Commuters across Singapore will be able to navigate their journeys more easily with the help of a new, user-friendly MRT map that was unveiled yesterday.
And for residents of Woodlands, in particular, there is more good news.
They will enjoy greater connectivity with the opening of the first three stations on the new Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) on Jan 31.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said commuters will also be offered free travel between the Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South stations for three days, from Jan 31 to Feb 2.
The initiatives were unveiled yesterday when Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng attended a media preview of the new Woodlands South station.
With the MRT network expanding significantly, a new map was overdue.
"When viewing the new map, the Circle Line will intuitively serve as a focal point to help commuters quickly orientate themselves and plan their journeys," said LTA.
The icons for the stations on the new map are placed as close as possible to their relative geographical locations, it added.
The revamped map also improves the readability of the station names, among other things.
The new map will replace the ones at existing MRT stations from next month.
Mr Baey noted that "the sense of relativity to the different lines is much stronger" on the new map.
"The new map makes it easier for people to find their way," he said. "Because there is great interconnectivity among the different lines, knowing how to change from one line to the other and finding the way to the different destinations is important."
Prominent landmarks in the Bayfront area are also highlighted on the map. These include the Merlion, Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Singapore Flyer. Icons of these landmarks are featured next to their closest stations.
In April, a redesigned map of the MRT system, uploaded on Facebook by architect Cliff Tan, got netizens' attention for its clean and rounded depiction of the MRT lines.
The LTA had praised Mr Tan's effort and revealed then that its revamp of the MRT system map was in the pipeline.
There is emphasis on easy navigation as well at the TEL, which will open in stages from next year and will be fully operational by 2025.
Stations along the TEL have bigger yellow signage to help commuters find their way around.
Exit directories listing all major landmarks in the neighbourhood, with their respective station exits, can also be found in both the ticketed and non-ticketed areas of the station.
A locality map featuring landmarks that are within walking radius - including Housing Board blocks, schools, hospitals and religious sites - also helps commuters to navigate their routes.
Mr Baey said: "We also want to encourage the elderly to use the trains. Therefore, signage to bring them around and to navigate their way through the stations is very important."
He added that the larger font sizes and clearer symbols will make wayfinding easier and more convenient for elderly commuters.
The TEL, Singapore's sixth MRT line, stretches over 43km and will have 32 stations. Seven interchange stations will link it to the five existing rail lines.
The new line is expected to serve about 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, a figure expected to hit approximately one million in the long term.