Land Transport Policy and Public Transport in Singapore

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Land transport policy and public transport in SingaporeSOI HOI LAM* & TRINH DINH TOANSchool of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang Technological University,Blk N1 #1A-29, 639798, Singapore(*Author for correspondence, E-mail: words: integration, land transport policy, multi-modal transit, road pricing, tracmanagement, transport planningAbstract. Singapore has a sophisticated and ecient system of land transport to serve agrowing demand for transportation. Constrained by limited space, a comprehensive set ofland transport policies has been in place to balance the growth in transport demand andthe eectiveness and eciency of the land transport system. A multi-pronged approach hasbeen used to achieve the objective of a world-class transportation system. These includeintegration of urban and transport planning, expansion of the road network andimprovement of the transport infrastructure, harnessing the latest technology in networkand trac management, managing vehicle ownership and usage, and improvement andregulations of public transport (Ministry of Transport (MOT) (2003) Policy and Regula-tions, Land Transport, Available:, Date of Access: 15 September 2003).Singapore was the rst country in the world to introduce various new techniques, notablythe Area License Scheme (ALS) in 1975 and the Vehicle Quota System (VQS) in 1990. AnElectronic Road Pricing (ERP) system replaced the ALS in 1998 to take the role of con-gestion management, the experience of which has also drawn particular attention frommany large cities in the world. In 2003, the worlds rst and only fully automatic heavy railMass Rapid Transit system was opened to the public, marking a new chapter in Singa-pores innovative approach to solving its land transport problem. This paper reviews theland transport policy implemented in Singapore and pays special emphasis to its publictransportation systems.Abbreviation: ALS Area Licensing Scheme; ARF Additional Registration Fee; COE Certif-icate of Entitlement; ERP Electronic Road Pricing; HDB Housing and Development Board;MRT Mass Rapid Transit; OMV Open Market Value; VQS Vehicle Quota System1. IntroductionWith almost 4 million people living on an island of about 650 km2, Singaporefaces challenges in meeting the daily needs of commuting by its population.Transport land use now already covers 12% of the island, about the same per-centage as residential areas. If the current trend continued, roads alone wouldoccupy 16% of Singapores land area by the year 2010. In 2001, an average ofTransportation (2006) 33: 171188 Springer 2006DOI: 10.1007/s11116-005-3049-z7.7 million motorized trips were made in a day. The estimated number of tripsmay grow beyond 10 million by 2010 (MOT 2002). The limited land area onthe island has constrained the development of road networks.The majority of the working population needs a motorized transportmeans to get to work. About 60% of them use public transport such asbuses, Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) or Light Rapid Transit (LRT). In theyear 2002, there were 3144 km of roads. Eight expressways with a totallength of 150 km constitute the back bone of the road infrastructure in theisland, the longest of which is the Pan Island Expressway (PIE) 42 km long.By the end of 2002, the total motorized car population registered in Singa-pore was 405,797 and about 19,007 taxis (MOT 2003). There were about132,607 goods vehicles and buses.To maintain a sustainable transportation system to support the growth ofthe economy and activities, an integrated and comprehensive approach hasbeen taken to managing the demand and plans for the provision of transpor-tation systems. The formation of a Land Transport Authority in 1996 andthe subsequent publication of the land transport white paper (LTA 1996)outlined the multi-pronged land transport policy which achieved a world-class land transportation system in Singapore. In the area of public trans-port, as stated in the white paper (LTA 1996), it will continue to be a majormode of land transport, and the vision of a seamless and integrated multi-modal public transportation system was illustrated.In this paper, the land transport policy implemented by Singapore toachieve its objectives will be reviewed. This is followed by a discussion of thecomponents that make up the multi-modal transit system in Singapore.Finally, the infrastructure and strategies to integrate the multi-modal transitservices are discussed, as these strategies have profound impact on the waythe multi-modal transit system in Singapore is planned and modelled.2. Land transport policies in SingaporeSince the 1970s, when the rst comprehensive transportation for Singaporewas completed (Wilber Smith and Associates 1974), the alleviation of traccongestion has been the main objective of land transport policy. In a land-scarce island like Singapore, it was recognized ever since early days that acomprehensive land transport network, which meets peoples needs andexpectations and supports economic and environmental goals, is much nee-ded. To achieve the above objectives, based on MOT (2003), a multi-pron-ged strategy has been adopted as early as the 1970s. The comprehensivepolicy comprises the following ve main components:172 Integration of town and transport planning Expansion of road network and improvement of transport infrastructure Harnessing the latest technology in network and trac management Managing vehicle ownership and usage Improvement and regulations of public transport.3. Integration of town and transport planningIn Singapore, the planning practice shows that careful consideration has beengiven to integration of transport planning into the master plan, called theDevelopment Guide Plan (URA 2003). The physical provision of transportinfrastructure has been made in such a manner that the system delivers a highlevel of service for the population. Urban areas, including industrial, residen-tial and social infrastructure, are normally located in close proximity, within awalking distance of bus stops and MRT stations, making travel by publictransport more convenient. In public housing, or the Housing DevelopmentBoard (HDB) estates throughout the island, the road network is designed insuch a way that the placement of bus stops and routing of bus services providethe greatest accessibility to the public. Island-wide covered walkways linkingthe estates together with the bus stops in the vicinity also provides greater con-venience and protection against weather conditions for residents travelling bypublic transport. In certain new developments on the island, the town plan-ning has provisions for LRT and/or mass rapid transit. It is planned that inthe next 1015 years, commuter facilities and housing development will befully integrated so as to create a seamless transport system. Building morehomes near work places and more work places in residential areas will moder-ate the demand for transport.4. Expansion of road network and improvement of transport infrastructureAmong various supply-side tactics for reducing congestion, building moreroads or expanding the existing infrastructure seems unavoidable for accom-modating vehicles in a city that has experienced such rapid growth as Singa-pore, which has already devoted about 15% of its extremely scarce land toroads and road related infrastructure. Although the whole island has anintegrated and comprehensive system of streets and highways, the construc-tion of new roads/expressways is still considered necessary to provide betterconnectivity to new or established areas. An example is the current construc-tion of the KallangPayaLebar expressway which is designed to serve theincreasingly congested northeast corridor and intersects with a number of173existing expressways. Targeted to be completed in 2005, the most part of thisnew expressway will be built underground, reecting the fact that land spacein Singapore is scarce. Apart from this, major intersections have been con-verted into interchanges to relieve the congestion at arterials, in addition tothe widening of roads due to increased demand for road space. Some ofthese new interchanges are multi-tiered serving not only roadways but alsoother facilities such as MRT tunnels.5. Harnessing the latest technology in network and trac managementAdvanced technologies have been used to improve road capacity and tosmooth trafc ow. These are parts of the Intelligent Transportation System(ITS) solutions deployed by LTA (LTA 2002b) to raise the standards of tra-vel in Singapore. Currently, the deployment of ITS technologies is mainlyfocused on the Advanced Traveller Information Systems (ATIS), AdvancedTrac Management Systems (ATMS) and Advanced Public TransportationSystems (APTS). In ATIS, the main component is, which is aweb-based system that provides one-stop comprehensive real-time tracinformation. The main sources of real-time trac information are from theTracScan, for travel time information using taxis as probed vehicles, andthe Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS), which uses cam-eras to monitor and detect trac conditions on expressways. Information isavailable on the website, which is updated every 5 min; and travel time every 2 min is accessible by the public in a 24/7 manner. EMAS also dis-seminates real-time trafc information through the variable message signsinstalled at strategic locations along expressways.There are two main applications of ATMS in Singapore. Firstly, the roadnetwork in the island is fully signalized and highly coordinated in arterialstreets to minimize delay. The Green Link Determining (GLIDE) system,implemented since 1988 to regulate trafc signals, has been expanded tocover all of the 1600 road intersections of the entire island. This computer-ized-coordinated trafc light system creates green waves to increase thecapacity of junctions and to facilitate the smooth ow of trafc. Secondly,linked to the EMAS system, an ITS centre has been established to monitorand manage incidents on expressways. At critical junctions, the JunctionEye system is used to monitor trafc conditions to help relieve congestiondue to trafc incidents.On the APTS, an Electronic Fare Integration System (EFIS) has been inplace since December 2003, to integrate and automate the collection of transitfares. Passengers board and alight buses or trains with the use of contactlesscash cards, called EZ Link Cards. Charging the full fare for a journey when a174passenger boards a vehicle, the balance from the exact fare will be refundedto the EZ Link card once the passenger alights. The system allows the transitoperators to collect the right fares from the passengers, who are able to travelin a more convenient way. Operationally, the buses can spend less time at thebus stops as passengers can now board the vehicles within a shorter timeframe. The two transit operators will equip automatic vehicle location identi-cation technology in all the buses. Once this is completed, the updating offare stages will be automated and this will further enhance the accuracy offare collection for bus services in Singapore. The ridership data also providesa valuable source of information for transit planning.6. Travel demand management managing vehicle ownership and usageThe demand-side strategies seek to regulate demand for travel, particularlytrips made during peak hours. For Singapore, due to the constraints that itfaced, this approach has proven to be an essential and feasible approach.This has been proved by the respectable speeds along the city roads andexpressways that are 2030 and 4565 km/h respectively, during rush hours(Menon 2002).Travel demand management in Singapore encompasses two methods:vehicle ownership control and usage control. Initially, the policy on vehicleownership control involved the use of a Vehicle Quota System (VQS, seebelow) as well as road taxes. The program has for many years kept the num-ber of vehicles at a sustainable level. Recently, the approach has shifted toemphasis on usage control, on congestion pricing, the Electronic Road Pric-ing (ERP) system.6.1. Vehicle Quota Scheme (VQS) and Certicate of Entitlement (COE)The VQS was started in May 1990. It is a quota system of new car licences,called COE, in order to sustain a manageable size of vehicle population con-sidering factors such as growth in road network and annual attrition of vehi-cles (MOT 2003). Each month, through a bidding system, bidders (or carbuyers) pay for the lowest successful bid price, which is called the quota pre-mium and is equal to the medium price of all the bids submitted, in order topurchase a vehicle. The COE then stays for 10 years from the date of regis-tration of the vehicle. The working of the COE Scheme relies upon the mar-ket forces to determine the acceptable prices by the public in order to keep itin line with the road capacity and trac conditions to avoid trac conges-tion. An electronic open-bidding system has been in place since April 2002.175Under such a system the bidding process becomes transparent as any bidderis able to view the bids put up by other bidders. The system has been netuned over the years and is now operated via an on-line open bidding systemthat allows bidders to view bids from other parties. The prices of the COEchange with time and has recently been stabilized at the levels shown inFigure 1. The quota for a particular year depends on the net allowedincrease of 3% and the number of vehicles to be de-registered in that year.The major impact of VQS is the high car prices as a direct result of add-ing the cost of COE to the prices of cars, in addition to the Additional Reg-istration Fee (ARF) applicable, which has successfully reduced the carownership. The ARF was originally set as 150% of the Open Market Value(OMV) of a vehicle. It was subsequently raised through various stages topeak at 175% in 1983 and eventually lowered to 150% in 2003, partlyreecting the tendency to control car usage through congestion pricingrather than car ownership. Phang (1993) reported a car-to-per-capita-indige-nous-income ratio of 4.48 in 1994 in Singapore. Foo (1998) illustrated theaordability of cars in Singapore by the use of an example, which is thenancial cost of a brand new compact car costing S$110,000. Considering a7 year loan on 70% of the car price, the monthly car loan repayment ofS$1109 (at 1998 prices) was 23% of the average monthly household incomeat that time. Chin and Smith (1997) developed an automobile ownershipmodel with the consideration of the eects of VQS and concluded that thepolicy of both regulating car ownership and usage should be complimentaryto each other. Foo (1998) also suggested that car owners may tend to drivemore given the higher car prices and limited life of their vehicles. On theaverage, a vehicle in Singapore was used to travel 18,600 km in a year (LTA2,0002,5003,0003,5004,0004,500Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May. Jun. Jul. Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov.Car Quota05,00010,00015,00020,00025,00030,00035,000COE Price(S$)Quota (cars)Weighed Price Figure 1. Quota and COE prices for cars in 2003 (Source: One.Motoring 2003).1761996). On the positive side, the trac congestion seems to be containedbecause of the nite demand for travel on roads, based roughly on a 3%annual growth in number of vehicles and road length (LTA 1996). Menonet al. (1993) showed that with the increase in vehicle numbers, the tracinbound and outbound of the CBD in Singapore stayed about the same.Looking at the same phenomena, Foo (1998) concluded that without VQSthe trac volumes would have been much higher in the CBD.6.2. Congestion pricingCongestion pricing offers an effective means of inuencing travel behaviourin congested areas. In Singapore, congestion pricing is a scheme to provide adisincentive to drivers by imposing usage fees that varies depending onlocation and time. By doing so, it encourages travelers to shift their travel tooff-peak periods, travel routes to less congested routes and travel modes topublic transport. The price makes motorists more aware of the true cost ofthe congestion imposed on the living environment, hence motivating them toconsciously plan their trips or consider alternatives to travel.Depending on methods and scope, congestion pricing can be employed inthree ways: facility pricing, regional network pricing and cordon pricing. TheERP system in Singapore is a cordon pricing system in which vehicles arecharged on entering the CBD, or designated restricted zone, during hours ofcongestion, or designated restricted hours. Prices may vary with the time ofday, by vehicle categories, on the grounds that it motivates effective use oftransport facilities. However the system tends to induce a spilling effect oftrafc into the neighbourhood areas which have no charges, and create bot-tleneck at gantries where vehicles enter and exit the area. Menon and Lam(1992) compared the trac condition between a bypass ring road and amajor arterial road (within the restricted zone) connected to the ring roadduring the restricted hour (7.308.30 am). Volume to capacity ratio duringthe periods of comparison was about 50% for the major arterial road whilethe bypass ring road was saturated with trafc. The average speed of trafcwas 31 km/h inside the restricted area, whereas it was 19 km/h for nearbyareas outside the restricted area. The spilling effect was clearly seen fromthese observations.The ERP system was evolved from a manual system, called the ManualRoad Pricing System (RPS), or the Area licensing scheme in its earliestform, since 1975. Menon et al. (1993) gave a detailed review of this develop-ment. The ALS worked by managing the four major components: area(restricted zone, or RZ), time (restricted hours, or RH), vehicles (restrictedvehicles) and charges (ALS fees). The RZ, which is essentially the CBD area,177covered an area of about 610 ha initially and 710 ha by 1986 when the sys-tem stabilized. The RH was originally the 7:3010:15 am period, which wasthen extended to cover both morning and evening (4:306:30 pm) period.The restricted vehicles were originally cars and taxis. All vehicles exceptscheduled buses were included after 1989. The charges, the ALS fees, rangedfrom $1 to $6 depending upon the types of vehicles and the requirements ofthe scheme.The ALS was very successful in reducing trafc ow, thereby relievingtrafc congestion in the restricted areas. Trafc ow during peak hours hadfallen by 44.5%, including a dramatic decline of 70% in the number of carsentering the CBD right after the imposition of charges (Menon et al., 1993).Even after more than 10 years operations in 1989 and despite an increase ofmore than 30% in employment with the RZ at that time, the total inboundtrac during the RH remained below 70% of the 1975 pre-ALS level. Theobserved average speed inside the RZ was 33 kilometres per hour (km/h) inthe morning and 32 km/h in the evening, in 1990, which showed a 30%increase alone in the evening travel speed. In terms of modal split, the shareof transit modes in work trips to RZ increased from 33% to 69% in 1983.This composition has remained roughly the same since then. Menon andLam (1992) reported that the total cost (without adjusting for ination) overthe 14 year period from 1975 to 1989 was about S$16.6 million (of which 6.6millions were the total capital costs), while the total revenue was over S$150millions during the same period.In 1995, the RPS was initiated to relieve morning peak-hour congestionon expressways in the direction going to the CBD area. In 1997, road pric-ing charges were started on the East Coast Parkway (ECP) and subsequentlyextended to the Central Tunnel Expressways (CTE) and PIEs. The chargeswere relatively low with fees of S$0.50 for motorcycles and S$1.00 for othertypes of vehicles, but applicable only for the period between 7.30 and 8.30am on working days (Menon & Lam 2000). The scheme achieved a consider-able reduction in trac volume by 40% while the average speed increasedsignicantly, from 40 to 67 km per hour. It was subsequently extended intime and scope to other expressways near downtown Singapore.ERP came into operation in April 1998, based on a pay-per-use principle.It covered all the areas which had previously been covered by ALS andRPS, then extended to bottlenecks on other expressways and major roadswhich suffer severe congestion. The system operates at 29 gantries in the pre-vious ALS and 12 gantries at expressways and major roads that have con-gestion problems (Menon 2002). The system is exible since charges dependon location, vehicle type and the time of day. The charges are set higherduring busy periods and lower outside those periods and are reviewed every178three months based on the levels of services observed on the roads. Theprinciple in reviewing the ERP rates is based on the information obtainedfrom speed-ow relationships on Singapore roads. It was determined fromthis information that the optimum speed range in roads within CBD shouldbe between 20 and 30 km/h, while that on expressways should be 4565 km/h (Chin 2002). The ERP rates are revised downward once the road speedsremain at or above the upper bound of the speed range, indicating thatmore vehicles should be attracted to use the respective roads. In August2005, the ERP was for the rst time in its history extended in order to man-age the outbound CBD trac in the evenings. The trac on the usually con-gested Northbound CTE during evening periods was relieved due to an S$1charge after 1 weeks operation.7. Improvement and regulation of public transportPublic transport is the backbone of Singapores land transport system. Pol-icy on public transport systems determines that the operating companiesmaintain full recovery of operating costs and depreciation, while the capitalinvestment in infrastructure, rolling stock and equipment, are carried by thegovernment. Commuters are given a wide range of choices in terms ofmodes of travel. Normally a journey on transit comprises more than onemode bus, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and LRT. These are also themodes that constitute a multi-modal transit system in Singapore. Run bytwo competing multi-modal transit operators, the development of a multi-modal transit system is the result of the careful planning and regulating oftransit services in Singapore.7.1. Multi-modal transit systems in SingaporeThe multi-modal transit systems in Singapore consist of four major systems:Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), LRT, buses and taxis, operated by two majormulti-modal transit operators. Currently, out of a total of 7.7 million tripsmade each day, about 60% of the daily journeys are made using the multi-modal transit system (MOT 2002). The long term plan is to increase theshare to 75% through expansion of the network and service (LTA 1996). Inthe rail transit master plan by LTA, as shown in Figure 2, the MRT serviceswill provide the major trunk services, while LRT and buses will function asfeeder modes in the integrated and multi-modal transit system envisaged.The planning models of the rapid transit services estimate that they willserve mainly medium to long distance journeys, while LRT and buses willfacilitate the short journeys to home.179On the road system, buses and taxis supplement the rapid transit systemnetwork and provide an alternative means of travel. Currently, there are twomajor operators of the bus services, SBS Transit and Trans Island Bus Ser-vices (TIBS), with a total eet size of about 3800 buses (SBS: 2602 buses andTIBS: 787 buses). The two companies operate a total of 282 trunk and fee-der services (SBS: 172 routes and TIBS: 56 routes). Each day there are about3.2 million bus passengers, of which 75% use SBS services. The total one-way route length is 3579 km, of which SBS Transit operates 2535 km andTIBS operates 1044 km (PTC 2003). The bus services are required to satisfythe Basic Bus Service Specications and Standards (PTC 2003), which regu-lates the directness, accessibility, route length, headways, bus loading, hoursof operations, aordability, route information, and bus timing. In the devel-opment of a multi-modal transit system, the role of the buses is set to com-plement the rapid transit systems. In places where there is no rapidtransport, trunk bus services will ll the gap.Bus operations in Singapore are generally safe, reliable, efcient and com-fortable, and these are the main objectives of governing how the services areoperated. In 2002, bus services carried about 40% of the total journeys towork in the modal split (MOT 2002). In line with the policy on the publictransport system, the bus service strives to maintain protability in majorroutes while cross subsidizing less protable routes. Buses enjoy partialFigure 2. The backbone of the multi-modal transit system in Singapore the planned and exist-ing MRT network (Source: LTA (2002b)).180exemption from road tax payments on their vehicles and ERP charges. Buslanes are provided in some particularly heavily utilized routes and buseshave priorities at certain trac junctions. Trac lights with B-signals havebeen installed at selected junctions to give buses an early start and late cut-o. In 2002, the bus system, operated by two private companies, had a totalof 261 lines served by about 3400 buses during the regular schedule (MOT2003). The services include trunk, feeder and express services, supplementedby a Bus Plus scheme which provides minibus services during peak hours.Special night buses for commuters who travel after the normal services arealso available. They normally run along the MRT lines.The Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT) consists of three main lines: theEastWest, the NorthEast and the NorthSouth lines of a total length of111 km, of which 39 km are underground. There are 65 stations, of which 31stations are underground, 33 stations are elevated and 1 station is at groundlevel (Statistics Singapore 2002). The system serves about 1.2 million passen-gers a day (MOT 2003). The MRT network is a conventional, electricallydriven railway system, which provides a high frequency trunk service andrepresents the backbone of the land transport system. Figure 2 illustrates theexisting MRT network. The North East Line (NEL) was opened in June 2003and has added an additional 20 km to the network length. The lines radiatefrom the centre of the city to facilitate travel on the major corridors from allcorners of the island. By 2010 the rail network will be expanded to 100 kmwith the completion of phases 1 and 2 of the Circle Line, which will surroundthe island and intersect with all the radial lines at mid-point stations. This willgreatly enhance the connectivity and accessibility of the system. In the longerterm, plans exist to expand the rail system to 160 km within 1015 years.The MRT system is complemented by LRT systems at various residentialtownships as feeder services to enhance the accessibility of the rail network.The system, 7.8 km long with 14 stations, is driverless, operating at 3 min-interval during peak hours (Statistics Singapore 2002), provides accessible ser-vices to residents along its route by having stations close to peoples homes.In 2003, there were a total of two lines in operation, one in construction and anumber of other lines at the planning stage. By 2006, there will be a total ofthree LRT lines in operation and they are in new towns such as Bukit Panj-ang, Sengkang and Punggol, with a total length of 27 km.Singapore currently has a total taxi population of approximately 19,000vehicles operated by 4 taxi companies: Comfort Transportation, City Cab,TIBS and the Yellow-Top. Almost all the taxis are equipped withGPS-based automated dispatching systems which keep track, monitor andnavigate the vehicles (MOT 2003). With total daily trips of about 580,000,the taxi service in Singapore plays an important role in providing rapid,181convenient and personal transport for middle and upper income groups,compatible with other high-income countries. As an important exible meansof transport, taxis bridge the gap between public and private transport.7.2. Multi-modal transit system integrationThe multi-modal transit systems are not planned and operated as individualsystems. They are integrated to facilitate the convenience and efciency oftravel using multiple modes, which have become the norm for transit travel-ling in Singapore. The ultimate goal is to enhance the integration betweendifferent systems in a seamless manner. This can only be achieved by carefulconsideration of infrastructure integration and most importantly of the inte-gration of the services.In Singapore, the forms of integration can be classied into three maincategories: basic connectivity, establishment of transit place, and creation ofa destination (Tong 2002). To provide for basic connectivity, stations areconnected with other developments and/or other forms of transit to provideshielded access in all weather conditions. The establishment of a transit placeis through the integration of amenities within the premises of transit sta-tions, for example, the Woodlands interchange with a three-level design tofacilitate the transfers between MRT, buses, cars and taxis, as shown inFigure 3. For a multi-modal transit station to become a destination, it needsto be integrated with the developments such that it forms an integral part ofthe developments, which in fact becomes a transport-integrated property(Tong 2002). An example of this can be found in Novena station, as shownin Figure 4, which shows the integrated development of the stations within aFigure 3. A vertically integrated interchange The Woodland Interchange (Source: Tong 2002).182commercial and oce development. There are two other similar develop-ments at Toa Payoh and Sengkang interchanges. When a transit stationbecomes a destination, the implication for the modelling process is that tripswill be attracted to the destination, which is itself a station.The facilities provided to facilitate integration include bus interchanges, busshelters, covered linkways, taxi shelters, passenger pick-up and drop-offpoints, pedestrian underpasses, overhead bridges, and bicycle stands.The main strategies for achieving a multi-modal transit system can besummarized as follows (Segaram 1994; Konopatzki 2002; Tong 2002):(i) Institutional integration: It was rst achieved through the formation ofTransitLink, which is an inter-agency organization to facilitate the inte-gration of services by dierent companies. The second major step is theformation of a Land Transport Authority, which integrates all relevantareas in land transportation. The third major step is the formation ofmulti-modal transit operators, for example, the merger between the Sin-gapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) and TIBS that gave birth to therst multi-modal transit operator in Singapore in 2001. The contract tomaintain and operate the NES and Punggol and Sengkang LRT wasawarded to the Singapore Bus Services (SBS) as an initiative to speed upthe transformation of uni-modal transportation operators into multi-modal ones in order to achieve the vision of seamless connection with amulti-modal network. Figure 2 shows the service coverage of SBS Tran-sit and SMRT/TIBS.(ii) Physical integration: This includes providing infrastructure to facilitatethe transfers between dierent modes of transit: for example, the verticalFigure 4. The Novena station (Source: Tong 2002).183integration of MRT stations and bus interchanges; integration of stationswith commercial and oce developments; or simply by providing cov-ered linkways.(iii) Fare integration: Since 1986, the TransitLink fare card has been themain mode of fare payment for both MRT and bus services. Fares onmulti-modal trips involving both bus and MRT can receive discounts,which are given to the commuters using the fare card in the form ofrebates at each transaction. In 2002, the contactless smart card: EZLink, was launched. The EZ Link speeds up the payment of multi-mod-al transit services when passengers board the vehicle. The convenienceof using the EZ Link card has rapidly made it the major mode of pay-ment, replacing the fare card.(iv) Network integration: The rst stage of network integration is achievedthrough the integration of the MRT-bus network, due to the duplicationof services oered to the public since the operation of MRT during thelate 1980s. The second stage of integration follows the formation of thetwo multi-modal transit operators, whence integration between rail lines,bus routes and rail lines becomes a reality. This allows the transit systemintegration to be expanded into the integration of services. Already, themerged SMRT and TIBS are in the process of integrating their services.Since the operations of the NES in 2003, the SBS Transit has been inthe process of planning for service integration in their service areas inthe northeast corridor of Singapore.7.3. Regulation of the multi-modal transitPublic transport in Singapore is regulated to ensure that the commuters canhave their demand for services met in terms of spatial and temporal cover-age, affordable fares, efcient and high levels of services, and choices for tra-vel, while maintaining a competitive market condition for differentoperators. The public transport council (PTC) takes charge of the regulationof the routes and fares of the public transport services. The bus services arerequired to satisfy the standards and specications, cover route planning anddesign efciency of service, operating hours, affordability and service infor-mation, as set by the PTC (MOT 2003). Operations audits are carried outannually to check on the compliancy bus services with these standards. Thelatest round of audit shows that both bus operators are able to satisfy therequirements more than 95% of the time in mandatory standards, althoughit was found that during peak periods over capacity and delays were commonin certain services (PTC 2003). The audit also shows some general character-istics and performance indicators of bus services in Singapore, as shown in184Table 1. In terms of competition between operators, currently they operatein geographic areas that are largely not completely overlapping, while theremay be certain corridors that both the operators serve. Since transit pricesare regulated, the competition between operators is mainly in terms of thelevel of their services, in both MRT and buses, e.g., between a trunk bus ser-vice with an MRT line operated by dierent operators. This situation mightchange when, in the near future, there will be more MRT lines operated byboth operators and more overlapping service areas as a result.In an effort to make the public transit services affordable to the generalpublic, the public transport infrastructure, as mentioned before, is fundedentirely by the Singapore Government (PTC 2003). This is in addition to theexemption that public buses receive in terms of COE payment and ERPcharges. The operators only need to invest for their operating and mainte-nance, as well as in service improvements. As a result of this policy, publictransit operators have been able to maintain their protability and provideaordable services to the public at the same time. Nevertheless, the transitfares are reviewed annually to allow operators to keep up with ination andthe need for service improvements. A CPI+X formula has been used toconsider the fare-hike requests by operators. The CPI+X formularequires that the annual transit fare increases should not be more than thechange in consumer price index (CPI) plus X, which is a small percentage toaccount for the cost factors aecting fares, e.g., wages. X has been set to 1.5Table 1. General characteristics and performance indicators of bus services in Singapore(Source: PTC (2003)).Route planningand designsDirect connections from HDB estates to CBD,nearby townsAccessibility At least one bus stop every 400 mTrunk services for every 30003500 dwelling unitsDirect connection from each HDB neighborhood toMRT stationsBi-directional feeder servicesMaximum walking distances of 150 m to MRT stations ora major transfer stop from bus stopsRoute length Maximum 20% of the services with round trip distance above 50 kmMaximum 5% of the routes are more than 60 kmHeadways Minimum 70% of trunk services with morning headways less than10 min; 100% of residential feeder services with peak headwaysless than 10 minSchedule adherence 84% of the services with 80% of the headways within 5 min of thescheduled headwaysMaximum load The licenced capacities of trunk services are less than 80% utilizedwhile those of feeder services are less than 90% utilized at alltime periods185for years 20012005 (PTC 2003). In 2004, the maximum fares for varioustransit services are shown in Table 2.To examine the affordability of transit fares, one can consider a typicalcommuting trip which involves a transfer of bus to MRT of average length.The average fare for such journey would cost about S$0.63 (Feeder) +S$1.34 (MRT) ) S$0.25 (transfer rebate), which is about S$1.72. Assumingsimilar returned trip costs and ve working days a week, the total cost forwork trips for an adult is about S$68.8 per month. The overall monthlyaverage earning per working person was about S$3605 in 2003 (SingaporeStatistics 2004a). The cost for average commuting work trips using transit isless than 2% of the monthly earning of an individual. This indicates thatpublic transit in Singapore is aordable to most of its working population.This is in contrast to an overall average of 22.8% expenditure on transporta-tion and communication, as reported in Singapore Statistics (2004b), in1998. The comparison illustrates the eects of policies on vehicle ownershipand usage, as discussed in previous sections.8. ConclusionsSingapore has a sophisticated and efcient system of land transport to servea growing demand for transportation. Constrained by a limited physicalspace, a comprehensive set of land transport policy has been in place to bal-ance the growth in transport demand and the effectiveness and efciency ofthe land transport system. In this paper, the land transport policy of a mul-ti-pronged approach to achieve the objectives of a world-class transportationsystem has been discussed. The policy includes integration of urban andtransport planning, expansion of road network and improvement of trans-port infrastructure, harnessing the latest technology in network and trafcmanagement, managing vehicle ownership and usage, and improvement andregulation of public transport (MOT 2003).The effects of the comprehensive set of policies are evidenced in the levelof performances achieved on Singapore roads and public transportationTable 2. Transit fares (in S$) (Source: PTC (2003)) (Numbers within parenthesis are fares onair-conditioned buses).Type of services EZ Link fare (in S$)Maximum AverageTrunk bus services 1.28 (1.53) 0.98 (1.23)Feeder bus services 0.58 (0.63) 0.58 (0.63)MRT 1.69 1.34LRT 0.84 0.74186systems. The other approaches taken in the development of public transportinclude the development of a seamlessly integrated multi-modal transitsystem which is aimed at serving a growing number of commuters. The fourmajor forms of integration have been discussed in this paper. In addition tothe investments in transport infrastructure and improvement in transitservices, the transit operators are regulated to ensure that the services areaffordable and sufcient, and choices are available, for the public.In conclusion, Singapores experience in developing and implementing itsland transport policy over the past 30 years has been a successful and ratherunique case in Asia. The innovative and bold approach in formulating poli-cies, the determination to implement them, and the exibility to change inresponse to a variety of circumstances, are important factors that lead tosuch success.ReferencesChin A & Smith P (1997) Automobile ownership and government policy: the economics ofSingapores Vehicle Quota Scheme. Transportation Research A 31(2): 129140.Chin KK (2002) Road Pricing Singapore Experience. The third seminar of the IMPRINT-EUROPE Thematic Network: Implementing Reform on Transport Pricing: Constraints andSolutions: Learning from Best Practice, Brussels, Belgium, Available:, Date of Access: 4/5/2003.Foo TS (1998) A unique demand management instrument in urban transport: the Vehicle QuotaSystem in Singapore. Cities 15(1): 2739.Konopatzki (2002) SMRTs role in integration and multimodal transportation in Singapore.Institution of Engineers Singapore Journal 42(3): 3741.Land Transport Authority (LTA) (1996) White Paper: A World Class Land Transport System,Republic of Singapore: Published by Land Transport Authority (LTA).Land Transport Authority (LTA) (1998) The Land Transport Authority (Singapore) Annual Report19971998, p 14.Land Transport Authority (LTA) (2002a) The Land Transport Authority (Singapore) AnnualReport, 20002001, Available:, Date of Access: 14 Sep 2002.Land Transport Authority (LTA) (2002b) The Land Transport Authority (Singapore), Available:, Date of Access: 14 Sep 2002.LTA (2004) Control of Private Vehicles in Urban Areas, WIDE initiative Technical Cooperationamong Developing Countries, United Nation Development Programme, Available:, Date of Access: 15 April 2004.Menon APG & Lam SH (1992) Singapores Road Pricing System: 19751989, Research ReportNTU/CTS/92-2. (p.24), Singapore: Centre for Transportation Studies, Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity.Menon APG & Lam SH (2000) Singapores Road Pricing System: January 1994 to September 1998,Research Report NTU/CTS/00-05. (p.34), Singapore: Centre for Transportation Studies,Nanyang Technological University.Menon APG, Lam SH & Fan HSL (1993) Singapores Road Pricing System: its past, present andfuture. ITE Journal 4448.Menon G (2002) Travel Demand Management in Singapore Why Did It Work? Available:,Date of Access: 22 September 2002.187Ministry of Transport (MOT) (2002) Facts and Statistics, Available:, Dateof Access: 14 Sep 2002.Ministry of Transport (MOT) (2003) Policy and Regulations: Land Transport, Available:, Date of Access: 15 September 2003.One.Motoring (2003) COE Open Bidding System, Available:,Date of Access: 15 November 2003.Phang SY (1993) Singapores Motor Vehicle Policy: review of recent changes and a suggestedalternative. Transportation Research A 27: 329336.Public Transport Council (PTC) (2003) Annual Report 2002/2003. 51 p.Segaran CS (1994) An Integrated Public Land Transport System for Singapore. Journal of theInstitution of Engineers, Singapore 34(2): 1423.Statistics Singapore (2002) Singapore Transport Statistics, Available:, Date of Access: 30 December 2002.Statistics Singapore (2004a) Singapore Labour and Productivity Statistics (2003 Fourth Quarter),, Date of Access: 30 April 2004.Statistics Singapore (2004b) Key Indicators of Singapore Household Expenditure Surveys 19781998,, Date of Access: 30 April 2004.Tong CV 2002 The Integration of Commuter Facilities at Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Stations,Proceedings of the International Conference on Seamless and Sustainable Transport, Singapore:Centre for Transportation Studies, Nanyang Technological University.URA (2003) Master Plan 2003, Available:,date of access: 15 November 2003.Wilber Smith and Associates (1974) Singapore Mass Transit Study, Phase I Final Report.Singapore: Wilbur Smith and Associates.About the authorsDr. Soi Hoi Lam is currently an Associate Professor in Transportation and Logisticsat the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nanyang TechnologicalUniversity, Singapore. He received his Masters degree and Ph.D. (1992) from theUniversity of Texas at Austin.Trinh Dinh Toan was born in 1963 in Vietnam. He received his B.S. degree inHighway Engineering at the University of Transportation in 1985 in Hanoi, aPostgraduate Diploma in International Highway Engineering in the UK, 1997, and aMasters Degree in Infrastructure Planning in Germany, 1999. He is now a Ph.D.candidate in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.188 /ColorImageDict > /JPEG2000ColorACSImageDict > /JPEG2000ColorImageDict > /AntiAliasGrayImages false /DownsampleGrayImages true /GrayImageDownsampleType /Bicubic /GrayImageResolution 150 /GrayImageDepth -1 /GrayImageDownsampleThreshold 1.50000 /EncodeGrayImages true /GrayImageFilter /DCTEncode /AutoFilterGrayImages true /GrayImageAutoFilterStrategy /JPEG /GrayACSImageDict > /GrayImageDict > /JPEG2000GrayACSImageDict > /JPEG2000GrayImageDict > /AntiAliasMonoImages false /DownsampleMonoImages true /MonoImageDownsampleType /Bicubic /MonoImageResolution 600 /MonoImageDepth -1 /MonoImageDownsampleThreshold 1.50000 /EncodeMonoImages true /MonoImageFilter /CCITTFaxEncode /MonoImageDict > /AllowPSXObjects false /PDFX1aCheck false /PDFX3Check false /PDFXCompliantPDFOnly false /PDFXNoTrimBoxError true /PDFXTrimBoxToMediaBoxOffset [ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 ] /PDFXSetBleedBoxToMediaBox true /PDFXBleedBoxToTrimBoxOffset [ 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 ] /PDFXOutputIntentProfile (None) /PDFXOutputCondition () /PDFXRegistryName ( /PDFXTrapped /False /Description >>> setdistillerparams> setpagedevice


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