Land Transport Authority (LTA) is expecting to create up to 8,000 new public transport jobs by 2030 to support the expansion of public bus and rail networks to meet Singapore’s future needs, as well as set aside $25 million over five years for the Land Transport Innovation Fund to spur innovation and collaborative projects with industry partners to further encourage mobility-related research and technology trials.
Co-ordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, launched the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) on Monday (12 February), which serves as the blueprint for growing and transforming the land transport industry into one that is enabled by technology and a highly competent workforce.
Developed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in close consultation with union and industry partners, the minister stressed that the ITM ensures that the land transport industry and its workers continue to stay relevant despite long-term challenges such as an ageing population as well as land and fiscal constraints.
ITM is also said to be responsive to disruptive technologies such as Autonomous Vehicles (AVs), Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, and harnesses their transformative potential as an opportunity to enhance the land transport system and create even better jobs for the industry.
According to the authority, about 123,000 people work in the land transport industry – this includes bus captains, bus mechanics, customer service officers, railway engineers, station managers, as well as taxi and private hire car drivers currently.
It noted that of that number, more than 21,000 are employed by the rail and public bus sectors to support the 5 million daily commuter journeys on public transport.
LTA stressed that it will work closely with its union and industry partners on initiatives that support the growth in public transport jobs. For example, LTA will carry out industry manpower planning to identify employment opportunities and formulate targeted workforce interventions, as well as partnering with the industry to provide more enhanced and structured internships for students from Institutes of Higher Learning to attract, identify and manage the growing pipeline of talent.
It will also continue to develop the capabilities of the workforce, particularly through up-skilling and re-skilling of its public transport workers.
"To ensure that these workers can keep pace with industry developments, the Singapore Bus Academy and Singapore Rail Academy will offer new programmes mapped against the soon-to-be-launched Public Transport Skills Framework (PTSF). In addition, more Professional Conversion Programmes will be developed to equip mid-career switchers with the relevant competencies to pursue a successful career in the land transport industry," the authority said.
Through the Land Transport ITM, LTA stated that it will harness technology and innovation to improve productivity for our land transport workers and deliver a transport system that is safe, efficient, reliable and comfortable for commuters. For instance, the use of smart sensors and data analytics to monitor the status of railway systems for predictive maintenance will enable railway engineers to be more productive in work, which translates into a smoother and more reliable ride for commuters.
It said that LTA is also actively exploring how the use of automation and AVs can be applied in our land transport system to improve efficiency, reduce human error and deliver better services. For example, the introduction of robots and drones to inspect MRT and road tunnels will reduce the need for tedious manual inspections and free engineers to focus on analysing the data captured.
"Moving forward, LTA expects the continuous adoption of technology and innovative solutions to play an integral part in the land transport industry’s development," the authority added.
LTA’s Chief Executive Mr Ngien Hoon Ping said, "In developing the Land Transport ITM, LTA has consulted and engaged union and industry partners extensively. The close tripartite partnership we have built lays the foundation for the successful transformation of the land transport industry."
"Together, I am confident that we can implement our ITM well. With the Land Transport Innovation Fund, I hope to see even more innovative solutions emerge to shape the transport of tomorrow," he added.