SINGAPORE: As part of efforts to increase pedestrian safety, red-amber-green turning arrows will be introduced at the majority of traffic junctions over the next three years.
These arrows – which allow motorists to turn only when there is a green arrow – have already been installed at more than 300 junctions, and will be installed at 1,200 junctions by 2023, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng on Thursday (Mar 5).
Mr Baey was responding to Hougang MP Png Eng Huat during the Committee of Supply debate for the Ministry of Transport.
Mr Png noted that there was an accident on Jan 6 involving a student who was hit by a vehicle making a discretionary right turn – where motorists can turn even in the absence of a green arrow – if they determine it is safe to do so.
“The discretionary turning on green rule is a recipe for accidents to happen because there are two green lights in operation at the same time - one for the vehicle to turn right and the other for the pedestrians to cross,” noted the Workers’ Party MP.
“How is that not dangerous to begin with?” he asked.
In July last year during a parliamentary debate on amendments to the Road Traffic Act, other MPs also called for such discretionary turns to be scrapped.
Nominated MP Lim Sun Sun, who spoke about how she was hit by a bus that was making a discretionary right turn at the junction of Upper Changi Road East and Somapah Road, described these turns as “fundamentally problematic”.
READ: Scrap discretionary right turns at all junctions soon, MPs urge as Road Traffic Act amendments passed
In 2018, the Land Transport Authority announced it would start to phase out discretionary right turns and replace them with red-amber-green arrows at the “vast majority” of the 1,600 traffic junctions here.
In April that year, two separate fatal accidents – at the intersections of Commonwealth Avenue West and Clementi Road, as well as Upper Bukit Timah Road and Jalan Anak Bukit – involved vehicles making a discretionary right turn.
LTA said at the time that it would consider implementing features such as lighted road studs and integrated pedestrian countdown timers at junctions where such lights cannot be introduced.
Mr Baey said red-amber-green arrows were just one of various safety initiatives introduced over the last five years, at a cost of about S$200 million.
“We continue to strive towards a ‘Vision Zero’ environment with fewer land transport-related fatalities, through regulations to ensure safety of commuters at the vehicle, driver and operator levels,” he said.