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Next-generation ERP in action from 2020

THE next-generation Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system will be operational from 2020 at a cost of S$556 million.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced on Thursday that it has awarded the tender to develop the new ERP system, based on Global Navigation Satellite System technology, to the consortium of NCS Pte Ltd and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engine System Asia Pte Ltd - one of three consortia which bid for the contract.

The next-generation ERP system will replace the current system, which is more than 17 years old and faces obsolescence without a costly upgrade.

It will allow for more flexibility in managing traffic congestion through distance-based road pricing without the need for physical gantries.

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Motorists will be charged according to the distance travelled on congested roads, which the LTA said will be fairer to users.

Because the high-tech ERP system harnesses satellite tracking and the 4G cellular network, it has other capabilities such as traffic information collection and dissemination, automatic payment for Off Peak Car use, paperless roadside parking, and the payment of checkpoint tolls for local motorists.

"Since introduction, the road pricing system has been effective in managing traffic congestion,'' said LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong. "The next-generation road pricing system will allow us to improve on this, with greater flexibility.''

With the new system, the current IU or In-Vehicle Unit will be replaced by a new smartphone-sized On-Board Unit (OBU). The final design of the OBU is still being worked out but it will have a bigger display.

It will take a Cepas stored value card but also allow for backend payment alternatives like credit/debit cards or Giro.

The government will bear the one-time IU replacement costs for Singapore-registered vehicles.

To ensure a seamless transition between old and new ERP systems, the LTA said there will be an 18-month switchover period, with the new system expected to be implemented progressively from 2020.

Mr Chew said the road pricing policy will remain the same during the changeover.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engine System Asia developed and implemented the current ERP system in 1998, while NCS has been maintaining it. Together, they submitted a proposal with the highest quality score and lowest bid price among the three participating consortia, according to the LTA.

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