I fear for the day when we run out of roads in Singapore and traffic congestion akin to Bangkok's or Jakarta's plagues our city. Peak hours are the worst times to drive in and while the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system has helped to divert some of the traffic away, traffic delays are still inevitable.
In a recent study done by TomTom, a provider of in-car location and navigation products and services, it was revealed that Clementi and Bukit Timah are the most congested areas during peak hours both in the morning and evening.
The purpose of the study was to highlight areas in Singapore that are most affected by congestion, in an attempt to help motorists consider alternative routes and departure times.
Statistics of the study showed almost 150 per cent increase in travel time from Clementi and Bukit Timah to the city centre between 8:00 to 9:00am compared to times of no traffic between 1:00 to 5:00am.
Evening peak hour traffic is worst from the city centre back to Tampines, Bukit Timah and Clementi between 5:00 to 7:00pm with almost 100 per cent increase in travel time. The central reference point for the city centre was Raffles Place, where business district Shenton Way is.
Residents of Clementi and Bukit Timah have lots to grumble about as they tolerate the traffic delays and congestion every morning as well as every evening of the work week. Wilson Wong, a pet shop owner, lives at Hume Avenue in Bukit Timah and takes 20 minutes just to get from his place to get to the entrance of the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE).
He said, "I leave for work at about 9 in the morning and the traffic is very bad. From my condo to the PIE entrance it takes a good 20 minutes and that does not even include my commute to my workplace. Another congested part in the area is the flyover outside the Garden Vista condominium all the way to the Ayer-Rajah Expressway exit. Coming home from work is not too bad as I make my way home only after 7pm."
For customer service officer Andrew Chia who lives in Tampines, getting home from work can become quite a nightmare. "I usually try to leave work after 8pm so I can avoid the jams as well as ERP. But if I have to go home earlier, what would normally be a 10-minute journey home (in times of smooth flowing traffic) would take about 45 minutes. Once, I was stuck for about two hours due to an accident!" he said.
Charles Ma, who is in the marketing and communications line, also lives in Tampines and experiences the same headache as Chia every evening. "I leave work at about 7pm and I've not driven home during non-peak hours before so I'm always caught in the traffic jams. In fact, I also encounter traffic delays in the morning. It takes me about 45 minutes to get from home to my workplace at Lorong Chuan. I take about 30 minutes just to get out of the jam at Tampines!"
The result of this study was concluded from anonymous user data collected on TomTom GPS products and mobile applications over a six-month period. The information consists of the actual speed data from vehicles equipped with a TomTom GPS who drove on the roads surveyed and the recorded travel times are an average of all measurements along the route during the relevant time intervals. The same data forms the basis of IQ Routes, TomTom's intelligent routing technology, that enables drivers to look for alternative travel paths.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.