The next generation of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology will allow the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to recalibrate all its current policies in managing car ownership and usage, including how our taxi and bus fleets support the movement of people ("Distance-based ERP on the way"; last Thursday).
It will also make for safer roads.
Road tax could be eliminated, and distance-based pricing should have a tiered structure based on carbon dioxide emissions, time of day and which part of the road one is on.
Charges should not be levied between midnight and the early morning, when the road network is underutilised.
Petrol and diesel taxes can also be done away with - currently, they are used to manage usage, with the undesirable consequence of drivers filling up across the Causeway.
An ERP system using GPS should not only be calibrated to allow automated parking payment, but also be able to track illegal parking, making enforcement a lot more effective.
Minimising illegal parking makes for smoother traffic flow and safer roads.
Parking can now be used as a tool for managing ownership and usage more effectively.
Almost all car owners living in HDB estates pay for parking space at their residences, so, free roadside parking in private housing estates should be eliminated.
Parking should not be subsidised for certain groups of car owners, as they will then have the ability to bid higher for certificates of entitlement (COEs).
Potentially, we may even have the ability to increase the COE quota and lower COE cost, as long as we manage where these cars are parked, as well as how often and when they are on the roads.
The LTA will now also have real-time information on where each vehicle is on the road.
"Disappearing taxis" at certain times of the day can be dealt with more effectively.
Speeding will be a thing of the past and can be clamped down upon in school zones and where heavy vehicles are concerned.
Emergency response vehicles can be tracked and traffic corridors created to allow them quicker access to their destinations.
I urge the LTA to take bold steps with this opportunity.
Phang Fook Ghay
This article was first published on October 6, 2014.
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