Professor Greg Marsden
Today was a chance to experience and hear about the Singapore experience with integrated transport. One of the main things that hits you when you get here is sheer volume of construction work on-going. The challenge for the Singapore Land Transport Authority is one of keeping their existing customers happy whilst catering for the growth.
One of our alumni Mr Tan Ban Cheng (Transport Planning and Engineering 1994) gave me a tour of the MRT and one of the LRT systems which feeds the North East Line. The pressure on land space makes for high densities anyway, but great attention to detail is given to building the initial infrastructure so it can take high rise development.
The system is very clean, well organised and efficient. Some interesting innovations are also going on around peak spreading (free travel for very early arrival and small discounts for shoulder of peak arrival at many stations). Despite this, issues such as overcrowding and occasional system failure and an increasingly vocal public mean that the new Master Plan has been developed to try and put customers more at its heart and to try and encourage more people to access the MRT by bike and walk.
I had a great walking tour with Ban Cheng in the evening and made a reasonable fist of eating my noodles with chopsticks. The picture below shows Ban Cheng outside the old GPO building. Whilst there were a few such buildings in that district, a 180 degree turn would have shown the Singaporean equivalent to Canary Wharf. Tomorrow concludes the visit with a presentation and discussions at the LTA Academy.