Speech by Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Raymond Lim at the World Urban Transit Conference
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. A very warm welcome to all, especially to our friends and guests from abroad. It is a great pleasure for me to be here this morning for the opening of the World Urban Transit Conference.
Sustainable Development in the Rail Industry
2. Today, the challenge of urbanisation is apparent across the world. Rapid growth from urbanisation can exert great strain on resources like land, water, energy, housing, and transport.
3. In planning for future cities, development should not be at the expense of liveability and the environment. Our cities have to continue to be places where we can live, work and play, and should be preserved for our future generations to do likewise. It is critical, therefore, that our solutions strike a balance between growth and sustainability.
4. This applies to transport infrastructure and the rail industry as well. We have examples from around the world where engineering and innovation have produced technological breakthroughs. Creative and new applications of engineering solutions have improved the way we live, interact, and protect the environment. In Sweden, the entire railway network runs on renewable energy, generated from hydro-electric and wind-powered sources. This significantly reduces the carbon footprint of the railway.
Innovation and Going Green in Singapore
5. In Singapore, public transport is by far our most efficient mode of transport. In land scarce Singapore, mass public transportation is the most effective way of moving commuters quickly. It is also the most energy efficient way.
6. Today, our rail network is the backbone of our public transportation system, and about two million rail trips are taken every day. We have committed very significant resources to the expansion of our rail network in the next 10 to 15 years. We are also upgrading the existing rail network to have significantly higher capacity. We are doing all these as we expect that public transport ridership will double in the next decade, because of a higher population, and with our push to make public transport a choice mode with a much higher mode share of 70 per cent.
7. Innovation has been a key element in the development of Singapore’s rail system. When we opened our North East Line (NEL) in 2003, it was the world’s longest fully-underground, automated and driverless mass rapid transit line. The use of driverless technologies reduced manpower requirements and enhanced efficiency. Today, we are on track to complete the second generation of automated driverless transit lines - our Circle Line will be completed next year, and construction of our Downtown Line is currently ongoing.
8. In endeavouring to reduce Singapore’s carbon footprint, we have adopted other kinds of technology as well. The new Downtown Line trains will use the latest propulsion technology, and be able to apply regenerative brakes over a larger speed range during operation. This will result in a reduction in energy consumption. In addition, these trains will also use medium-frequency converters instead of conventional converters. This will result in weight saving of 1.4 tonnes, translating to a reduction of energy consumption of about 8,000 kilowatt-hours each year.
Green Mark for RTS
9. As a demonstration of the Land Transport Authority’s commitment towards sustainable development, it has collaborated with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to develop a Green Mark framework to benchmark the environmental protection and sustainable development measures adopted for our MRT systems.
10. This BCA-LTA Green Mark for Rapid Transit Systems (RTS) has three main pillars, namely: Effective Use of Energy, Environmental Protection, and Sustainable Development and Water Conservation. These pillars encompass measures like the use of regenerative energy equipment, recyclability of materials on trains, and the recycling of water within station air-conditioning systems.
11. With this framework, the Land Transport Authority will be able to identify specific areas of improvement to meet environmental and sustainable development objectives. By allowing for the benchmarking of future and current Rapid Transit Systems, the framework will pave the way for the adoption of green technologies in future MRT systems and incentivise improvement in the existing ones. For the operators, there will be tangible benefits in the form of lower energy consumption and added hedging against rise in energy costs in the future.
12. I am pleased to have this opportunity to announce that the Circle Line has been certified and awarded the Gold Award, under this new Green Mark framework for RTS.
13. In closing, let me congratulate the Land Transport Authority, and its partners – MSI Global Pte Ltd and the Association of Consulting Engineers Singapore – for organising this forum. I hope that by bringing industry experts, government officials and rail operators together over the course of this week, we will be able to promote green technologies and encourage the proliferation of new ones going forward.
14. I wish all of you a productive and invigorating conference.
Source: Ministry of Transport