News: Singapore’s public transport system still has room for improvement

Jun 3, 2019

While Singapore’s public transport system is considered as one of the most connected and most efficient, global policy experts believe that there are still areas that can be improved upon, including working with e-hailing platforms to integrate them into public transport systems. 

Offering one of the most connected and efficient transport systems in Asia, Singapore seems unstoppable in improving and simplifying connectivity across the island following the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) release of the Land Transport Plan 2040, reported Singapore Business Review.

But while the city-state’s public transport system has been ranked by a McKinsey study as the second best in the world, next to Hong Kong, global policy experts at the sidelines of this year’s International Transport Forum (ITF) believe that there are still some areas that Singapore could improve on to ensure commuters will have more comfortable travel.

The ITF 2019 was held at Leipzig, Germany on 22-24 May under the Korea Presidency.

Dr. Philipp Rode, executive director of LSE Cities and Urban Age from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), said Singapore should consider urban sustainability issues even as it is one of the pioneers in sustainable urban and transport planning.

“I think, even a place like Singapore needs to do much more in order to reduce carbon emissions, reduce the number of private vehicle use, increase the greening of buildings, the reduction of using conventional concrete steel sands, which are scarce resources we are running out,” explained Rode, who along with together LSE Cities policy fellow Catarina Heeckt, presented their study entitled “National Transport Policy and Cities: Key policy interventions to drive compact and connected urban growth.”

US-based think tank World Resources Institute (WRI) research director Dr. Anjali Mahendra noted that the city-state can also introduce regulations that could integrate ride-hailing platforms into public transport schemes, much like in Hamburg, Germany where an on-demand last mile carpooling service has virtual stops to fetch commuters and take them to train stations.

“Let the city [Singapore] have the public transport corridor, but maybe work in partnership,” said Mahendra, who discussed their study entitled “From Mobility to Access for All: Expanding Urban Transportation Choices in the Global South”.

“Maybe provide the access for disabled people, provide subsidised access for low income people, bringing them into the public transport system. So there is a way that cities can work in partnership with these private providers. And that needs to happen much more.”

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email

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