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24 Oct 2017

Singapore cuts down on private vehicles even further

Singapore's attempts to keep its roads car-free

From February'18, Singapore will cap the number of vehicles on its roads. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has attributed the decision to scarcity of land and public transport upgrades.

The government is going to cut the annual growth rate for four- and two-wheelers from 0.25% to zero.

This isn't Singapore's first attempt at limiting private vehicles. It already has escalated costs of owning cars.

In context

Singapore's attempts to keep its roads car-free
Singapore's attempts at keeping its roads car-free


Singapore's attempts at keeping its roads car-free

Presently, car owners in Singapore have to bid for a Certificate of Entitlement that allows one to own and use a vehicle for a specific number of years.

Consequently, a mid-range car in Singapore ($90,000) costs four times more than in the US/UK ($24,000).

In contrast to average car ownership rates in the US (80%) and Europe (50%), Singapore's ownership rate stands at 11%.


But why is it making such policies?

Land is a precious commodity in Singapore. Perspective: India's population density (number of people per sq km) in 2016 was 445, while Singapore's was a whopping 7,909, according to the World Bank.

Roads take up about 12% of its total land area - a much higher percentage than bigger countries.

It has even exhumed lakhs of graves in cemeteries to make way for roads.

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To complement caps, a thrust to public transport

To deal with the issue, it has also focused on public transport. In six years, 41 train stations have been added, increasing its network by 30%. Now it is investing $14.9bn in new rail infrastructure, $4bn in upgradation of existing infrastructure, and $4bn in bus contracting subsidies.

How will the new cap impact cars?


How will the new cap impact cars?

The new zero-growth rate will apply to private cars and bikes in Categories A, B and D.

For goods vehicles and buses, the current rate of 0.25% will continue till March 2021 to give businesses time to shift operations to a new model.

As a result, about 1,500 new cars will be kept away from the roads.

The policy will be reviewed in 2020.

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