Sunday, July 30, 2017

What Does Singapore Know That We Don't?

Plenty. Let's take their transportation policy for example. Why have they been removing cars from their roads for three straight years? Btw, this has brought back the car pool there to levels not seen in 8 years. Well they are decreasing the number of cars because it is a very inefficient technology. A car is idle more than 90% of the time. So it's pretty unproductive. And it is costly in so many other ways: time wasted in traffic which could be put to better use, burning fuel, pollution, stress and so on. The so on has to include all the space it uses and the other dimensions of traffic that slow you down.

Now when you look at what is being done here it's hard not to conclude that our transportation policy is being crafted in a very amateurish manner. I was totally horrified to hear my friend Georges Chung – an excellent economics teacher at the HSC level but a rather lousy policy-maker – say that one of the assumptions in the transportation planning involving the Metro Express is that the number of cars would be increasing by 5% every year. He obviously hasn't had a good look at the data – he's not the only one for sure – and apprehended the consequences. And it's not the first time. Indeed he has been a huge advocate of 'competitive depreciation' for many many years even suggesting that it is painless. The relevant data seem to tell an entirely different story.

Nando Bodha appears quite overwhelmed too. He scrapped the point system a couple of years ago. Quite a sloppy decision. He's currently spending billions to decongest the road network. Enlisting the help of the Korean Expressway Corporation is not a proof of mindfulness. They couldn't care less to help you saddle yourself with a prehistoric technology as long as they get paid. One that requires the transformation of our sacred Champ de Mars into a dinosaur park. That too after the obliteration of La School.

We're far better off with a bus rapid system (BRT) and freezing duty-free privileges for a couple of years. It's time for Lepep to hit the pause button. And organise a referendum.


Anonymous said...

Too late now, isn't it? They signed the contract today!

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Nah, it's a four year project. Many things can happen till then. Like our policy-makers may get a brain transplant :)

Sanjay Jagatsingh said...

Did you notice how quickly even minor car accidents morph into traffic frankensteins? What does that say? Too few cars on the road?

akagugo said...

Have you seen the experiment dropping a Mentos in a Coke bottle? Well, if there was only a small quantity of Coke, the foam could be contained within the ample space left above it inside the bottle itself.
This is what we term capacity - the ability to absorb a number of times the load without needing upgrading.
But our roads are already near or at capacity - just look at the traffic on the evenings of J&J Auditorium expecting a sell-out crowd (which, in effect, prompted the Municipality of Vacoas Phoenix to stop issuing permissions until they resolve the problem). The back-pressure ripples back to Réduit at times...
So, we can do two things:
either actively implement measures to encourage people to leave their cars home while at the same time providing decently clean and dependable mass transit systems
or just sit back and wait for the demise of the internal combustion engine 'de masse'...