In line with its goal of providing fast, convenient,
affordable transport for its population and visitors and a
transportation infrastructure that supported its economic
the government gave top priority to investments in public
and the highway system. Beginning in the early 1970s,
engaged in a systematic program of road building that led
development of a network that was considered to be one of
among developing countries. By late 1988, Singapore had
kilometers of roads occupying some 11 percent of the
area. In the previous decade, the government had spent
billion on building and maintaining roads.
In 1989 five expressways--the thirty-five-kilometer Pan
Expressway (PIE), the nineteen-kilometer East Coast
eleven-kilometer Bukit Timah Expressway, the
Ayer Rajah Expressway, and the sixteen-kilometer Central
Expressway--were complete and work was underway on four
fig. 9). The highway building program called for a network
expressways, for a total of 141 kilometers, to be
1991. Access to the Central Business District was limited
rush hour to holders of special passes sold on day-to-day
and a one-way street pattern further facilitated traffic
A computerized traffic control system, introduced in 1981,
monitored almost 200 major road junctions. The Public
Department planned to put the remaining 800 signals
on-line in the
1990s, making Singapore's one of the largest traffic
systems in the world.
At the end of 1988, 491,808 motor vehicles were
increase of 20,000 over the previous year. Nearly half of
registered vehicles were automobiles. In order to
government policy of limiting the number of private
number of monetary disincentives were employed, including
annual road taxes, fuel taxes, ad valorem registration
other licenses and fees.
Taxi fares also were kept reasonable in order to reduce
flow into and out of congested areas during rush hour. By
1988, Singapore's 10,500 taxis were mostly air-conditioned
equipped with electronic taximeters. Most taxis were
driven twentyfour hours a day by a succession of drivers. The largest
NTUC Comfort, was affiliated with the union. A fleet of
2,800 buses also helped to alleviate the need for private
automobiles. The Singapore Bus Service and the
Service provided full-day service throughout the island.
In 1987 land transportation was propelled into a new
the opening of the S$5 billion Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
which formed the backbone of the country's public
fig. 10). The entire MRT system, spanning 67
expected to be fully operational by 1990--two years ahead
schedule--when it would serve 800,000 passengers daily.
routes were being progressively redesigned to dovetail
expanding system. Some 40 percent of all businesses and
areas were located near stations, and some 50 percent of
Singaporeans lived within one kilometer of an MRT station.
infusion of MRT construction funds into the economy
the early 1980s helped offset downturns in other sectors
construction industry during the recession.
Overland connections to the Malay Peninsula, across the
causeway spanning the Johore Strait, included a highway
Malaysian-owned railroad. These, in turn, were connected
Thai railroad system.
Data as of December 1989