Position Papers
Dr. Shobhakar Dhakal
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility
Asia (AS)

De-coupling of urban mobility need from environmental degradation in Singapore

Energy use from fossil fuel is the fundamental cause of environmental emissions from urban transportation. Cities around the world have tried several measures that ranges from end-of-pipe interventions to more upstream measures such as containing travel demand in many forms by command and control to market based approaches. Energy demand itself is a ‘derived demand’; the real demand is for the goods and services. In case of urban transportation, it is the demand for travel that fulfils urban dweller’s need for mobility. Cities and economies often have limitations to contain growing travel demand for its possible negative effect on economic growth.

Since it independence, policy makers in Singapore have been serious about integrated urban, landuse and transportation planning. The fundamental motivation for Singapore was not environment but economic prospects, which envisioned being a prominent manufacturing, commercial and trading centre by utilising its unique geographical location. Singapore has been successful in meeting unprecedented travel demand while controlling congestion and environmental pollution to the acceptable limit (within WHO and EPA-USA level) while its economy grew from 7.5 billion S$ in 1965 to 138 billion S$ in 2001 (at 1990 market price).