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Vehicle Ownership Controls


Building more and more roads is not sustainable, especially given our land constraints. Today, about 12% of our land area is already used for roads, compared to about 14% for housing. We have thus opted for vehicle ownership controls to maintain the vehicle population at levels supportable by road infrastructure as well as planned developments in our public transport and traffic management system.

Managing the Vehicle Population

Singapore instituted the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system in May 1990. This has been effective in controlling the growth of vehicle population.

To register for a new vehicle, one would first need to bid for a COE. It gives the owner the right to own and use the vehicle for 10 years, with the option to renew the COE thereafter. COEs are allocated through the market mechanism, which provides the most efficient and equitable means of distribution for a non-basic good such as private vehicles.

The COE bidding is conducted twice a month, through an online open auction system. The COE price thus reflects the amount that buyers are willing to pay to own a new car, private bus, goods vehicle or motorcycle.

The COE system has served us well in controlling the overall vehicle population and avoiding the pervasive traffic gridlock that we see in some cities. Nonetheless, we will continue to assess its relevance and make adjustments where necessary. 

Vehicle Growth Rate

With a slower pace of road building, the annual vehicle population growth rate also has to be moderated. As part of the Land Transport Master Plan 2008, the annual growth rate was reduced from 3% to 1.5% from May 2009 to July 2012. The annual vehicle growth rate was further reduced to 1% in August 2012, and to 0.5% from February 2013 to January 2015. From February 2015, the annual vehicle growth rate was again halved to 0.25%. This will be reviewed again in 2017 as we have to temper our vehicle population growth with the constraints of a small country.