The transition to the next-generation Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system has been delayed due to the global chip shortage (Transition to next-gen ERP delayed by global chip shortage, Nov 18).
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) should learn from what the Housing Board is doing in the Punggol smart town.
Two weeks ago, I visited Northshore Plaza. The carpark was crowded, but vehicles entered and exited very smoothly as there were no gantry barriers.
I received an SMS about payment within minutes of leaving the carpark after parking. The SMS also encouraged me to install the Parking @ HDB app. After I did so, I was able to pay for parking with my credit card.
I have driven in Britain, Hungary, China, Germany and Norway, and all these countries make use of camera enforcement to collect tolls and parking fees. In London, cars that drive inside the city's ultra-low emission zone and do not meet its emissions standards must pay a daily charge. This is enforced using cameras, also used in Beijing to enforce the odd-even licence plate policy.
LTA should keep up with the times. Modern mobile phones can replace the touchscreen display of on-board units (OBUs). Drivers should not be distracted by too much information.
LTA should move away from a system that relies on OBUs and CashCards. If the objective is to collect tolls based on use, cameras and video analytics can do the job. If LTA wants to collect detailed information on road use, installing cameras on all lamp posts could perform the same function.
Relying on OBUs is inefficient and wasteful. The recent case of a man who was jailed for using a motorcycle in-vehicle unit in his car to avoid paying parking fees is a good example of how such a system falls short (Driver jailed for evading $3,400 in car parking charges by using motorcycle IU, Oct 25). And it was the use of camera footage which brought the culprit's offences to light.