Looking forward to 2017: Transport, Environment

As 2016 draws to a close, with many notable events shaping what has been called by many a year of change, 2017 looks set to be a significant year. The Straits Times looks at what to expect for transport and the environment in the new year. 2 new rail lines may cut car usage; emission standards to get stiffer.


Greener rides on track

In a drive to make Singapore more car-lite, Bencoolen Street (artist's impression, above) will have wider footpaths and cycling paths when it reopens in the first quarter of next year. A review of the annual growth rate cap on the vehicle population

Green will be the colour for 2017 in the land transport sector.

Several changes and developments will pave the way for a more environmentally sustainable way of travel, starting with the opening of Downtown Line 3.

When this 21km MRT line stretching from River Valley to Expo opens by the second half of the year, it will encourage more people to leave their cars at home and take the train. It will complete a 42km line that links the east of the island to the city centre and the north-west.

Hence, its full potential as a pan-island transit project will be realised.

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2016: Notable people and events

SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek

Mr Kuek made the news in June when SMRT's annual report stated that his pay for the previous financial year was $1.87 million - almost 20 per cent less than in the year before. Behind the scenes, the former general negotiated with the Government for a more sustainable financing framework and the sale of its rail assets.

Former LTA chief Chew Men Leong

Mr Chew's shock resignation from the Land Transport Authority in August - after barely two years on the job - made headlines. He had overseen the opening of Downtown Line 2, the roll-out of the Thomson-East Coast Line project, and transition to the new rail financing framework. The former rear-admiral is now with ST Marine as deputy president and president of defence business.

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Sustainability still key, with challenges ahead

Sustainability is the global buzzword these days and Singapore has done well in walking the talk over the past year.

It has opted to buy paper from sustainable sources, made strides to curb food waste and laid out its action plan to mitigate climate change by boosting energy efficiency across all sectors. These initiatives, among many others, do not just help the environment - they make monetary sense too.

Using energy-efficient appliances could help businesses and households reduce costs over time.

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2016: Notable events

Part of Singapore's climate action plan includes improving coastal protection.

This year will go down in history as the year in which concrete steps to mitigate climate change were taken. The Paris climate pact, successfully negotiated by almost 200 nations last December, became international law last month.

In July, Singapore outlined its action plan to help the nation meet its green targets - a key strategy of which is to continue to improve energy efficiency across all sectors, namely power generation, industry, buildings, transport, household, waste and water.

The plan also laid out measures to help Singapore boost its resilience to climate change amid erratic weather patterns, in areas such as coastal protection, managing the water supply and improving food supply resilience.

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