Medan is the capital of the North Sumatra province with total population of 3.5 million (2013). Located on the northern coast of Sumatera Island, Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia behind Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung; and the largest Indonesian city outside Java Island. The city is surrounded by Deli Serdang Regency in the east, south and west, and the Strait of Malacca at the north.

As a typical metropolitan city in Indonesia, Medan is suffering a challenging urban transport situation due to economic growth (9% in 2015), rapid motorization and lack of high quality public transport to tackle down increasing of traffic demand. Considering the future urban sprawl as the result of high rate of urbanization, the average of travel time is estimated increasing while travel speed is decreasing. Study from Dishub Kota Medan in 2013 indicated that the length of total travel by motor vehicle will increase from 1.15 million veh-km in 2009 to 2.91 million veh-km in 2030. On the other hand, the average travel speed throughout the road network in the city of Medan is also estimated to further decrease from 24.4 km / h (2009) to 6.4 km / h (2030).

Problems and Challenge

Public transport

There are three existing transport modes in Medan: minibus (sudako), motorized pedicab (becak motor/bentor) and regular pedicab (becak). Taxi is entering the business but not really common in Medan. Mobility is mainly done by sudako with 105 active routes supported by 547 vehicle per hour per direction to provide 4,000 passenger per hour per direction during peak hour (ITDP, 2013). This fact describes high potential of public transport development in Medan to accommodate mobility demand among the citizen.

Non motorized transport

Similar with other Indonesian cities, sidewalks are only available in few areas with poor condition or inappropriate design that make people difficult to walk. Several malls or business centres have provided their area with convenient sidewalk yet not integrated, focusing on their area only.

Cycling facility is hardly found in Medan even though they have tried in 2013 to paint some main roads within city centre, i.e. Jalan Imam Bonjol, Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Pangeran Diponegoro. Considering low ridership and lack of sufficient infrastructure, non motorized transport development in Medan is considered very challenging.


Medan like other Indonesian cities, is having difficulties in managing their parking demand. Most of the parking is using existing road space with no control system available. On-street parking has made the city become chaotic mainly in the city centre or business district where both road sides are fully occupied with parked car. Reorganizing parking system in Medan is urgently required to provide better look of the city and enhance its life.