... Singapore has done many good for the people and has been an inspiration model for many countries in many respects (e.g. CPF, COE, Garden City, Security, education, ERP, corruption free, and more...). This was the main reason we decided to move to Singapore eight years ago and is an important factor that is keeping us staying here. Therefore when I try to think of possible improvement I discovered that it is not easy not to risk the chances of upsetting some of the good systems already in place. Due to the nature of my job, I am used to identify big opportunities with relative small effort. Innovation, in commercial sense, is to achieve high sustainable gains with relatively low cost. It is with this frame of mind I am making the following suggestion with passion:
Reduce car, increase bicycle use for daily communiting
I am suggesting this based on following considerations:
- Physical inactivity is a major threat to people live in urban area and is recently confirmed (WHO, US-CDC) as danger as smoking. However, unlike smoking, this threat is not really known in public and it seems even harder to quit 'physical inactivity' then to quit smoking.
- Daily minimum 30 minutes exercise is the best way to combat the many symptoms of physical inactivity including: obesity, diabetics, heart diseases, colon cancers, hyper tensions and many more.
- Many advance countries is enhancing (i.e. Holland, Denmark) or adopting a pro-cycling policy (i.e. U.K., New York) in order to make it easy for people to choose this healthy form of commuting.
- Medical, insurance cost
- This is currently a hot topic for public debate and is a major concern for the aging population. If the cycling population increase, it is easy to anticipate that the public health will improve and the direct effect is lower burden in medical and insurance cost.
- More bicycles and less private cars help to reduce air pollution and traffic noise significantly.
- Each private car produce a lot of heat when driving on the road, less car also contribute to less ambient temperature
- Bicycle path is less demanding for road space and heavy duty flyovers. Therefore more cultural buildings can be maintained providing good connection to the pass.
- Less dependent on gas energy
- Cyclists can relates to each other much better then drivers in cars
- Cycling to school and cycling to work can bring people together
- A bicycle friendly Singapore helps to attract environment conscious, high quality talents from abroad
- Cycling is the most energy efficient form of moving people over short distance; it is therefore an ideal compliment to public mass transportation which is the most efficient form of moving people over longer distance.
- Current priority of LTA is first public mass transit, then buses, then Taxi, then private car. Bicycle as a mode of transportation should take the third place after buses because of its efficiency and many other benefits list here.
- Contribution to other countries and opportunity
- If Singapore succeeded in introducing and benefiting from a pro-cycling policy, it will definitely be look upon as yet another inspiration by many countries. I speak for my experience during my time in Holland, and Asian developed country as Singapore can serve as a real inspiration for many similar cities in Asia, including China and India.
- Commercial and economic
- The experience gained and the local (bicycle related) service industry developed can be expended to other countries.
- COE- current innovative way of handling car ownership in Singapore generates a very profitable operation due to COE system. It works partially due to the human desire of exclusive items. However, there is no reason why it can not be the same for 'luxurious' bicycles.
- However profitable the COE operation is, it can not be denial that when importing a car, it is a net expense from Singapore earning. For same amount of money of importing a simple car (~30K), we can import enough bicycles for 10 families.
- More valuable space: unlike shops along a motorway, shops along a bicycle path can benefit from the increased traffic easily without require dedicated parking space near by.
- Tourist- a bicycle friendly Singapore can be a tourist paradise. Imagine how attractive it can be for the visitors if they can roam freely around the island to visit different attractions? It will be a real unique experience for any visitor.
- Promoting cycling is much more then just importing bicycles. We can conduct cycling tour for tourist, bicycle training for children, cycle-together-to-work scheme… there are many innovation and service opportunities. It can be an important local industry that provides jobs for many people.
- It is known that the physical health of cyclist worker are 10 years younger than their physical-inactive counter parts, they are more alert at work and is more productive.
It is rare that a simple idea can have so many positive impact and so little negative consequences. However, it does take an open mind and personal experience to appreciate the full impact of the idea.