Reaching the ‘Treasury’ through a journey on public transport through the eyes of Soma Hegdekatte and Prutha Deshpande!
Our visit to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) came after our meeting with the Finance Minister and a long walk through the Marina Bay area. Even before we reached the LTA office, we got a chance to take a ride on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and experience how successful the LTA has been in transforming the transportation system in Singapore. As we walked through the gallery, we realized that our present mechanisms for traffic control had been used in Singapore many years ago and our transportation system in general, could clearly benefit from studying the example that Singapore sets for us.
Singapore has been able to push ahead as they have made the necessary developments required to meet the changing needs of their people. Most organizations in Singapore, including the LTA have been so successful in their functioning mainly because of their efforts in planning and their possession of an educated foresight in relation to the activities they undertake.
The single most important lesson that we can learn from Singapore is the necessity of efficient planning. It is largely because of this enterprise that Singapore has been able to tackle their land constraint issues. The very nature of the people of Singapore, of being so thoroughly resourceful, is a matter of amazement to us.
The growing number of vehicles on roadways is a problem in cosmopolitan cities worldwide and Singapore has been able to counter this to a pretty large extent by employing two basic ideas. The simpler of the two would be to increase the number of transportation routes but this obviously has limitations. Somehow, even these limitations have been pushed by their amazing ability to optimize land use. The second initiative is their promotion of using public means of transportation over private. A lot of concentrated efforts have been put forward for the same. Improvements are constantly made in technology, efficiency, connectivity, affordability and accessibility to ensure that public means of transport are favoured over private means. The increased use of public transport has done wonders in decreasing road congestion in Singapore. Testimony to this is the fact that we don’t remember being caught in a single traffic jam during our visit.
In India, where a large section of the population cannot afford to travel using private means of transportation, it is indeed quite sad that public transport is so poorly maintained and so rarely improved. Developing our public transport system would certainly have a huge positive outcome.
It would also do us good to take up Singapore’s initiative of thinking about the environmental consequences of every developmental action. No compromises are made when it comes to going green and this path has proved to make perfect business sense. The attention paid to landscaping around every project taken up is truly admirable. Sustainable development is after all one of India’s long term goals.
As said by Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, we must certainly look at the success stories the world has to offer, but in the end, the solutions for the progress of our country, in any field, must be our own.