For many Singaporeans, the attractiveness of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 would lie primarily in the expansion of the rail network. Should all plans come to fruition, its total length will extend to almost 400km by 2040; the current network spans about 229km. Two new MRT stations will be built along the North-South Line in the north-western part of Singapore, with the Downtown Line extended to join one of these stations by the mid-2030s. The upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line, which starts at Woodlands North and ends at Sungei Bedok, will be extended to provide a direct link to Changi Airport. Also, a proposed new line, which could run from Woodlands to the Greater Southern Waterfront that extends from Pasir Panjang to Marina East, will be looked into. These are exciting possibilities because they are realisable. In just over two decades from now, the rail and bus system should transform Singaporeans' expectations of their quality of life, one of whose main arteries is public transport. Its availability, reliability and speed will be critical to the infrastructure of a nation defined by its quest for constant improvement.
Another exciting goal is that of creating a 45-minute city with 20-minute towns. This is to say that all journeys to the nearest neighbourhood centre, using walk-cycle-ride modes of transport, will take less than 20 minutes. A corresponding goal is for nine in 10 peak-period journeys using walk-cycle-ride modes to be completed in less than 45 minutes. The expansion of the rail network, higher bus speeds, the extension of the cycling path network, and the introduction of self-driving bus services that adjust their routes to passenger demand should help to make public transport second nature. The addiction to private transport, in the form of financially and ecologically expensive cars, might not disappear completely. However, Singapore would come nearer to becoming a car-lite society in which public transport would form the default mode of thinking, and private transport would be reserved for those who need it for special reasons. A tiny island city-state cannot afford to be car-heavy.