S'pore to make cycling 'viable transport option for short trips': Khaw

SINGAPORE - Singapore wants to make cycling more than just a recreational activity, turning it into a 'viable transport option for short trips', National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in his blog on Wednesday.

In his blog, Mr Khaw referred to research findings by Singapore's Our Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) and the US-based Urban Land Institute (ULI), which concluded that when more people walk or cycle in a city, there are "substantial benefits" to the individual, society, environment and the economy. The findings were published in a book launched today in Singapore and New York, he said.

He said that Singapore's planning has always embraced "active mobility" - walking and cycling - with good pavements, sheltered walkways, and pedestrian priority at traffic junctions. But he also noted that we lag behind cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where "walking and cycling as modes of transport have been honed to be the normal way of life".

He pointed out that walking and cycling make up more than 50 per cent of the modes of transport in those cities, while cycling only forms 1-2 per cent of our transport modes here.

Singapore's National Cycling Plan envisions a 700km cycling network by 2030, he said. The Government is also exploring bike sharing schemes and increasing safety education programmes for school students.

"We must now go beyond cycling for recreation. We want it to be a viable transport option for short trips to the supermarket, coffee shop, hawker centre or the nearest MRT station. To do so, we must make such trips safe and pleasant," Mr Khaw wrote.