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Singapore’s Land Transport ITM outlines vision for a technology-enabled land transport system

Singapores Land Transport ITM outlines vision for a technology enabled land transport system

According to a press release by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Co-ordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, launched the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) on Feb 12.

Under the latest ITM, up to 8,000 new public transport jobs will be created by 2030. LTA will set aside S$25 million over 5 years for the Land Transport Innovation Fund for mobility-related research and technology trials.

The Land Transport ITM was developed by the LTA in close consultation with union and industry partners, with the overarching vision for a people-centred land transport system by 2030 with more connections and better service for all.

Credit: Land Transport Authority, Singapore

Initiatives outlines in the Land Transport ITM leverage emerging technologies to make the land transport system smarter, drive productivity growth and deliver better services to commuters, as well as to future-proof the workforce through comprehensive programmes for up-skilling and re-skilling.

Creating better jobs for a future proof workforce

The land transport industry currently has a workforce of about 123,000 people, which includes bus captains, bus mechanics, customer service officers, railway engineers, station managers, as well as taxi and private hire car drivers. More than 21,000 of them are employed by the rail and public bus sectors to support the 5 million daily commuter journeys on public transport.

With the expansion of public bus and rail networks, Singapore expect to create up to 8,000 new public transport jobs by 2030 to support its needs.

LTA works closely with union and industry partners on initiatives that support the growth in public transport jobs. Such initiatives include manpower planning, industry partnerships to grow the talent pool, as well as upskilling of the workforce.

LTA will conduct industry manpower planning to identify employment opportunities and formulate targeted workforce interventions. The Public Transport Skills Framework (PTSF) is jointly developed by the LTA, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the industry to identify current and emerging skillsets, and map these against possible career pathways. The framework will help identify training gaps as well as guide the development of programmes to professionalise public transport workers and help them meet the changing demands of the workforce.

It will also partner with the industry and the union to provide more enhanced and structured internships for students from Institutes of Higher Learning, in order to attract, identify and manage the growing pipeline of talent.

Meanwhile, it will also continue to develop the capabilities of the workforce, particularly through up-skilling and re-skilling of public transport workers, to ensure that workers can keep pace with industry developments.

For example, the Singapore Bus Academy and Singapore Rail Academy will offer new specialised programmes mapped against the soon-to-be-launched PTSF for continuous learning and mastery. In addition, more Professional Conversion Programmes will be developed to equip mid-career switchers with the relevant competencies to pursue a successful career in the land transport industry.

Growing an innovative and future-ready land transport industry

The Land Transport ITM also serves as the blueprint for growing and transforming the land transport industry into one that is enabled by technology and a highly competent workforce.

Other than helping the land transport industry and its workers continue to stay relevant, it also responds to disruptive technologies.

Some of these disruptive technologies include autonomous vehicles (AVs), big data, and artificial intelligence (AI). Harnessing their transformative potentials will give the industry new opportunities to enhance the land transport system and create better jobs for the industry.

It is expected that continuous adoption of technology and innovative solutions will play an integral part in the land transport industry’s development. As such, LTA will set aside S$25 million over five years for the Land Transport Innovation Fund to spur innovation and collaborative projects with industry partners.

“With the Land Transport Innovation Fund, I hope to see even more innovative solutions emerge to shape the transport of tomorrow,” Chief Executive of LTA Mr Ngien Hoon Ping said.

Through the Land Transport ITM, LTA will harness technology and innovation to improve productivity for the land transport industry and deliver a transport system that is safe, efficient, reliable and comfortable for commuters.

To build up a critical mass of research capabilities and provide a platform to facilitate collaborative research, LTA has established a number of Transport Research Centres (TRCs). with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). In addition, to develop local Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) capabilities, LTA will encourage SME participation in Government projects through the Government-Partnership for Capability Transformation (GovPACT) programme.

LTA is planning for the Land Transport Network (PLANET). It is a data warehouse developed by LTA to carry out advanced data analytics on travel patterns by car, bus and train. PLANET will enable more accurate prediction of commuter travel patterns, which supports the development and fine-tuning of land transport models so that transport planners can develop better transport policies.

Another technology-related initiative is the use of smart sensors and data analytics to monitor the status of railway systems for predictive maintenance. This will enable railway engineers to be more productive in their work, which translates into a smoother and more reliable ride for commuters. A Rail Enterprise Asset Management System (REAMS) will consolidate and integrate information collected from all trains to better assess and predict the condition of the entire network and its components, while a Common Fleet Management System (CFMS) will allow bus operators track bus fleets in real-time. Moreover, a next-generation ERP system will push real-time, targeted traffic updates to vehicles’ on-board units, recommending alternative routes that are less congested in order to optimise road usage.

LTA is also actively exploring how the use of automation and AVs can be applied in land transport system to improve efficiency, reduce human error and deliver better services.

For example, the introduction of robots and drones to inspect MRT and road tunnels will reduce the need for tedious manual inspections and free engineers to focus on analysing the data captured. Last year, LTA issued a Request for Information (RFI) to seek the industry’s participation in the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Unmanned Vehicle (UV) technology for MRT and road tunnel inspections.

Autonomous buses and dynamically-routed, on-demand shuttles can also be deployed to enhance public transport by providing more responsive, efficient and convenient transport modes for commuters. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and LTA announced in November last year that autonomous scheduled buses and autonomous on-demand shuttles will serve commuters in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District (JID) in Singapore from 2022.

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