Monday, February 29, 2016

Ridership Analysis Part 1

With much debate over the routing of the Cross Island Line (CRL), it is pertinent to understand the purpose for the line and its intended area of coverage. CRL will increase the train network's overall patronage, facilitate quicker connections between lines and alleviate congestion along high volume corridors by spreading passenger footfall.

An overview of the currently congested rail corridors

1. What is the current situation on the MRT network?
How much more can the current system handle? We take a look at the currently congested corridors during peak hours.

East-West Line (EWL)
AM peak - Lakeside to City Hall (eastbound) & Tampines to Tiong Bahru (westbound)
PM peak - Raffles Place to Boon Lay (westbound) & Tanjong Pagar to Tampines (eastbound)

North-South Line (NSL)
AM peak - Sembawang to Raffles Place (southbound) & Choa Chu Kang to Jurong East (northbound)
PM peak - City Hall to Woodlands (northbound) & Jurong East to Yew Tee (southbound)

North East Line (NEL)
AM peak - Sengkang to Outram Park (southbound)
PM peak - Outram Park to Sengkang (northbound)

Circle Line (CCL)
AM peak - Bishan to Promenade (clockwise)
PM peak - Kent Ridge to Bishan (clockwise) & Paya Lebar to Bishan (anti-clockwise)

The above diagram represents the corridors that currently experiences crowding, which should see relief as DTL Stage 3 and the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) comes on board. The Jurong Region Line (JRL) will alleviate traffic congestion in the western region by providing links between NTU, Boon Lay and Choa Chu Kang, allowing commuters to bypass the overcrowded Jurong East interchange. We explore this angle further in our next post.

An overview of the locations served by the Cross Island Line (CRL)

2. Who will be using the CRL in 2030?

A. Commuters shuttling between the Northeast, East and Jurong Regions
i. CRL will provide connections between the East/Northeast/Central regions and Jurong, particularly for residents of Punggol, Sengkang and Pasir Ris working in Jurong and Tuas. The line will cut travel times between the two ends of the island, and may well be the primary line used by these commuters.

ii. The combined population of Punggol and Sengkang will reach 685,000 by 2030, occupying 188,000 dwelling units* (Given average household size of 3.64 occupants per unit in middle-aged estates#)

72% of all household members are between the ages of 15 and 65#. They are the ones most likely to commute daily for school and work. Assuming a 80% modal split between public and private transport, up to 395,000 people living in this area will travel daily by public transport. NEL alone will be insufficient to meet their needs. CRL will be a useful complement to help these commuters get to places not directly served by NEL.

iii. More jobs are being created in the Jurong region - Jurong Gateway is under development, the industrial belt is expanding from Jurong to Wenya and the Cleantech Park. Tengah, Tuas South, and the shifting of the container terminal to Tuas by 2027 will also increase the demand for transport in the west.

The Jurong Gateway alone will provide 0.8-1.1 million job opportunities by 2030^. CRL will be a trunk line that will complement the EWL and NSL in carrying those living on other parts of the island into the area.

iv. Preliminary speculations reveal CRL is expected to pass pretty closely to the site of the high-speed rail terminal destined to be built in Jurong East. A CRL connection will afford even those living in the East and Northeast easy access to the railway connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, especially if the envisioned limited-stop service on the CRL is realised.

Population profile along the CRL

B. Provide connections to major job and education centres in the East and Northeast
i. CRL serves Changi Airport, in particular its Terminal 5, a development expected to create about 80,000 jobs in total. With the proposed limited-stop service on the CRL, local travelers heading to T5 may also utilise the line.

ii. The main campus of Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore's 5th public university, will be developed in Punggol and sited within an innovation cluster expected to attract complementary creative industries. The CRL will bring students and professionals from other parts of the island to their campus and workplaces.

iii. Students living in the northeast and east regions can also travel to major tertiary institutions in the west, like National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), more quickly.

C. As a relief for CCL and EWL
i. The section of CCL between Paya Lebar and Kent Ridge is the most congested and well-used portion of the line. A large number of these commuters are travelling between Serangoon/Bishan and employment centres in Buona Vista, Jurong and Tuas. The CRL will relieve the crowding along this section by providing an alternative and more direct connection to their destinations.

ii. The CRL also bypasses the extremely congested CBD area, diverting commuters travelling between the Northeast/East regions and Jurong away from the crowded Central Area. Commuters travelling towards the city centre can then enjoy a more comfortable ride on the EWL. This will also reduce the volume of transfers at Outram Park between the NEL and EWL.

In our next post, we will delve deeper into the numbers to understand how well can existing lines handle future demand, and the role CRL plays in future population trends and in meeting their transportation needs.

*Based on HDB Annual Report 2014/2015 Key Statistics
#Based on HDB Sample Household Survey 2013
^Based on URA Concept Plan 2010 - combined office and retail space in Jurong Gateway is 750,000 sqm, assume average 7.5sqm per employee.

1 comment: