“The programme was quite relatable to my work”

As the head of the railway engineering department at MRT Jakarta, Tengku Alia Sandra has a lot of influence on the future of public transport in the megacity Jakarta. When she heard of the online capacity building programme on innovation for change in public transport, a part of the SI Public Sector Innovation Programme offered by Lund University, she didn’t hesitate to apply.
A woman wearing a white helmet, rubber bots is standing in front of a lorry.

– First of all, Lund is famous for its innovations. I was also interested because it related so clearly to my job.  Having this experience has enhanced my capacity and skills.

Alia participated in the programme during 2021, with 23 other participants from Columbia, Indonesia and Ghana. The initiative has contributed to developing networks, exchange of experience and the introduction of public transport solutions.

– The programme provided me with a learning experience, both through lectures and from collaborating with other participants. Especially about innovation in public transport and developing a smart or sustainable city, which is the goal for most cities. This made it quite relatable to my work.

Alia has a postgraduate degree (Graduate Diploma) in railway signalling and telecommunications from Australia, and close to 15 years work experience in the field. The programme helped her connect the dots in her work and enhanced her technical skills.

More specifically, Alia describes her final project about shifting people from private to public transport in Jakarta. She was inspired by how most people in Lund use public transport and also bicycles. But the tropical weather in Jakarta is an issue and prevents a lot of people from walking or bicycling.

– I learned from one of the lectures to look at how to adopt to different circumstances, that we could build a canopy and shelter along the walking and bicycling lanes, and also use dedicated lanes instead of a shared road with cars and motorcycles.

She is also fully aware of her position to influence future developments.

– My main task is to make change happen and solve how we design for future projects and how we change the mindset of people to use the facilities we design.

Her ideas and recommendations are now already being implemented in Jakarta.

-I just love this job. I’ve worked in this industry for almost 15 years. It’s not common for women to have these kinds of jobs in engineering and railways. I am so glad to participate in something many say women cannot do.

Facts: Innovation for Change in Public Transport

  • The training programme focuses on strengthening the capacity for innovation and development of public and private actors operating in public transport systems and thereby contribute to Goal 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and Goal 9 (Industry, innovations and infrastructure) of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 24 participants from Ghana, Indonesia and Colombia participated in the first round of the training programme. In 2021-2022, 24 participants from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa will be joining the second round of the training programme.
  • The programme is part of the SI Public Sector Innovation Programme and is implemented by Lund University in collaboration with, among others, the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Public Transport (K2).
  • Participants have gained access to knowledge and methods for analysing their surroundings and understanding current and future needs for innovation. They have also been given the opportunity to develop and apply service innovations in their own operations.
  • The training programme has helped the participants support organisational learning and create an innovative climate in their workplace. The participants have also developed their networks, exchanged experiences and been introduced to other countries’ public transport solutions.