SINGAPORE: As connectivity continues to be “paramount” for Singapore, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) will work to further enhance the country’s linkages with the region and the world, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday (May 8).
Good connectivity bolsters the economy, creates good jobs and raises the quality of life for Singaporeans, added Mr Khaw in his ministry’s addendum to the President’s address.
President Halimah Yacob delivered her inaugural opening address of Parliament as President on Monday night, mapping out the Government’s priorities for the rest of its term.
MOT’s addendum addresses one of the five key themes identified in her speech: Building a well-connected, world-class city for Singaporeans.
To secure Singapore’s position as a world-class city and key transport node between Asia and the world, MOT will continue investing in transport infrastructure.
These include the expansion of Changi Airport and the building of the “next-generation” Tuas port.
Mr Khaw said the aviation and maritime sectors are “the lifelines of Singapore’s economy”, which together contribute more than 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 250,000 jobs, but he cautioned that this cannot be taken for granted.
“Many in the region are working hard to replace us, with shipping and flight routes bypassing Singapore,” said Mr Khaw. The future Tuas mega port and Changi Terminal 5 will strengthen Singapore’s edge “to seize new opportunities and capture greater growth”, he added.
New connections with Malaysia, including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail, are also underway. These will create opportunities for work and play, while giving both countries a greater stake in each other’s success, said Mr Khaw.
Apart from maintaining linkages with the global economy, the transport ministry’s priorities laid out in its addendum included enhancement plans for public transport and active mobility within Singapore.
For instance, the addition of another 130km to the rail network by 2030, with ongoing construction of the Thomson-East Coast Line and upcoming projects, such as the Jurong Region Line and Cross Island Line.
Asset renewal will continue to be accelerated, alongside more intensive maintenance of the older MRT lines through extended engineering hours, to ensure rail reliability.
There will also be an extension of cycling networks and bike parking facilities to all HDB towns by 2030, as well as the introduction of a licensing framework for bicycle-sharing operators and mandatory registration for e-scooters by the end of this year.
The wheels are also in motion for plans to make Singapore’s public transport more inclusive, such as making all public buses wheelchair-accessible in two years.
By 2022, the number of pedestrian overhead bridges with lifts will be tripled, while 50 locations with customised senior-friendly road safety features, also known as the “Silver Zones”, will be ready in 2023.
Technology will also be tapped to enhance transport operations. These involve the use of data analytics to pre-empt faults in the rail network, and the adoption of predictive analytics, machine learning and other data tools in areas like air and vessel traffic management.