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Have car-lite zones near MRT stations

Editor-at-large Han Fook Kwang suggests that to have fewer cars on Singapore's roads, fewer roads and carparks should be built ("Way to go: To be car-lite, be road-lite and carpark-lite"; last Sunday).

In land-scarce Singapore, every available piece of land will ultimately have to be developed. How will new places be accessible if no road networks are built, and where are the vehicles going to park, even temporarily, when they go to these locations?

It may be difficult to become car-lite by building fewer roads. However, it may be easier to become car-lite in certain zones, such as in areas which are within a 1km to 2km radius of any MRT station.

By making carparks scarce and by hiking carpark fees within these zones, people living near the MRT stations will be deterred from owning cars.

At the same time, people going to these zones, which are easily accessible by the MRT, will not need to drive there.

Another suggestion is to have car-free days for such zones. This means that during certain periods, cars are not allowed to enter these zones.

However, buses and taxis should still be allowed, as the purpose of such car-free days is to discourage the use of cars but encourage the use of public transport.

The way to go car-lite is to have a combination of measures that include infrastructure building, traffic management and a pricing mechanism.

Chia Chian Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 17, 2016, with the headline 'Have car-lite zones near MRT stations'. Print Edition | Subscribe