The much anticipated next-generation electronic road pricing system (ERP)—ERP 2.0, which was intended to be introduced at the end of 2021—will be rolled out in phases starting 1 November 2023. All Singapore-registered vehicles, starting with fleet vehicles (e.g., public buses, good vehicles, and motorcycle fleets), will soon need to replace their In-Vehicle Unit (IU) with a new On-Board Unit (OBU).
The current gantry-based ERP system was first introduced 25 years ago, in 1998, to manage road congestion by charging a fee whenever a vehicle passes through the ERP gantry during operational hours.
However, as the current system has reached the end of its shelf life, a tech refresh is needed to maintain operational efficiency. The new ERP 2.0, which leverages the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), is not only expected to be a more feature-rich system that goes beyond congestion charging but also improves traffic management and transport planning and provides value-added services to motorists.
Here’s what you need to know about ERP 2.0.
ERP 2.0 Leverages New Technology That Removes The Need For Physical Gantries
With the ageing of the current ERP system, which over time has become increasingly expensive to maintain, the new ERP 2.0 system can be seen as a much-needed tech refresh that incorporates new technologies and capabilities.
Unlike the current ERP system, which uses entry-or point-based charging, the ERP 2.0 leverages the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). This allows it to determine the location and process a distance-based ERP charge, thereby eliminating the need for physical gantries that take up space and are costly to maintain. According to LTA, the physical gantries would be gradually removed upon the completion of the installation period by the end of 2025. In their place, other visual markers/signages will be placed to inform motorists of the ERP charging locations.
Strict Safeguards Are Put In Place For Data Privacy In ERP 2.0
While the ERP 2.0 system will collect data from users like all GNSS, GPS, and payment systems, there are strict safeguards for data privacy to ensure charging transactions and data are handled securely.
LTA will only use anonymised or aggregated data for traffic management and transport planning purposes, meaning personally identifiable information is removed. According to LTA, it will only use vehicle-specific data for payment, charges, and enforcement, such as against non-payment of ERP charges.
Motorists Will Be Able To Access More Features With New On-Board Unit (OBU)
In addition to the current features, motorists with the new OBU would be able to receive real-time road safety information such as the locations of nearby school zones, Silver Zones (residential areas that have a high proportion of seniors), bus lanes, and speed cameras. This would provide better warning to motorists to regulate their speeds in these zones.
The OBU will also provide alerts when approaching ERP-charging locations and display real-time traffic incident alerts that can help motorists with plan their travel route. The OBU also allows motorists to pay for usage licences such as off-peak cars, classic/vintage vehicles, tolls (for Singapore-registered vehicles only) at existing Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, and roadside parking.
The OBU Configuration Depends On Your Vehicle Type And Choice
Unlike the current single-piece In-vehicle Unit (IU), the new three-piece OBU for cars and other vehicles comprises an Antenna, Processing Unit, and an optional Touchscreen Display.
The Antenna, which will be mounted on the windscreen, communicates with the satellite system and carpark gantries. For the Processing unit, which processes all payment-related transactions, and where your valid CEPAS should be inserted, it will (typically) be mounted on the side of the front passenger footwell. As for the Touchscreen Display, the only optional component of the OBU, you also have the option to download the mobile application on your smartphone and pair it with your OBU. It provides a host of benefits to motorists in terms of accessing information and making the relevant payments.
New three-piece OBU design for cars and all other vehicles–Source: LTA
As for the new OBU design for motorcycles, it will be integrated into a single-piece design that includes a Processing Unit and a small touchscreen for riders to toggle different functions. Similar to the current IUs, the new OBU will be mounted on handlebars.
New single-piece OBU design for motorcycles–Source: LTA
No Immediate Plans To Change The Current ERP Charging Framework
According to LTA, there are no immediate plans to impose distance-based road pricing, and any plans for such pricing using ERP 2.0 are still several years away. Hence, even after the installation of the OBU, motorists can expect the current form of congestion pricing to continue.
Free Installation Of OBU For Singapore-Registered Vehicles To Individuals Will Commence In First Quarter Of 2024 And Is Expected To Be Completed By End-2025
Existing individual vehicle owners can expect to receive notification from LTA to have the OBU installed progressively in the first quarter of 2024. Scheduling for registration will be done in batches based on the age of the vehicles.
All eligible Singapore-registered vehicles will receive an OBU, which comes with a 5-year warranty, free of charge if the installation is completed within the 2-month period stated in the notification. Additionally, new vehicles will also be fitted with the OBU from the first quarter of 2024.
The OBU installation exercise is expected to be completed by end-2025.
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