The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has set the gears in motion for its advanced ERP 2.0 system, with company vehicles slated to be the first recipients of the new on-board units (OBUs) starting 1 November.
This development marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s transport management strategy, albeit not without its share of public skepticism and logistical concerns.
Initially unveiled by then-Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in 2013, the satellite-based ERP system was a forward-looking solution, promising features such as couponless street parking and dynamic charging for off-peak cars.
However, the journey from conception to realization has been anything but smooth. The project, which was supposed to be operational by 2020, faced delays, first to 2021, and then to the second half of 2023, due to a global microchip shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adding to the project’s complexity are the logistics involved in the installation of OBUs across the multitude of vehicles on Singapore’s roads.
“All other vehicles will be progressively fitted with the OBU, beginning with new vehicles from the first quarter of 2024,” the LTA outlined in its phased approach, ensuring a structured rollout.
The remaining vehicles, especially older models, will follow in batches, with installations “based on the age of the vehicles.” This process is estimated to conclude by the end of 2025, underscoring the scale and meticulousness this initiative demands.
In a move reflecting its commitment to a seamless transition, the LTA has announced that all eligible Singapore-registered vehicles, except those approaching mandatory deregistration, will receive their OBUs free of charge.
Furthermore, installation costs will be waived for motorists who comply within the stipulated two-month period in their notification from the authority. This strategy indicates an understanding of the financial considerations many vehicle owners face, especially following the economic impact of the pandemic.
As the city-state modernizes its road pricing system, LTA emphasizes the necessity of the new technology: “All Singapore-registered vehicles must have the new OBU installed.” For a holistic experience, motorists are “strongly encouraged” to install all three components of the OBU to utilize the full spectrum of features, including future capabilities like roadside parking payment.
Nonetheless, acknowledging the initial public pushback over the proposed OBU design, the LTA has granted motorists the option to forgo the touchscreen display.
Alternative access to essential OBU functionalities will be available through compatible mobile applications, including the ERP 2.0 app and others listed on LTA’s OneMotoring site.
This concession has been made possible through the release of a software development kit for app developers, ensuring that ERP 2.0 data integration adheres to “strict security safeguards.”
The comprehensive nature of the OBU is further evidenced by the functionalities offered via the touchscreen display. From real-time updates on ERP charges to safety alerts regarding Silver Zones – areas with reduced speed limits to protect seniors – the system is designed to provide a multifaceted interface for motorists.
The LTA assures that, despite these advancements, there will be no immediate change to the current ERP charging mechanisms during this transition period.
However, the authority’s stance on the full utilization of ERP 2.0’s technical capabilities, especially distance-based charging, remains cautious and reserved.