Green Transport

Singapore's first Car Free Day was launched in 2001. It was the beginning of a series of campaigns to encourage more Singaporeans to take up greener forms of transport and to gradually reduce their dependence on privately owned cars.

Singapore, as a small island city-state, cannot afford to ignore the effects that transport has on health and the environment. Her economy depends on an efficient transport system to deliver smoothly a flow of goods and personnel to where they are needed.

In 2004 there were more than 471,000 cars registered in Singapore. Such a large number of private cars reduces the efficiency of the transport system by taking up road space that is needed by public transport and commercial vehicles.

It is simply more energy efficient and cost effective in a city such as Singapore to transport people on mass transit systems instead of private cars.

Our limited supply of land also means that we have to allocate resources to transport systems very carefully. As it is, the land devoted to roads and support structure occupy 12 per cent of Singapore's total area, which is nearly the same amount taken up by residential purposes. In contrast, gazetted nature reserves take up less than three per cent.

Our small size amplifies the need to keep the environment as pristine as possible. One of the easiest things within our power to allow this to happen is to make a decision to adopt greener forms of transport.

Green Transport Tips

Increase the Fuel Economy of your Car

Since 1 January 08, registrable goods must carry energy labels under the Environmental Protection and Management Act (EPMA). Choose the vehicle with the maximum fuel efficiency for greener driving! More information on the Mandatory Fuel Economy Labelling Scheme can be found here.


Car-sharing schemes have grown in popularity since they first started here in 1997. Today, the total number of members under various company schemes is about 10,000.

The car sharing concept originated in Europe in the late 1940s and 1950s to provide people with the benefits of using cars through the sharing of common resources, i.e. a fleet of cars.

In Singapore, the idea is particularly viable since it provides us with an ecologically friendly and low-cost method that increases our transport system's efficiency.

NTUC Income was responsible for setting up the first car sharing cooperative in Singapore in May 1997, modelling it after those found in Germany , France and Britain. Initially, it was established to service the estates of Serangoon North and Toh Yi Drive, off Upper Bukit Timah Road .

Car sharing schemes work by having members share the use of a communal fleet of cars. Members arrange to have a car at different times. Hence, a person has the convenience of driving a car without the stress of hefty monthly installments.

Besides eliminating the burden of owning and maintaining a car, there are also a number of important environmental benefits brought about by car-sharing schemes.

Car-sharing tips
1. Reducing congestion:
Each car in a shared fleet can serve the function of up to six or even more privately owned vehicles.

By reducing the number of privately owned cars, the potential for car-sharing to help ease congestion on the roads is considerable. This can happen because car sharing encourages users to plan their trips carefully, cutting down on the number of unnecessary trips made with a car.

Car sharing members are charged by the amount of usage logged, thereby discouraging unnecessary use, unlike a private car owner who would use his car as much as he can.

Members of car sharing schemes also tend to sell the cars they own or decide against buying a second car.

2. Cutting emissions:
Car-sharing reduces the distance that members travel in their cars annually, because they drive only when they need to.

In Singapore, 87 per cent of members in NTUC's car-sharing co-op average only 2,000km in distance driven each year, which is much less than half the average mileage of the average private car owner.

Car-sharing users also utilise public transport much more, increasing usage of the public transport system.

What all this means is that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide emissions, is reduced significantly.

3. Better connections:
Car-sharing schemes also provide better connection between different modes of transport, making it easier for people to connect to major public transport nodes and reducing the need to drive.

For example, the NTUC Income Car Co-op has a site situated at Buona Vista MRT station. This allows members travelling to areas near Buona Vista to pick up a car and drive to their destination instead of driving a longer distance from another part of Singapore.

In Bukit Batok, NTUC Income also operates a bicycle-sharing scheme. For a mere 50 cents for half an hour, members of the scheme can use the bikes to bring themselves to the MRT station or to run errands within the estate. Visit for details

4. Helps cut spending:
Members of NTUC Income's car-sharing scheme spend an average of about $50 per trip.

Assuming that members make use of the scheme twice a week, they would pay about $400 a month or $4,800 per year. This is about half the amount a car owner has to spend on his car, including maintenance, insurance, and excluding depreciation and the time saved by not having to deal with these issues.

Make the Switch to Public Transport

Public transport is a convenient, affordable and eco-friendly alternative to commuting by car. Singapore's public transport network is amongst the best in the world, with comprehensive, punctual and accessible networks of buses and trains.

To plan your journeys via public transport as cheaply and efficiently as possible, check out SBS Transit, Singapore Street Directory Online or GoThere.SG.

Green Transport Alternatives

Buy a foldable bicycle. A nice one costs about $600 or less and the cost will be recouped in a year of regular use.

The foldable bike will be the key to being able to connect quickly and comfortably between your home and the location where your shared car is parked and the MRT station. On the days you don't drive, use the foldable to get to the MRT station. If the MRT station is within 3km of your home, you can cycle there within 10 minutes and with minimal exertion.

When you arrive at the car port to pick up the shared car or at the MRT station, simply fold the bike and stow it in the boot, or push it with you onto the train. The SMRT allows packages that are 81cm x 58cm x 30cm in dimensions and many foldable bikes fold down to about this size.

The foldable bike has two key benefits:

  1. The foldable bike increases your speed (over walking) and mobility, while saving you cash when you are not taking the bus or train for some trips. It saves you the trouble of walking or taking a feeder bus service to the MRT station or the car-port.
  2. Your health is improved because you are cycling more than before, and cycling is a gentle sport that strengthens your lungs and heart.

Many studies have shown that cycling helps to improve fitness and reduce individual spending on healthcare. If your job requires you to stay seated in front of the computer for most of the day, seriously consider including some physical activity in your day (walking to lunch is not significant exercise unless you intend to spend 15 minutes walking briskly to reach your lunch spot).
With a car-sharing membership and a foldable bicycle in hand, you are ready to sell your car or simply forget about buying one.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License