Towards a smarter, greener, and more inclusive public transport system

Big data, analytics to help make Singapore’s transport system smarter.

08 Mar 2017

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) shared its plans on how it will make Singapore’s future transport system smarter, greener, and more inclusive at the Committee of Supply Debate on Wednesday, 8th March.

Speaking in Parliament, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan described the transport sector as “a crucible of innovation … ripe for disruption and transformation”. Elaborating on this, Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng explained how the ministry will help make Singapore’s transport system smarter by leveraging big data, mobile technology, and automation.


Improving rail reliability: MOT will use big data and analytics to improve train reliability. This will be achieved through the deployment of condition monitoring tools on trains and equipment to collect data more extensively and on a real-time basis. All 66 new trains for the North-South East-West Lines and the new power supply system will be equipped with monitoring sensors. A new-generation Automatic Train Inspection System for the Downtown Line will also be deployed to detect faults early.

Predictive rail maintenance: A proactive, predictive approach will be adopted for rail maintenance. The Government will be building an integrated asset management database to better monitor and predict the health of the rail network and its components.

Public transport analytics: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is building an analytics system which merges data from various sources such as fare cards, Wi-Fi, CCTV systems and cellular networks. This will allow the LTA to better model commuter flows, improve planning, and respond more effectively to ground developments. In future, private transport data could be integrated into the system as well.


With the rise in popularity of apps like Grab and Uber, the Government will continue to have a light-touch approach as it has served commuters well. To protect commuters’ interests, private hire car drivers will be required to obtain a vocational license from July 2017. To get the licence, drivers must undergo relevant training, pass requisite tests, and be subject to background and medical checks.


As part of a shift towards a greener public bus fleet, the LTA will be expanding its trial of electric and hybrid buses. A tender to procure 50 hybrid buses and 60 electric buses will be called this year.


The future transport system will be more inclusive, designed to serve the needs of vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities, families with young children, and an ageing population.

Audio announcements: The LTA will be including an audio announcement as part of an enhancement to the new passenger information display system being trialled on Service 106.

Collaboration with SG Enable: The LTA will collaborate with SG Enable to ‘adopt’ Redhill MRT station, the station nearest to the Enabling Village. The station will be a test-bed for new mobility technologies and infrastructure designs.

Public transport accessibility: From 2 April, families will be allowed to board public buses with open strollers, making it more convenient for families travelling with young children. More lifts will also be installed on pedestrian overhead bridges, with another 24 to be completed by end-2018.


Mr Khaw also shared how his ministry is moving towards a “car-lite” Singapore, as well as updates on the public transport situation in Singapore.

Model walking and cycling town: Tampines Town will be the second model walking and cycling town, with design work beginning soon. The Government will provide trunk cycling routes connecting Tampines to neighbouring towns and major employment centres.

Raising reliability standards: The objective measure for train reliability – Mean Kilometres Between Failure (MKBF) – will have its standard raised from 200,000 train-km to 300,000 train-km this year. In 2018, it will be raised to 400,000 train-km.

Bukit Panjang LRT: A tender will be called this year for a complete replacement of its components and an upgrade to its systems.

Bus Contracting Model: The tender for the fourth package at Bukit Merah will be called later this year.

Public transport Fare formula: The current fare formula, which will expire after the 2017 fare exercise, will be reviewed by the independent Public Transport Council.