The transport system has redrawn Singapore's economic and lived landscape in the past decades, especially since the introduction of the Mass Rapid Transit system in 1987. Today, the workings of the economy are dependent vitally on the safety, speed, reliability and affordability of an extensive train network - enhanced by integrated bus services and complemented by private transport - that can move people to and from work with predictable efficiency, thus creating time valuable for familial duties and leisure.
There are trade-offs involved in reconciling the competing demands made by differing stakeholders on any urban transport system. A study conducted by global management consulting firm McKinsey last year asked which of these competing imperatives is more important: to keep private transport affordable or make it more efficient; how to make public transport available and convenient but affordable; and whether issues such as electronic services and shared transport are more important than traditional spheres of official attention such as road infrastructure. Clearly, Singapore is called upon to balance such legitimate but divergent imperatives.