Singapore Transport Systems

Transportation services in Singapore are undeniably recognised for its efficiency and accessibility by its commuters. Nevertheless, with the advent of innovative digital solutions, risk management in transportation systems has been mitigated, and efficacies in providing safe passages by the governments worldwide have enormously come into play. How did the Singapore government use these technological luxuries to prevent transport failures? Did they succeed? Peruse this article to explore a comprehensive understanding of the possible adaptation the Singapore Transport Systems can undergo in the digital age. 

The Singapore commuters who travel via public transportation mediums can mainly use three modes of transportation as 

  • MRT (Mass Rapid Transports) and LRT (Light Rail Transit) are portrayed as the fastest and most efficient transport facility in peak hours. 40% of local commuters use this transportation medium
  • Buses (the most common mode of public transportation),
  • and Taxis. 
Noteworthy facts about Singapore Travel Behaviours
  1. The 14th consecutive rise in Public Trips by local commuters and foreigners hit a monumental number in the year 2018, which was a total of 7,540,000 (7.54M) trips. As the local population rates have been recorded to have a flat pattern in the last seven years, this increment was spurred by the number of 18,500,000 (18.5M) tourists in Singapore that visited in 2018 (Source for Figure: LRT)
    tourists in Singapore that visited in 2018
    Figure: LRT, Source: https://www.budgetdirect.com.sg/car-insurance/research/public-transport-singapore
  2. Singapore Public Transportation system was ranked 2nd in the Global Transport Affordability Study initiated by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) that considered transportation records in 12 major cities around the world; the same study revealed that Singapore collected the least fare per kilometre among the dozen cities that were surveyed. This luxury- in the passenger’s part- gave rise to financial turmoil concerning operational costs.

  3. Commuters in Singapore are fascinatingly similar to commuters in London when it comes to the number of minutes invested by them in travelling on weekdays; an average of 83 minutes is spent by both Singapore commuters and London passengers.

  4. Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) showed a rise in average daily passenger trips in 2019; a cumulative total of 3,500,000 rides (3.5M) every day which was an evident increment after the advent of an upgraded railway system. The following table shows the Daily Train Rides of three years.

    YearDaily Train Rides
    20122.30 million
    20162.70 million
    20183.50 million
  5. In 2018, daily trips via buses hit 4,000,000 for the first time in Singapore.

    YearDaily Bus Rides
    20123.20 million
    20163.40 million
    20184.00 million
  6. The Average Ridership in MRT, LRT, buses, and trains for the year 2017 and 2018 are as shown below (Source: https://www.budgetdirect.com.sg/car-insurance/research/public-transport-singapore)
    Number (‘000)20172018
    MRT3,1223,302
    LRT190199
    Bus3,9524,037
    Total7,2647,538
Transportation Challenges the Singapore Government tackled face-to-face 
On the 14th of October 2020, was the ‘MRT breakdown’ where 3 MRT lines suffered from a power shutdown leaving hundreds of 1000s of commuters stranded which rooted inconveniences throughout the station stretch that is based in the Circle Line. This incident was recorded as one of the most uneventful power-centric problems faced by Commuters of Singapore who prefer public transportation. Click here to read some of the confessions made by the passengers who faced this situation to the media.  But this is not the one and only challenge recorded by MRT transportation in Singapore. Given below is a timeline of such inconvenient incidents.
 
DateIncidents
15th and 17th of December 2011North-south rail stands still twice due to SMRT fails to detect the issue
7th of July 2015Half a million commuters suffered because North-West and East-West lines fail
25th of April 2016One of the network substations fails which was instantaneously repaired but caused the train to move at a slower pace
12th of July 2017A power failure causes trains to not run at late hours
17th of August 2017A signalling system malfunction
19th of September 2018A track point was flawed between the Jurong East and Clementi MRT stations, which costs 40 minutes for the commuters
9th of October 201920-minute North-East Line delay due to signalling error
 
One of the most recent challenges that were reported on the 16th of October 2020 was an incident where two workers inhaled toxic air that was emitting from a fire that was broken out in a train tunnel between the Orchard and Somerset stations. They were immediately taken to a hospital after that. This incident was followed by the insulation error caused by the above MRT breakdown. 
 
What are the technologies that can be used to mitigate Transportation services in Singapore?
Many cutting-edge technologies were untethered in the recent past of this digital age that can be used in avoiding such expensive and inconvenient errors in transportation systems. Keep reading to familiarise yourself with the best technologies that can help in transforming inconveniences that are glitching the streamline transport services in Singapore into smart and predictive transport systems.
 
  1. Digital Maintenance tools
    Digitally empowered maintenance tools can be used by the Singapore administrative bodies to predict and prevent downtimes in their MRT systems that are time-wasting and costly. Some of the main solutions that can be used to maintain these transport grids are elaborated below:

    a. Condition Monitoring Systems

    Condition Monitoring Systems can be used to elevate all assets that are established in the Transportation Systems in terms of wireless machine unification, smart machine learning, and supercharging MLT lines. Massive data pools can be accumulated via these maintenance systems of the real-time updates on machine performance and even generate alerts if the machine detects a threatening event. This way, the authorities can monitor all their remote machinery under one display. Cerexio Condition Monitoring systems fosters all features required by a maintenance checking tool that will allow you to mass-control and mass-monitor your resources, assets and processes in real-time.

    b. Digital Twin
    Digital Twins allow the maintenance managers to get real-world experience through a precise simulation where they can predict detrimental events by feeding data of different events to the system to check what events cause damages to the transport services and avoid those events in the real world. Cerexio Digital Twin helps asset managers, system developers, and maintenance teams view a magnified in-and-out view of the sustainability of their systems at any given time.

    c. Asset Management Systems
    As operational costs of the government were said to be overriding the total fare collected by the commuters, the authorities can house an Asset Management System to collect details about resources, expenditures, and suppliers related to their assets. This way the officials can read a comprehensive guide to their investments and even integrate a ‘Project and Costing Management Software’ submodule to effortlessly manage projects, such as the Singapore Land Transport Master Plan 2040.

  2. Analytics

    a. Predictive Analytics

    Out of two of the leading solutions that are specialised in virtual data analytics, ‘Predictive Analytics’ is an integrative analytics tool that can be fostered by any management system- retro-fitting or greenfield. It analyses data in the transportation systems in real-time, allowing the maintenance managers to make their managerial efforts too easy.

    Along with the asset management system and the prior records of asset failure, decay & budget allocations, Predictive Analytics solutions can predict the failures in advance. More interestingly, each material-wise prediction and budget forecast can be made via proper asset management and prediction system. Cerexio Predictive Analytics is exclusively made for such purpose so that each nut & bolt level decay failure can be identified in advance. The reason behind why Cerexio Predictive Analytics is utterly significant is because the prominent abilities it inherits to work with datasets. This solution can accelerate the data accumulation processes and provide a solid base for decision-makers by upgrading the almost 7-years-worth of history data of the Circle Line and the new Downtown Line. It will be an obvious need for the North-South and East-West lines which are majorly operating via analogue systems since this solution can work on any sort of datasets- analogue, digital or hybrid. Learn more about how Cerexio Predictive analytics is value-adding.

    b. Crowd Analytics Systems
    Since the Transport system works with people, it is not a mind-boggling fact that ‘Crowd data plays a vital role in upgrading transportation systems. Crowd-based data sources surpass old-fashioned data collection methods to collect dispersed crowd data and unleash unsurpassable analysis that heeds in generating priceless intel. This knowledge can be used to understand passenger behaviours, fluctuating peak hours, even the number of locals and tourists that travelled in a ride on a given date and time. This tool can also be used by the Police to gather intel on Road accidents and crimes in real-time.

Examples for Countries that use hi-tech systems in providing national transport amenities

With the accelerating development of nations and populations, the need for ultra-tech transport systems is an undeniable truth. Some countries utilised these technological comforts for their transport systems to unlock facile traffics in their transportation systems. 

Here are three examples for countries other than Singapore that use the assistance of virtual technology to upgrade their transport services.

1. Australia
    • Uses automated vehicles to provide maintenance efficiencies 
    • Uses the IoT technology to interconnect all element in the Transportation Systems 
    • Uses sensors and cameras to retrieve sensitive information and generate data to pool Big Data for real-time or later analysis
2. Hong Kong
    • Uses smart payment methods that uses QR codes to transfer payments for transport tickets and bills 
    • Also uses a variety of other technologies for digitally transforming:
    • Transport infrastructures
    • Routing Systems
    • Traffic Management Systems
    • Booking Systems etc.
3. India
    • Use of smart junction management 
    • Use of intelligent public transport systems
    • Video monitoring and analytics tools are equipped to collect intel for security purposes 
    • Adopting intelligent traffic management systems 
    • Maintaining a unified platform to unleash seamless communication between public safety authorities such as the City Police and Medical Dispatching Units

When it comes to technologies in Singapore, the Singapore Public Transports Systems are always using next-generation technologies to facilitate the daily commuters in their best interest. With this instinct to utilise the public via best technologies, Singapore becomes the pioneering country in enforcing new technologies to Transport fields and all other service providing mediums at all times.

With the Smart Mobility 2030 Plan implemented by the Singapore Government residents are encouraged to use public transportation. Therefore, this project must come with reliable digital solutions that can give daily public transportation commuters that are tedious a  luxurious ride from work to home and vice versa that they deserve. At the end of the day, technology is always one swipe away from providing advantageous drastic changes in our soon-to-be Smart Nations.

References

  1. https://worksingapore.com/articles/live_4.php#:~:text=The%20three%20main%20modes%20of,the%20MRT%20and%20taxis%20respectively. 
  2. https://www.budgetdirect.com.sg/car-insurance/research/public-transport-singapore 
  3. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/parliament-higher-fares-will-be-needed-in-face-of-rising-subsidies-for-public 
  4. https://ec2-52-21-52-208.compute-1.amazonaws.com/bitstream/handle/10986/17408/33900a10TP131affordability1final.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 
  5. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/transport/singapore-ranks-2nd-in-transport-fare-affordability 
  6. https://thredbo-conference-series.org/downloads/thredbo16/Fare-Affordability-Benchmarking-Study.pdf   
  7. https://theindependent.sg/khaw-boon-wan-calls-fare-review-exercise-that-raises-bus-and-train-fares-by-7-a-balancing-act/#:~:text=Despite%20earning%20criticism%20earlier%20this,will%20be%20hiked%20by%20a 
  8. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/public-transport-mrt-bus-capacity-breakdown-covid-car-share-13329340 
  9. https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/2-smrt-workers-hospitalised-after-fire-breaks-out-between-orchard-and-somerset-stations 
  10. https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltagov/en/who_we_are/our_work/land_transport_master_plan_2040.html 
  11. https://www.orange-business.com/en/magazine/moving-times-4-countries-digitally-transforming-their-public-transport 

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