Given the land constraint in Singapore, there is insufficient space to accommodate a high level of car ownership. In fact, the land area currently taken up by the road network is already about 12%, comparable to that used for housing (14%).
If the VQS were to be discarded and we were to rely only on road pricing to manage traffic congestion, ERP charges would have to be very much higher than today’s rates in order to achieve the same level of traffic restraint. A much more extensive coverage of ERP would also be needed. These would have an adverse impact on businesses, especially transportation or freight forwarding companies and retail businesses in the Central Business District (CBD). Being recurrent and charged on a daily basis, high ERP charges may be more unacceptable than a one-time high upfront ownership cost.
Therefore, a two-pronged approach should be retained i.e. VQS to control the growth rate of the vehicle population and hence the overall demand for road space; while ERP manages congestion on specific roads/areas by restraining vehicle usage.
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