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BUDGET 2017

A smarter, greener transport system on the way for Singapore

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In his speech at the Committee of Supply Debate, Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng said big data and analytics will be used to improve train reliability as well as help public bus operators to track the location of their buses.

Singapore

SINGAPORE will make its transport system smarter and cleaner.

In his speech at the Committee of Supply Debate, Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng said big data and analytics will be used to improve train reliability as well as help public bus operators to track the location of their buses.

And with more comprehensive traffic data, traffic flow will be smoothened.

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He said: "In time to come, we will be able to integrate private-transport data as well. Using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology and through the in-vehicle units installed in all vehicles in Singapore, we will get aggregated, comprehensive and real-time data on road traffic."

Traffic flow will improve as motorists are provided with access traffic data that will help them to decide on the fastest or least congested route. It will also enable the traffic-light system to respond more intelligently and optimally to different traffic conditions.

Mr Ng added that the next-generation Electronic Road Pricing System, to be rolled out progressively from 2020 and which is based on GNSS technology, will enable the collection of comprehensive, real-time, aggregated traffic data and disseminate this directly to motorists.

"This information will also help LTA develop a more accurate picture of the real-time traffic situation and intervene where necessary, such as by adjusting traffic-light timings and providing traffic-light priority for buses."

Turning to taxis and the private-car hire industry, Mr Ng said mobile technology is another key enabler for the transport sector, and is benefiting commuters tremendously.

With competition, taxi services have improved; taxi companies are rethinking their business models, with some lowering rental rates and introducing innovative rental schemes.

"More recently, they have proposed dynamic pricing as another option for booked trips. This is similar to the way fares for private-hire car services are determined."

This is even as taxi companies are expected to retain the traditional metered-fare system.

But Mr Ng added that ultimately, taxi companies should ensure that dynamic pricing improves, and not worsens the matching of supply to demand.

Given the different roles of taxi and private-hire car services, he said some differentiation in privileges and regulations will be maintained for now.

One is to continue to allow only taxis to serve the street-hail market; another is the COE concessions cabs enjoy.

"They pay the Category A Prevailing Quota Premium, even though many taxis are larger Category B vehicles. So while we try to ensure that competition is fair, it is not always possible or desirable to impose the exact same regulations on both sectors."

Overall, greener transport is a priority. Mr Ng said: "By procuring buses which meet more stringent emission standards, we have already been greening our mostly diesel-powered fleet."

A trial for electric buses is ongoing. The Land Transport Authority will be calling tenders to procure 50 hybrid buses and 60 electric buses this year, with three bus services to be fully served by electric buses.

Ending his speech, Mr Ng said: "Our future transport system will be one that is smarter, greener and more inclusive. We aim to give every Singaporean a variety of mobility options to meet different needs at different times, and at different stages of their lives."

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