Singapore’s new car cap will keep over 1,500 cars from hitting its roads in a year

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced yesterday (Oct. 23) that it’s setting the new growth target for cars and motorcycles at 0%, replacing the present rate of 0.25%. The new target will come into effect from February next year.

The body noted that the change is necessary as Singapore faces “limited scope for further expansion of the road network,” with roads making up 12% of Singapore’s land area. By 2030, planners propose that up to 19% of Singapore’s land could be used for mobility within the territory and external connectivity, such as a new airport terminal that is coming into use next week. The country’s population of 5.6 million is expected to rise to nearly 7 million by then.

Car ownership is heavily restricted in Singapore and involves bidding for a costly certificate of entitlement, of which a small number are available each month. How many of those are actually available depends as much on how many cars are de-registered as on the net growth rate being targeted. For example, right now Singapore’s target allows for a 0.25% increase in cars with reference to the December 2016 figure, when there were 601,218 cars across two categories (pdf), by engine size. That allowed for a net addition of 374 cars (pdf) each quarter from February through January 2018. But the actual number of certificates available each month from November to January is around 6,100, since nearly 20,000 cars were de-registered between July and September.

The cap will keep more than 1,500 additional cars* from hitting the road in the year from February, compared with the current rate. The growth rate will next be reviewed in 2020.

Along with strictly curtailing car ownership, Singapore has continued to upgrade its metro system, though it doesn’t always operate as efficiently as expected of this mostly well-run city-state. Singapore has also been experimenting with shared cars and driverless taxis. Later this year, the country is expected to see the start of its first large-scale shared electric-car program. The program, which involves French transport company Bolloré, will eventually involve a total of 500 charging stations and 1,000 electric vehicles, the LTA said last month.