Big Idea No. 10: Downsize the PIE

Big Idea No. 10: Downsize the PIE

MY BIG Idea No. 10 in this series of essays on Singapore's future is easy to remember but hard to implement: "Downsize the PIE."

This idea came to my mind when I saw a huge sign along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) saying "Upsize the PIE". It was a clever play on words.

It is always good to increase the size of the pie, literally speaking. However, in land-scarce Singapore, how could we possibly celebrate the fact that we are expanding road space?

Every square metre we give up for road usage means a square metre less for a more environmentally friendly use. Already, Singapore uses up to 12 per cent of its land for road usage, probably one of the highest in the world.

Can we reduce road space in Singapore? Yes, we can!

With the arrival of new technology and new systems of transportation, we can have an alternative dream for Singapore.

To put it simply, my dream for Singapore is to reduce the number of vehicles from one million to 300,000.

Indeed, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study has concluded the following: "Results suggest that an Automated Mobility-on-Demand (AMoD) solution could meet the personal mobility needs of the entire population of Singapore with a fleet whose size is approximately 1/3 of the total number of passenger vehicles currently in operation.

"Moreover, a financial analysis indicates AMoD systems are a financially viable alternative to more traditional means of accessing personal mobility."

To achieve this dream, we have to make three big changes.

All these big changes are possible. However, they will only be possible if we slip out of our comfort zones and think outside the box. In short, we have to think and dream big like the founding fathers of Singapore. If they had not done this, Singapore would not have succeeded.

Let us go back to this tradition and dream big and dream bold.

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