Professor Greg Marsden
The final day of my visit was a series of stimulating discussions with staff at the Singapore Land Transport Authority Academy and the Authority itself. The Academy does a great job in training up leaders in the region in good implementation practice.
The context in different countries matters a lot but many of the problems are, at heart, the same. Three weeks ago in London at the TomTom UK traffic summit I chaired a discussion about the new shared mobility paradigm and the truly multi-modal traveler experience. You could argue Singapore is a lot further down the line to getting there… However, they face the same issue which is that we still plan and analyse transport systems on a modal basis and we aren’t good at putting together an understanding of end to end journey experience.
The system here is excellent. However, that doesn’t stop complaints – so apparently the better the quality of the system the higher the demands of the travelling public. That’s an interesting conundrum to solve. I wonder how much people are really prepared to pay for? The new Snap and Send system for people to send in geo-referenced pictures of potholes and other transport breakdowns is apparently very popular. A challenge to all local governments and transport operators to match!
We also discussed similarities and contrasts in the future mobility trends which are considered important in Singapore and Europe. An island state that does not have a car industry can take a much more dispassionate view about electric vehicles – although that doesn’t mean nothing is being done.
My final transport reflection is the renowned ERP system. The current cost of getting a vehicle license in the auction is around £35k and the purchase tax for the car is around 1.2 times the price of the vehicle. It is clearly a luxury purchase. So, whilst variable pricing is in play it must be to the most price insensitive people on the island for the most part. Despite the high costs the youth apparently still aspire to car ownership. Ouch!
The day ended with a lovely meeting with some of our alumni (pictured below). I taught Esther and Puteri – but it was great to have an opportunity to meet Sing who set up the ITS division in the LTA and is now chair of ITS Singapore. Ban Cheng was instrumental in organizing my visit and was a great help to me! There are lots of opportunities for ITS to do more with the LTA and the Academy so I hope this is the first of many visits by ITS staff.