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Traffic Management Technologies

To help keep our roads congestion-free, besides regulating vehicle growth and promoting the use of public transport, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is also an important tool. Road pricing was first implemented in the form of the Area Licensing System in 1975, which levied a flat charge on all vehicles entering the Central Business District (CBD). In 1998, this was replaced by the ERP system, which leverages on technology to allow for a more effective and flexible method of congestion charging. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology used also allows for the automatic collection of a congestion fee from any vehicle passing under a ERP gantry during its operating hours. 

Purpose & Effectiveness

The ERP system provides a targeted solution for congestion pricing. It allows us to pinpoint specific congested spots and vary the congestion charge and operating hours according to prevailing traffic conditions. Therefore, the charges will either increase or decrease according to congestion levels on the priced-road or expressway. As charges are levied on a per-use basis, the negative externalities of road congestion caused by road users can be accounted for, and the objective is to encourage road users to use public transport, or other routes and travel timings

Since its introduction, the ERP system has been effective in managing traffic congestion and keeping traffic speeds within the optimal range.

Traffic Management Method 

Since July 2008, LTA has applied the 85th percentile speed measurement method instead of average (mean) speeds to determine whether ERP rate changes are necessary. 

This revision was made as the the minimum average speed thresholds (45 km/h on expressways and 20 km/h on arterial roads) set in 1998 were too low and traffic could easily slip into the unstable zone where 'stop-start' conditions became common. To create a sufficient buffer, the 85th percentile speed measurement method was adopted as it was assessed to be more representative of actual traffic conditions. It is also in line with international traffic engineering practices for assessing traffic conditions. With this, 85% of motorists will experience speeds above the minimum threshold. 

Next Generation ERP System 

While the current ERP technology has served Singapore well, we need to look ahead and develop an even more effective and responsive system to manage congestion -  one that is less costly to build and maintain, more space-efficient and requires a shorter lead time to implement compared to the current gantry-based system. 

The next-generation ERP system (ERP2) makes use of advanced technologies to provide more flexibility in managing traffic congestion. It will allow distance-based road pricing, where motorists are charged according to the distance travelled on congested roads. This will be more equitable than the current system, which charges all motorists the same amount as long as they pass a gantry, regardless of the distance they travel on the congested road. 

In addition, ERP2 will offer exciting new opportunities for LTA and its industry partners to develop value-added services for the benefit of motorists, such as traffic advisories and parking availability information on the new On-Board Unit that will replace the existing In-Vehicle Unit (IU).

(More information about traffic management could be found at here