Busy road and city background during rush hour with motion-blurred vehicle, car in Singapore city highway from Shutterstock.com

In a press release on Friday (31 August), Land Transport Authority (LTA) stated that private vehicle journeys declined for the first time since 1997, even as total travel demand increased by 5 percent from HITS 2012 to 15.4 million journeys.

A record 6.1 million bus and rail journeys were made daily, based on the latest Household Interview Travel Survey conducted between 2016 and 2017 (“HITS 2016”).

“This points to a possible shift of Singapore residents switching from private vehicles to public transport for their daily commute,” it said.

LTA also noted that public transport peak period mode share recorded an increase from 63 percent to 67 percent, putting Singapore firmly on track to achieving our Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2013 target of having 75 percent of all journeys during peak hours made using public transport by 2030.

Conducted every four years, LTA stated that its HITS tracks the progress of various LTMP initiatives. The last LTMP was announced in October 2013 and the ensuing HITS survey was conducted between August 2016 and May 2017, with responses from a total of 45,000 participants.

According to the authority, with the opening of the Circle Line (CCL) and Downtown Line (DTL), and the addition of around 200 new trains to augment the capacity of our rail network, daily train journeys grew from 2.3 million in 2012 to 2.7 million in 2016.

It added that the number of daily bus journeys also grew from 3.2 million in 2012 to 3.4 million in 2016. This comes on the back of initiatives such as the $1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP), under which 1,000 new buses and 80 new bus routes were added.

By the time it was completed in 2017, the BSEP had boosted the capacity of about 70% of bus services through the deployment of higher-capacity buses and more frequent bus trips, it said, noting that the number of daily taxi and private hire car (PHC) journeys saw an increase from 0.8 million in 2012 to 1 million in 2016 due to the emergence of PHCs.

LTA then said that at the same time, the percentage of daily public bus and rail journeys under 20 km completed within 60 minutes increased from 76 percent in 2012 to 79 percent in 2016.

“This puts us well on track to achieving our LTMP 2013 target of having 85% of such journeys completed within 60 minutes by 2030,” it added.

The authority then said that the number of daily journeys made via privately owned vehicles fell for the first time since 1997 to 4.2 million, a 13 percent decrease from 4.8 million in HITS 2012.

Resident household car ownership also fell to 39 percent in HITS 2016, compared to 46 percent in HITS 2012, which coincided with significant improvements in public transport and the rise of the use of private hire cars instead of personal cars over the same period, the authority said.

It is said that the increase in the number of cycling towns, as well as the ongoing expansion of the network of sheltered walkways and cycling paths have helped make walking, cycling and the use of personal mobility devices (PMDs) viable modes for short journeys. According to LTA, daily active mobility journeys has increased to 2.6 million in HITS 2016, up from 2.2 million in HITS 2012.

“Our land transport system is an important economic and social enabler that contributes directly to Singaporeans’ daily lives. We have made good progress since LTMP 2013, and land transport plans must continue to adapt to meet the needs and aspirations of Singaporeans for a liveable city,” the authority stressed.

With this in mind, LTA stated that it will commence public consultations in September 2018 to help shape the next LTMP. The public, industry players and other stakeholders will be invited to share their views and ideas on the future of our land transport system.

LTA noted that public engagement will be done extensively, through a wide range of online platforms and focus group discussions.

From 31 August, LTA said that an e-poll will be put up on the LTA website to invite members of public to share their thoughts and aspirations on the various land transport issues.

“Those who are keen to come forward to share their vision can indicate their interest to participate in further engagements as part of their responses for the e-polls. We welcome feedback from everyone. All feedback received will go towards shaping the next LTMP,” the authority added.

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