I THANK Mr Low Kok Soon for his feedback on Wednesday, "Why bus lanes don't work in heartland stretches".
In managing congestion, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) adopts a holistic approach which includes controlling the growth of vehicle population, managing demand on the road and improving road infrastructure.
Upper Bukit Timah Road is a major transit and road corridor. A combination of measures were planned in a holistic manner to ensure that both private and public transport services run smoothly and efficiently to meet the needs of different groups of road users.
To ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet the increasing needs of road users, LTA completed the upgrading of Upper Bukit Timah Road since late 2005. A vehicular underpass and a flyover at Jalan Anak Bukit were constructed and the entire stretch of Upper Bukit Timah Road widened from two to three lanes.
In April this year, we implemented Electronic Road Pricing to manage the demand of this major road corridor during morning peak hours, so traffic can move smoothly, and to optimise the capacity of the road.
A car on average carries 1.5 people. A single-deck bus can carry 80 passengers. As road space is limited, we need to make a decisive shift towards public transport to meet travel needs.
To do this, we need to increase the attractiveness of public transport, and bus lanes help to increase the speed and reliability of bus services for commuters.
Along the 5km stretch of Upper Bukit Timah Road, more than 60 buses ply hourly during morning peak hours. Based on our preliminary traffic monitoring, bus speeds along the stretch have improved by 6 per cent, while traffic in the remaining two lanes continues to be optimal - travelling at 23 kmh (which is within the optimal speed range of 20 to 30kmh) during morning bus lane hours from 7.30am to 9.30am. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.
More road users thus benefit from the overall improvements in reliability and speeds through the implementation of bus lanes.
Given space constraints in land-scarce Singapore, we need to balance the need for road space by different stakeholders, such as bus commuters and motorists, so limited road space is used as efficiently as possible.
Deputy Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 8, 2008.
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