Imposing ERP charges will not solve KPE traffic woes

It seems that whenever there is traffic build-up on an expressway, the Land Transport Authority will solve it by implementing or increasing Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges (KPE users to pay $2 charge during the morning peak; April 29).

But there could be many factors for traffic build-up during peak hours.

As a driver who plies the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) every morning, I am familiar with the unique situation there.

Traffic is indeed very dense along the KPE heading west before the entrance to the tunnel.

But once vehicles enter the tunnel, traffic suddenly eases off.

There is certainly no magic inside the tunnel to make this happen. Rather, this is the situation:

Just before the tunnel are two side roads - Buangkok East Drive and Tampines Road - feeding vehicles onto the KPE. However, vehicles on the expressway leave no gaps for merging, hence causing a bottleneck.

Drivers also tend to slow down when entering the tunnel, as their vision takes some time to adjust to the illumination inside.

With more residents moving into Sengkang New Town and Punggol New Town, traffic will unavoidably increase.

The operation of Sengkang General Hospital will also exacerbate the situation.

There are just too many vehicles moving in the same direction at the same time.

Given all these factors, I cannot see how implementing ERP charges will remedy the situation at this stretch of road.

Other than the daily morning jam, the KPE is usually free of congestion.

Perhaps the authorities can consider opening up more lanes to handle the rise in population.

They could also make it mandatory for vehicles to leave a gap of at least one car's length to allow cars to merge onto the KPE.

Donny Ho Boon Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2017, with the headline 'Imposing ERP charges will not solve KPE traffic woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe