The tiny Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore says it will stop adding vehicles to its roadways as of next February, citing a lack of space on its crowded roads.
Singapore already had tight limits on the ownership and use of private passenger vehicles; currently, it allows the number of cars to increase by just 0.25 percent per year. But even that is too much, says the government, which is ratcheting that down to zero after January 2018.
Right now, if you live in Singapore and want a car, you have to buy a permit that allows you to own a car, the least expensive of which costs more than $41,000 Singapore dollars, which works out to a little less than $39,000 Canadian dollars. And just to be clear, that doesn’t include the cost of the vehicle itself—that’s just the permit.
The website for Singapore’s Land Transport Authority lays out the government’s reasoning: roadways account for 12 percent of the city’s land mass, leaving little room to expand the road network. It also cites major improvements to the mass transit network, including 41 new rail stations and better bus service.
While it will be more difficult for the average Singaporean to get a car ownership permit, the government is going easier on commercial fleet owners, giving them until March of 2021 to find ways to reduce the number of vehicles they require to keep their businesses’ lights on.
According to The Straits Times, the current 0.25 percent vehicle growth rate was set in 2014, when Singapore cut it from 0.5 percent in anticipation of reaching the one-million-vehicle mark. As of this year, Singapore’s Department of Statistics says the city-state is home to more than 5.6 million people. The government says it will take another look at its annual vehicle growth rate in 2020.