Expressway speeds during peak hours at 10-year high

The average speed on the island's expressways during the peak hours are at a 10-year high, according to data published by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Last year's average speed, at 64.1kmh, was a 2.5kmh increase from 2013, suggesting that motorists may be experiencing a smoother ride.

Between 2005 and 2013, average speeds on the highways - during the morning peak of 8am to 9am, and the evening peak of 6pm to 7pm - ranged between 61.2kmh and 63.6kmh.

Transport researchers attributed the recent improvement to the completion of several road infrastructure projects.

These include the completion of widening works on a 5.8km stretch of the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) between Adam Road and Clementi Avenue 6 in August last year. There are now up to five lanes running in both directions on the widened section.

SIM University urban transport management expert Park Byung Joon said there are a few "bottleneck points" along the PIE, particularly at the exits, such as at Lornie Road.

"While this exit is still congested, the PIE has more lanes. So while two lanes are backed up because of cars trying to exit, the other lanes are still available for the passage of traffic," Dr Park explained.

National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der Horng said the widening of stretches of the Central Expressway, completed earlier in 2011, has also helped.

Dr Park noted that the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) scheme could have also been a factor in managing speeds effectively.

The LTA conducts quarterly reviews of ERP rates and adjusts them upwards to ensure traffic speeds are kept at the optimal range of 45kmh to 65kmh for expressways, and 20kmh to 30kmh for arterial roads.

LTA data also showed that peak hour average speeds on arterial roads and in the Central Business District were maintained at 28.9kmh for the second straight year. This continues to be a high since 2005.

adrianl@sph.com.sg