Bangkok (1999-2009)/Bangkok and BTS skytrain: Route Selection & Surrounding environment analysis

Bangkok (1999-2009)/Bangkok and BTS skytrain: Route Selection & Surrounding environment analysis
Bangkok Urban Public Transport Map (Fig.1)

The problem of traffic congestion is quite serious in Bangkok, not only particular area. It is because not only lacking any effective model to control city planning, Bangkok’s urban  development is market-driven integrating both commercial and residential land use in the center of city. Moreover, the existing public transportation was insufficient and ineffective, there was a large number of cars, not only workers, but also residents, coming to the city center daily causing the serious traffic congestion problem. Hence the Thai government planned to build the mass transit transport at center of Bangkok to ease the traffic problem.


Bangkok Urban Public Transport Map (Fig.1)
Bangkok Urban Public Transport Map (Fig.1)


Route Section of BTS and MRT

According to Fig.1, the green lines mean two routes of BTS, yellow line is bus line and other lines are underground MRT or airport express. It can be found out that the BTS line is not only mainly located in the centre of Bangkok, but also connecting between the old town, chao phraya river and new central of Bangkok, like Sukhumvit. Skytrain mainly runs at the downtown of Bangkok, whereas underground is most likely to connect between downtown to suburb area such as airport. Over past years both systems have eased the problem of traffic congestion especially downtown area and reduced the environment health cost, just like air pollution. (Minkatsu, 2006)


Traffic Demand for selected route

Basically, BTS Skytrain operates in 2 lines with a total of 34 stations. They are The Sukhumvit Line and The Silom Line. Both lines are covering two most congested roadways in Bangkok, Silom and Sukhumvit Roads, where are major areas of Bangkok. Both of roads located most of combination of commercial hubs and residential areas and the the areas are the highest density city in Bangkok. (Minkatsu, 2006)


Sukhumvit area of Bangkok (Fig.2)
Sukhumvit area of Bangkok (Fig.2)


The Sukhumvit area of Bangkok serves as the main commercial street and is accessible via both the BTS and MRT. From the Fig.2, it can be seen that the pattern of circulation with only limited options for cross-town travel and the limited road width are incapable of handling travel demands . So that’s the reason of traffic congestion and BTS skytrain necessary. (Peson Sirikolkarn,2008)


Sala Daeng stations along Silom Line area map (Fig.3)


The Fig.3 is one of BTS stations map along to Silom Road. From the picture, it can be found out that commercial and residential hybrid. Most of banks and commercial buildings are located surrounding the station, whereas hotels and residential towers are located another street next to the station. This reveals that the traffic demand of workers and residents along this lines. In conclusion the skytrain routes mainly run along the heart of Bangkok for workers and residents at  the heart of Bangkok. Conversely, it also reveals the failure of urban planning, the city is over-centralized on commercial hubs and residential areas, which this is the core obstacle of traffic congestion in too high density of commercial and residential area.



Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited. “Structure of Routes and Stations. Routes”.  last modified 2011. accessed December 8,2016.

Minkatsu. “Project Formulation Study on Medium Transit System for Bangkok Metropolitan Area and Surrounding Areas ” (Study Report. Engineering and Consulting Firms Association, Japan. Feb,2006) 

Peson Sirikolkarn. “The Effect of Mass Transit Systems on Price of Condominium in Bangkok” (Undergraduate Honor Thesis. University of California Berkeley. Apr,2008)

2 Comments on “Bangkok (1999-2009)/Bangkok and BTS skytrain: Route Selection & Surrounding environment analysis

  1. The historical discussion on the BTS/MRT seems to be very focused on practical issues of urban problems (e.g. congestion) right now. I wonder if there are other angles to explain the development, such as changes in political regime, social enclave, greater economic goals set up by the government (e.g. to decrease unemployment rates??), image branding of the city, culture, or even religion, so that we can get an even more holistic view of such kinds of infrastructural developments in cities.

    • According to the Seventh Plan published by Urban and Regional Transport in 1991, the Skytrain plan basically only considered private concessions to improve urban transport infrastructure. It is because it could be found out that the Bangkok government did not have well urban planning when Bangkok started to become developing country. They only focused on develop the commercial centers districts in downtown of Bangkok. Therefore, the Skytrain project was considered by simple reason to solve the traffic congestion problem.

      However someone believed that there were political issues between the government and the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority in the beginning of the Skytrain Project. The Skytrain Project belonged to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration(BMA) and the sitting party at BMA were going to use the Skytrain Project to help them renew their mandate because it was election year. On the other hand, the government wanted to take control of the project but the sitting party at BMA was unwilling to release it to the government. That’s the reason why Skytrain project was started during the election year. This political issue was only people’s guess, not officially announced by the government.

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