From 2022, the commuters in Punggol, Tengah and the Jurong Innovation District (JID) will be served by autonomous buses and on-demand shuttles following the announcement of a pilot by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The pilot sees the deployment of autonomous vehicles in these districts to provide convenient first-last mile connectivity. This is part of a sustained effort by Smart Nation to develop Smart Urban Mobility solutions that leverage data and digital technologies, which should thus enhance the public transport commute.
The autonomous services are designed to complement human-driven traffic buses and initially will travel on less crowded roads. Additionally, the LTA are also exploring the possibility of using autonomous buses for express transit links to join up the North-East line to the North-South, East-West and Thomas East Coast Lines, enhancing connectivity through the on-demand services. This should prove to be particularly helpful for the elderly, families with young children and those less mobile, who can hail services via their mobile phones. Moreover, the Seletar Aerospace Park will be served by on-demand shuttles.
Mr Khaw, the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport said, “AV technology can greatly enhance the accessibility and connectivity of our public transport system, particularly for the elderly, families with young children, and the less mobile.”
Mr Khaw added, “through the pilot deployment, we can gain insights into how we can design infrastructure, organize services and formulate regulations to better facilitate the safe use of AVs in Singapore.”
The Ministry of Transport (MOT) and LTA have also launched a Request for Information to seek inputs from the industry and research institutions on the key requirements and enables needed for the successful delivery of the AV pilot. To facilitate the preparations for the pilot deployment, RFI respondents have been invited to submit inputs on a variety of aspects such as concepts of operations, physical infrastructure requirements and system requirements.
The pilot deployment is expected to provide important insights into how we can further scale up the deployment of AVs throughout Singapore, whilst simultaneously developing new towns and refurbishing existing ones to allow for the mass distribution of AVs.
Permanent Secretary for Transport and Chairman of the Committee on Autonomous Road Transport in Singapore (CARTS), Mr Loh Ngai Seng, said, “The pilot deployment will take us into the next phase of the roadmap set out by CARTS for the deployment of AVs in Singapore, when we begin to progressively deploy AVs as a form of public transport in our towns. Safety and accessibility will be our top priorities.”