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SINGAPORE: Remember having to queue to buy a licence to drive into the Central Business District during peak periods, before there were Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries? 

Or having to insert your farecard into a machine and pressing a button to select how much you would have to pay for a bus trip? 

Area licensing scheme labels and magnetic farecards are among the items on display at the Singapore Mobility Gallery from Apr 27, as part of an exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of the Land Transport Authority (LTA). 

Other exhibits include bus ticketing systems dating to the 1970s, as well as motor vehicle certificates of entitlement (COEs) from the 1990s. 

Certificate of Entitlement
Certificate of Entitlements (COEs) from 1990 when the Vehicle Quota System was introduced. (Photo: Calvin Oh) 


Area Licensing Scheme
Licences under the Area Licensing Scheme, which was aimed at easing traffic congestion prior to the introduction of the Electronic Road Pricing system. (Photo: Zhaki Abdullah)


The Connecting People, Places & Possibilities exhibition traces the history of land transport in Singapore beyond the establishment of the LTA to the completion of the State and City Planning Project in 1971, which laid out plans for expressways and a mass rapid transit to provide connectivity across the island. 

It takes a look at major land transport milestones in Singapore over the years, from the building of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in the 1980s to the introduction of the national cycling plan. 

READ: Government accepts Land Transport Master Plan 2040 recommendations

The exhibit also keeps an eye on the future, providing a glimpse of future car-lite towns such as Tengah and Bayshore in addition to the upcoming North-South Corridor – envisioned as Singapore’s longest “transit priority corridor” with dedicated bus lanes and cycling paths in addition to an expressway. 

It also gives visitors a look at what Robinson Road in the Central Business District might look like as a transit priority corridor, with cycling paths and bus-only streets, similar to what was done with Bencoolen Street three years ago. 

AYE painting
A painting of the construction of the Ayer Rajah Expressway by Cultural Medallion winner Ong Kim Seng. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

Held at the Singapore Mobility Gallery, at LTA’s Hampshire Road headquarters, the exhibition also features paintings of historic transport milestones by Cultural Medallion winner Mr Ong Kim Seng. 

“Here, through this exhibition, we hope that you will see that going forward, through better integrated planning, through introducing greener modes of transport, we can contribute towards the common aspiration to make Singapore even more livable, going forward,” said LTA chief executive Ng Lang. 

The exhibition will be open to the public on weekdays between 9.30am to 5pm from Apr 27 for six months. 

Visitors can book a slot to visit the exhibition via the LTA website three working days before their visit.

LTA exhibition
The Connecting People, Places & Possibilities exhibition at the Singapore Mobility Gallery, marking the 25th anniversary of the Land Transport Authority. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

Speaking at an event marking the launch of the exhibition on Friday (Apr 23), Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung noted he himself was an alumnus of LTA, having played a role in the agency’s formation as a civil servant at the then-Ministry of Communications.

Beyond achievements such as the expansion of Singapore’s rail network, Mr Ong also pointed to “challenges and setbacks” faced by the LTA, such as the 2017 train collision at Joo Koon station and the Nicoll Highway collapse in 2004 that killed four people. 

He described these incidents as lessons “etched deeply into the memories of the institution”. 

“These were the challenges that LTA had to overcome, which spurred the organisation to be better, and served as constant reminders against complacency; against thinking that life can go on, business as usual, on autopilot.”

Mr Ong said he anticipates members of the public playing a bigger role in the improvement of Singapore’s land transport in the coming years. 

“Central planning of roads, bus services, and safety features is always necessary. But at the same time, it is also through your lived experiences, that we get valuable feedback to optimise operations and make important ground improvements,” he said. 

“The next 25 years must be about ensuring that our system remains sustainable – environmentally and financially – and enduring for generations to come. We will have to keep striving forward, to set our land transport system firmly on course for a better, greener and more sustainable future.”

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