LTA seeks more precise picture of travel patterns

Transport planners at the Land Transport Authority (LTA) are looking for a more precise way of analysing and predicting travel patterns in order to optimise road capacity. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  ALPHONSUS CHERN
Transport planners at the Land Transport Authority (LTA) are looking for a more precise way of analysing and predicting travel patterns in order to optimise road capacity. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  ALPHONSUS CHERN

It wants to be able to zoom in on demand in localised regions

Transport planners at the Land Transport Authority (LTA) are looking for a more precise way of analysing and predicting travel patterns in order to optimise road capacity.

The authority has called a tender for a regional transport model that is able to forecast demand in localised areas, with particular attention paid to the efficiency of road junctions.

The model will also be able to simulate traffic patterns when changes are introduced - such as when bus routes are added or new housing blocks are built in a region.

The computer software will complement the LTA's strategic transport model - an islandwide programme which it has been relying on since 1997.

LTA deputy director of strategic planning Mak Keng Seng said: "Currently, we leverage on a suite of modelling tools to project future travel demand and enable planners to make better decisions.

"While they have served us well from an islandwide perspective, we are looking into developing a regional transport model that enables us to look at traffic impact in greater detail."

The LTA has divided Singapore into five regions, namely west, north, north-east, central and east.

Each has about 1,000 signalised junctions, it noted.

The LTA requires the new model to be able to simulate the driving behaviour of one or more drivers, and its effects on vehicles following behind.

It should be able to identify traffic bottlenecks.

With the next generation of Electronic Road Pricing on the cards, the model must be able to factor in drivers' choice of routes based on influences such as travelling time and road pricing (including distance-based charging).

The new model must also be able to compute all characteristics of a road network within a particular region, such as junction design, interaction of signal timing of nearby junctions, and merging lanes and their impact on traffic performance.

The successful bidder will have 24 months to develop the new system, and provide training to the authority on how to use it.

Observers said the move is necessary to address traffic issues as Singapore becomes more densely populated and developed.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said the existing tool is too macro, and thus "steps away from reality, either in terms of forecasting accuracy or modelling details", and the new system will be able to offer "higher clarity".

christan@sph.com.sg