SINGAPORE has one of the most cost-efficient public transport networks in the world, according to a study released yesterday.
The study by London consulting firm Credo sought to calculate the economic cost of inefficient transport to 35 cities, as well as the benefits of investing in transport.
It derived the cost of commuting using factors such as journey time, fares, crowding levels, and ease of using the network. The more efficient a transport network, the lower the impact on productivity.
The study found that in Singapore, the economic cost of transport to a commuter is 8.9 per cent of gross domestic product per capita. Mr Chris Malloy, a partner at Credo, described the rating as the proportion of a person's time that is unproductive due to transport.
The study divided the 35 cities into three groups.
Singapore was ranked first in the high density compact centres group, slightly ahead of Hong Kong (9.2 per cent), and other cities such as Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo and Beijing.
Copenhagen (8.6 per cent) topped the well-established cities group, while Santiago in Chile (11 per cent) was first in the emerging cities group.
The study praised Singapore for its high capacity system that meets current demand and "highly integrated governance" which has created sufficient plans for future demand. It saw the upcoming Downtown Line as another plus, and listed high "reliability and punctuality levels" as a strength.
However, it cited a relatively low network density that leaves some areas poorly connected and an ageing bus fleet as challenges.
There may be scope for more investment to improve Singapore's rail network density, it said, and stressed continuous investment to maintain standards.
However, at least one transport academic cautioned against setting too much stock in the study. Said Professor Lee Der Horng from the National University of Singapore: "Knowing our standing with other countries is important, but at the end of the day we still have local issues to be addressed."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.