Transport: Overcoming Constraints, Sustaining Mobility (Revised)


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Singapore’s transport policies have moved in tandem with the city’s development. At one level, this can be seen as a linear progression in transport infrastructure, from “mosquito” buses and “pirate” taxis to a modern bus and train system. Seen in this light, the main policy challenge is the integrated planning and development of effective transport hardware and systems. At another level, transport is about meeting the mobility needs and social aspirations of individuals, as well as addressing negative externalities such as congestion and pollution.

This Urban Systems Study presents the dynamics, processes and institutional framework involved in resolving these issues. It also provides a historical account of transport policy changes in Singapore and highlights how dilemmas such as public versus private transport and transport versus other uses of land have resulted in systemic innovation over the years.

“We have only a limited amount of land on which to house our people, build factories, hospitals, roads and schools, and train the SAF. Therefore, we decided to give top priority to investments in public transport, and to put private transport in second place.” - Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew