Singapore

Satellite-based ERP system to start from middle of 2023: LTA

Installation of a new on-board unit (OBU) will start in latter half of next year, says LTA

Singapore will switch to a satellite-based electronic road pricing (ERP) system in the middle of 2023, but plans to charge motorists according to the distances they clock have been put on hold.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday said installation of a new on-board unit (OBU), which replaces the current in-vehicle unit, will start in the latter half of next year. The initial unit will be free of charge.

LTA had previously said installation would start by the end of this year. Because the Covid-19 pandemic impacted global supply chains, the exercise - which involves close to one million vehicles - will commence next year and take place over 18 months.

The new ERP system will switch on in mid-2023, with the existing cordon-based congestion pricing framework still in place.

The ERP charging locations will also be clearly indicated on "smaller and slimmer gantries".

In a Facebook post yesterday, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said: "How ERP works will not change. What will change is there is no need for big gantries anymore. Also, the in-vehicle unit will need to be replaced - FOC - (by) a new one, with a bigger screen that can display maps, traffic info and safety alerts."

REAL-TIME TRAFFIC UPDATES

The new ERP system will have more features. Besides providing information on charging locations and rates, the OBU will provide real-time traffic updates as well as locations of nearby School Zones and Silver Zones, LTA said.

Classic and vintage car owners will be given the option to install the OBU.

But those who choose not to will be subject to further usage restrictions, as well as separate congestion fees.

The new OBU will have two designs - a one-piece unit for motorcycles; and for other vehicles, a three-piece system comprising an antenna, a touchscreen display to be mounted on the windscreen and a processing unit which can be mounted beneath the dashboard.

The new OBU is compatible with the current ERP systems and carparks. Motorists continue to use Nets FlashPay and EZ-Link cards, or credit or debit cards, to make payment.

LTA said the privacy of motorists will be safeguarded.

Nanyang Business School Adjunct Associate Professor Zafar Momin said until distance-based charging is available, "it sounds like we will probably just have a slightly upgraded cordon-based charging ERP system with a few more bells and whistles".

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