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In this report, my main focus is to study on how the Land Transport Authority is so successful in their railways transport such a way that they are able to provide all the commuters with a smooth trip to their various destinations. Firstly, I will be talk about the history of LTA and their objective and also their plan for the future. Then, I will talk more about the history of the Circle Line, building of Circle Line (stage 1 - 5) and Downtown Line (stage 1 - 3) also their benefits for having these two lines. Furthermore, I will using the SWOT analysis to analysis the strength, weakness, threats and opportunity that the LTA are facing when building the Circle Line and Downtown Line. I shall give recommendation and lastly, I will conduct an online survey to get some feedbacks from our commuters on what do they think about the Circle line and the Downtown line.
Background information of LTA
History of LTA
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is founded in 1 September 1995 and is a stat board under the Ministry of Transport whereby they are the leader of transport in the development in Singapore. LTA plans for a future term transport needs for every Singaporeans and taking care of those who are driving and taking public transport every day.
LTA merge four of the transport agent in Singapore. They are the Registry of Vehicles, Mass Rapid Transport Corporation, Road & Transportation Division of Public Works Department of Singapore and Land Transport Division of Ministry of Communications.
Their main objective is to provide commuters an efficient, cost-effective and people-centred land transport system for different needs and its vision to achieve a people-centred land transport system. There are 3 main objectives that LTA have, they are:
To deliver a land transport network that is open to everyone, well organized, cost effective and sustainable to meet the commuter's needs.
To ensure a quality environment while making optimal use of our public transport.
To develop policies that encourages commuters to choose the most appropriate transportation mode.
Plan for the future
Providing Singaporeans with a safe, cost-effective and people-centred land transport system has been the cornerstone of LTA. It is the Government's vision to make the rail network the backbone of Singapore's public transport system. By 2020, our railway network will be double, from 138km to 278km, making it more convenience for commuters to reach their destination and time saving. These new railway lines will cost over and above 20 billion. These new railway lines are commit for the Circle Line (CCL) and the Downtown line (DTL).
Railway Project - (Circle Line and Downtown Line)
History of Circle Line
In the 1990s, Circle Line is first known as Marina Line. According to plan, it was planned that it has 12 stations underground line starting from Chinatown and Dhoby Gaut via National Stadium to either Kallang or Paya Lebar station. But the Chinatown was later shortened and reduced to 6 stations up to Stadium station. However, a further extension was added towards Upper Paya Lebar. Finally, the Marina Line plan was ended up into an inner circular line which is now known as the Circle Line.
4.1.2 Circle Line (CCL)
By year 2010, the Circle Line will be fully complete. Cost $6.7 billion, the Circle Line will be fully underground station linking to the rest of the line leading to the city areas. The line will interchange with North-South Line (NSL), East-West Line (EWL) and North-East Line (NEL).
The Circle Line will be 33.3 km long with 29 stations. Starting from Dhoby Ghaut station, it will run through some of the busiest corridors in the city and end at Harbour Front station at North-East line. The Circle Line connecting the entire city centres and allows commuters to avoid station at the downtown are therefore reducing the congestion at City Hall and Raffles Place interchanges station.
CCL Stage 1:
The construction of the first stage of CCL will begin on March 2002. It serve commuters along Bras Basah, Marina Centre and the National Stadium area. This is to ensure that commuters living or working in that area will have a better access to the MRT station.
Stretching 5.4km, it will run underground from Dhoby Ghaut to Marina Centre then continue towards Nicoll Highway and then to Stadium Boulevard. When it is completely build, it will pass landmarks such as the Singapore Art Museum, Singapore Management University, Suntec City, Millenia Walk, Concourse building and the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
CCL Stage 2:
The construction of second stage of CCL will begin in the third quarter of year 2002. Under this stage, the line will be extended from Stadium Boulevard to Upper Payar Lebar Road/Bartley Road. Costing about $1.55 billion and spans 5.6km long, consists of five underground stations and an underground depot. These five stations are Mounthbatten station, Dakota station, Paya Lebar station, Macpherson station, Tai Seng station and Kim Chuan Depot.
CCL Stage 3:
The third stage of CCL costing $1.2billion and 5.7km long. Consist of five stations running from Bartley Road to Marymount Road and also two interchange stations at Serangoon (North-East Line) and Bishan (North-South Line). The construction will begin at third quarter of 2003.
CCL Stage 4 and 5:
The fourth and fifth stage of CCL will begin at third quarter of 2004, costing $2.5 billion and 17 km long consisting 13 stations. These stations start from Thomson station and end at Harbour Front station.
Most of the stations are located within walking distance of HDB flats, commercial and industrial buildings and commuters are able to transfer to different existing lines easily. With CCL, it also reduces the travelling time for most of the commuters. For instead, it will take 19 minutes to travel from Bishan to Buona Vista instead of 39 minutes because there is no need to transfer to a different line. (See example of time saving at Appendix).
Commuters are able to transfer to a different line after the CCL has completely built. Commuters are able to transfer to the other line based on the following table 1.0.
North South Line
Bishan, Dohby Ghaut and Marina Bay stations
East West Line
Paya Lebar and Buona Vista stations
North East Line
Dhoby Ghaut, Serangoon and Harbour Front stations
Table 1.0 - Interchange stations.
Downtown Line (DTL)
The Downtown Line (DTL) will be built into 3 stages with Stage 1 to be complete in 2013, Stage 2 to be completed in 2015 and Stage 3 in 2016. When it is fully completed, it will improve the Railway system network and facilitates direct travel from the North-western and Eastern areas of the island to the Centre Business District and Marina Bay. The DTL project estimated to see a daily ridership of more than half a million when it is full operation.
In 2005, LTA announced that Downtown Line Extension will serve the Downtown at Marina Bay area (DTMB) where integrated resort and Singapore's second botanical garden will be located. It is 3.4km fully underground and estimated $1.4 billion to construction. The construction of the extension will start in 2007 and will be completed by 2012.
In 2007, it was announced that stage 1 of the extension will connect Promenade station with Bugis. It is 4.3km with 6 stations segment running fully underground from Chinatown station on North East line to Bugis station on the East West Line.
Three new stations will construct underground linking Bugis station on the East West Line, Promenade station on the Circle Line and the Chinatown station on the North East Line.
16.6km long Downtown Line Stage 2 (DTL 2) includes one depot and twelve stations, including 3 interchange stations at Little India, Newton and the Botanic Gardens. All these 3 interchange stations will link to the North East Line (NEL), North South Line (NSL) and Circle Line (CCL) respectively, providing commuters a great accessibility to the rest of the island and improve the travelling time.
Benefits of DTL 2
DTL 2 bring a greater convenience to residents living in Bukit Panjang and Bukit Timah whereby they can take train directly to city areas such as Orchard Road and Clarke Quay which is now currently not linked to the Bukit Timah corridor by the railway system. It will offer commuters a significant travelling time. For example, resident from Bukit Panjang take one hour journey to the city centre will be reduced by a third, approximately 40 minutes journey. DTL 2 also improves accessibility to the other parts of Singapore conveniently transfer to other MRT line as there are 3 interchange stations at DTL 2.
4.2.3 Stage 3
Downtown Line Stage 3 (DTL 3) is 21 km long is the full stretch of the 42km Downtown Line. It will improve the railway system in the eastern corridors to the Central Business District (CBD) and developments in the Marina Bay area. It has 16 stations including 3 interchange stations at Macpherson, Tampines and Expo. These interchange stations will link to Circle Line (CCL) and East West Line (EWL) provide greater accessibility to various location in Singapore and shorten the travelling time.
Benefits of DTL Stage 3
DTL 3 will have easy access to Marina Bay area including the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and the Marina Bay Financial Centre. DTL 3 will also complement East-West Line (EWL) and resident from Macpherson, Bedok Reservoir and Kaki Bukit area will have a shorter travelling time. For example, a Tampines resident travelling to Kaki Bukit will have his travelling journey reduced by more than half from 25 minutes by bus to 10 minutes by DTL 3. Beside time savings, DTL 3 will also have interchange with the East-West Line (EWL) at Tampines and Expo stations to serve the Changi Business Park developments. (Time saving for DTL 3 at Appendix).
With 3 interchange stations, DTL 3 will improve accessibility to other areas:
Other MRT Line
Macpherson interchanges station
DTL 3 to CCL
Workers coming from the north and north-west of Singapore.
Access industrial estates of Ubi and Kaki Bukit which are 1 to 2 stations away from Macpherson station.
Tampines interchanges station
Future Tampines transport hub
Provide seamless access for commuters who frequent Tampines Regional Centre.
Expo interchanges station
DTL 3 to East-West Line (EWL)
Convenient access for companies in Changi Business Park.
The needs for students from walking to future university.
Table 1.1 - DTL 3 interchange to other Lines.
LTA first strength for creating so many new railway projects are to allow more commuters to enjoy short travelling time. For example, Bukit Panjang to city area will require about one hour travelling time. With Downtown Line, it will cut down 15 minutes from their one hour travelling time. This also benefits commuters who are staying in the Bedok Resrvoir and Tampines area whereby their travelling time will be cut down by 10 minutes.
Second strength is to avoid major congestion in interchanges during the peak hours and also allow commuters able to pass through city areas like City Hall or Raffles place.
Last strength is to reduce the air pollution by asking commuters to take public transport rather than driving their own public transport.
Collapsed of Nicoll Highway
On 20 April 2004, a tunnel being constructed for use by MRT trains collapsed. The tunnel was part of the construction of the underground Circle Line near the Nicoll Highway MRT station. The supporting structure for the deep excavation work failed resulting in a 30-metre deep cave that spread across six lanes of Nicoll Highway.
The impact of Nicoll Highway collapsed causes gas, water and electricity cables snapped, causing power to go out for 15,000 people and 700 businesses in Marina and Suntec City area. Tremors were also felt at Golden Mile complex, tenants and resident in the building were also evacuated. Police were immediately sealed all the roads leading to Nicoll Highway, affecting thousands of Singaporeans.
As a result of the collapse, the works at all MRT Circle Line sites were all temporarily suspended. Originally, Circle Line were schedule to open in 2008 but was delayed until 2010.
Price increase for raw material:
LTA previously estimated budget has been overshot and LTA has to compensate the contractors 75% of the cost increase in sand and aggregate. As thicker retaining walls and more stringent design and engineering requirements is needed after the collapsed of the Nicoll Highway station in 2004.
The opportunity for LTA is that there are local company and overseas company willing to joint venture to help them in the construction of Circle Line and Downtown Line. This company scope is mainly on civil work. Each of this company has their own successful project in Singapore and other parts of the world.
Some of these companies for CCL Stage 1- 5 construction are Nishimatsu Construction Co. Ltd, Lum Chang Building Contractors Pte Ltd, Who Hup Pte Ltd, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd, NCC International AB and Alpine Group and Kim Chuan Depot is by Hock Lian Seng Infrastructure Pte Ltd.
And for the Downtown Line Stage 1 - 3 companies are Shimizu Corporation, Gammon Construction Limited and Alpine Bau GmbH (Singapore branch).
These railway projects are run through some of the busiest roads in Singapore and most of the stations are builds underground. In carrying out construction works, LTA need to divert traffic through the affected areas. There will be a lane to lane replacement where possible.
Other threats are engineers face soft soil condition when boring tunnel for the underground station and also facing interface of tunnels with Kallang Paya Lebar Expressway tunnel, the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System and PowerGrid's cable near the Upper Paya Lebar/ Airport Road junction.
In overall, as the population in Singapore have been increasing every year and the number of commuters who taking train increase every 10 years, LTA has the needs to plan for the future and to provide the nation a better transport and time saving transport. With the current project that LTA are working on which is the Circle Line and Downtown Line. Base on the online survey that I have done, I can conclude that many of the Singaporeans are aware of the new railways that are currently working on. With some of the train stations of the Circle Line have already being used and most of the Singaporeans find it faster and convenient. Most of the Singaporeans are looking forward with the completion of the whole railway project so that they can travel to various destinations without troubles.
Comparison between LTA and other companies
Name of company
Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co. Ltd
Bored tunnelling and underground structures
North East Line, Construction of Circle Line, Millenia, Convention Centre, Museum and Dhoby Ghaut stations.
NCC International AB
Construction and development of residential, commercial properties, industrial facilities and civil-engineering structures.
Construction of Marina Line.
Nishimatsu Construction Co., Ltd
Design and infrastructure services such as marine airport, highways, dams, tunnel and railways.
Construction of Circle Line stage 1.
Lum Chang Holdings Limited
Institution, civil and infrastructure, commercial, residential, hotels and leisure, hospital, industrial
Changi Water Reclamation Plant for the Public Utilities Board, UOB Plaza 1, Singapore Marriott Hotel, new National Library and National University of Singapore.
Woh Hup Pte Ltd
Residential, institutional, industrial, hotel projects, commercial projects and civil engineering works.
Design and construction of Circle Line, Millenia, Convention Centre, Museum, Dhoby Ghaut stations, Serangoon station, Deep Tunnel Sewerage Scheme contract.
Hock Lian Seng Infrastructure Pte Ltd
Civil and infrastructure engineering, building material business and equipment and leasing services.
Bukit Batok and Bukit Panjang Stations, Construction of Kim Chuan Depot and Design and Construction of Depot for Downtown Line (In progress).
architectural, engineering, offers planning, designing and builds solutions for wide range of construction and engineering project
Changi Airport Terminal 3, Ngee Ann City and Punggol Reservoir.
Gammon construction Limited
Expertise in piling, foundations, substructures, tunnelling, bridges, building and water storage.
Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West Campus, Chinatown Station
Land Transport Authority
Planning and construction of railway projects, Engineering, Road projects and road matters.
North East Line, Changi Airport Extension.
Table 1.1 - Comparison between LTA and other companies.
The table shows that most of the companies that work with LTA have the same expertise that is to do civil and infrastructure engineering. After looking at the past achievement those other companies that have done in Singapore, they aren't problems in them. With the help these companies, LTA would not find any problems in construction the Circle Line and Downtown Line.
I would have recommend commuters who take trains to their destination should take Circle Line or Downtown line after it is completely build. The reason is because it is very convenient as there are many interchange stations on the North South Line, East West Line and North East Line. Other than that, it saves up the travelling time as compare to the last time when it takes about 5 to 20 minutes less to reach their destination.