By Peter Hyland | 12 Nov 2019

Singapore is a high density, high liveability city. This is facilitated by its integrated planning approach and model for new growth centres, supported by a world class transport system.

According to a 2018 global survey by Mercer, Singapore ranked number 1 globally for its city infrastructure and number 1 in the Asia region for its quality of living. Singapore’s integrated city-shaping approach presents itself as a key benchmark for many cities, and in particular Sydney as it continues to grow and define its future vision. 

Speaking at the recent Urban Taskforce ‘Cities Shaped by Transport’ Conference, Cistri Regional Director Peter Hyland compared Sydney and Singapore – cities similar in population but with differing approaches to public transport and infrastructure. Following are highlights from Peter’s presentation.  

Since the 2001 Concept Plan, Singapore has adopted a decentralisation city strategy, which includes:

  • The West: A beacon of Singapore’s industrial development since independence, the West will continue to be the country’s largest manufacturing and innovation hub, bringing 200,000 additional jobs once completed and 24 new Jurong Region Line stations by 2028.
  • Second CBD: Jurong Lake District (JLD) will be the largest mixed-use business district outside the city centre. It will be served by 4 MRT lines by 2035 and will integrate autonomous vehicles to improve efficiency of public transport buses.
© Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved. Click to enlarge.

In Singapore less than 39% of households own a car, whereas in Sydney 81.4% of houses own at least one. When you take look at affordability and efficiency of transport it becomes clear why.

Singapore is well ahead of Sydney in moving off cars towards public transport that includes buses and metro rail. Singapore makes it very expensive to own a car through taxes and congestion charges on access to urban areas, but this is balanced with an efficient and affordable public transport system that most people use.

Public transport affordability is much greater in Singapore. Click to enlarge. *Thursday 8:00am, AUD

Building up and around transport nodes allows for high density and high liveability to co-exist in a way that is supported by reliable public transport. Known as Transport Oriented Developments (TODs), successful TODs are created by an integrated mix of uses which vary according to location, demographic and economic needs. 

The Great Sydney Region Plan: A Metropolis of Three Cities is built on a vision of three distinct cities where most residents live within 30 minutes of their jobs, education and health facilities, services and great places. This vision supports the economic efficiency of trade gateways. 

By 2036, it is expected that almost half of the projected population (6 million) will live west of Parramatta. With this growth, an estimated 817,000 additional jobs and 725,000 additional homes will be added to the market.

Source: Greater Sydney Commission. Click to enlarge.

An integrated and long term approach to land use and transport is crucial – and as demonstrated by Singapore, achievable. Sydney is undergoing an exciting phase of growth and infrastructure evolution, and with considered planning is set to be a city that too boasts high liveability. 

View Peter Hyland’s analysis of Singapore’s Public Transport systems in the presentation below. 

Header photo by Swapnil Bapat on Unsplash.