ERP conceived to remove cars from S’pore roads: 1996 Transport White Paper

It is one way to drive down the demand for private cars.

By Joshua Lee | November 8, 2017

News broke recently that the Singapore government is cutting car growth rate to zero, as part of the push towards a car-lite society.

LTA cuts vehicle growth rate to zero, public transport to step up

Plan to go car-lite proposed in 1996

A car-lite society isn’t new to Singapore. This vision was set out as early as 1996.

In the 1996 White Paper on “A World Class Land Transport System”, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) put forth that “public transport is and always will be the major mode of transport”, even proposing that 75 percent of all trips in Singapore would be made via public transport in the future.

via NAS

Various measures proposed

To that end, some of the measures (which we see today) proposed out in the 1996 White Paper included:

  • Faster bus services by implementing bus lanes and special Bus traffic lights (the ones that come with a ‘B’ signal).
  • Bus arrival timings to “consciously reduce the burden and anxiety of waiting for buses”. In fact, the Paper proposed having bus timings made available via Teleview, and telephone hotlines.
  • A high-speed rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Others, like the super ambitious Singapore Underground Road System (Surs) to ease road congestion was ultimately canned.

Surprisingly, there was also a plan to implement a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in Orchard and Marina South – which obviously didn’t make it.

This 1980s plan for sending S’pore motorists underground just got canned

Implementing ERP

In order to drive down demand for private cars, the White Paper also proposed the implementation of the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), calling it an efficient an equitable way of charging for road usage.

Here’s a prototype of the ERP seen in 1994.


You can check out more of the Transport White Paper here.

Top image via NAS

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