Transporting Singapore--The Air-Conditioned Nation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, mode - mass transit


Transportation policy, Transportation planning, Transit, Singapore, Public transit, Mass transit, Local transit, Decision making, Climate control, Case studies, Air conditioning systems


The role of a metaphor of centrally controlled air conditioning in governing Singaporean transport planning is examined, and its consequences evaluated. A modern transportation system has been put in place to link a hierarchy of central places. Tight government control has made change possible. A reliance on technical expertise at the expense of public involvement has, however, failed to develop public transport to effectively serve a range of dispersed-destination travel needs. Regulatory approaches, furthermore, have discouraged service innovation. Policies making car purchase expensive have restricted car ownership. Effective change would be facilitated by involving a highly educated public more in decision-making.