, these areas lack greenery and seating areas. The number of bins are limited and inconsistently placed. In addition, obstruction and encroachment contribute to waste and pest issues. Most areas suffer from insufficient or inappropriate street lights for night time illumination.

Recommendations include creating well-maintained Green Nodes with suitable greenery along main thoroughfares. Seating areas that double as signage can be installed within all Nodes.



Air, noise, chemical pollution seem to plague these areas, characterised as hard urban landscapes. High vehicular traffic areas lack greenery and some areas suffer from pollutants flowing directly into the rivers. Directional signage to transit points are poor. Taxi drivers form illegal lines and haggle over the fares with customers instead of using meters.

The legacy bus stops dotted around these areas are worth looking into. And many disoriented tourists were spotted around tourist attractions like the National Mosque. They were asking for directions to the nearest train station due to the lack of direct public transport in the area.

Clearly displayed, up-to-date information of public transport within the areas should be provided. A guide map to the areas would come in handy too. Another suggestion is to identify or create a network of strategically placed transit signage between each destination and transit point. A collaborative and complementary public bus system can be created to facilitate tourism whilst legacy transit terminals can be re- established as functional points of connectivity.

The overall standards of transit vehicles should be reviewed and upgraded with a view to reduce pollution by improving cleanliness, engine efficiency and reducing particle emissions.



Illegal parking or encroachment by Heavy Good Vehicles (HGV), street vendors, taxis, bus lines or law enforcement vehicles on paths or roads create barriers to pedestrians, bottlenecks and disrupt traffic flow. Damaged and degraded walking path surfaces are commonly found in most areas. Motorcyclists have a tendency to use pedestrian paths as shortcuts. Roads leading to or at high tourist attractions constantly suffer from congestion due to the large number of tour and regular vehicles (some indiscriminately parked), which lead to a decrease in road capacity.

Suggestions to ease vehicular traffic include time evaluation and improvement on paths’ accessibility, connectivity and crossings / desired lines. Create safe, hazard and barrier free paths for pedestrians along main roads or high footfall areas like a Pedestrian Plaza.

Identify Buffer Areas for Heritage Roads / Architecture / Significant POIs as *NODES and introducing the Pedestrian Zone Transition. In addition, identify and create strategically placed designated delivery area or establish designated delivery time to encourage or revitalise porters’ service. And create an alternative and Safe Passageway for students to get to their guardians.



It is common on the roads for users to violate traffic rules and signals. In some areas there are too many signs in one spot, either official or non-official, which confuses users and results in a failure to abide by the correct road rules. There is a lack of POIs signage whilst directional signage to transit points are poor or non-functioning. There is no roundabout connection to National Mosque. This area needs more attention to address its connectivity issue.

It is common on the roads for users to violate traffic rules and signals. In some areas there are too many signs in one spot, either official or non-official, which confuses users and results in a failure to abide by the correct road rules.

click here for the complete Publication & Download

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