A Research Platform for Singapore

Rapid Road Transport


The Rapid Road Transport (RRT) group is developing a new a Semi-Rapid Transit (SRT) concept as a major milestone in achieving the mission and vision of TUMCREATE. The Semi-Rapid Transit concept serves the passenger capacity segment between the MRT and the conventional bus system, and complement the current modes of public transport. The new modes consist of different vehicle technologies and operational concepts with state-of-the-art vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, and recent advances in electromobility. To achieve this aim, three main objectives have been defined as illustrated in Figure 1:

Figure 1: Rapid Road Transport (RRT)

RRT1: Definition of the SRT layer and integration into the overall network of Singapore. The objective is to define the features and requirements of the proposed public transport concepts and their integration into the existing public transport network for Singapore and other cities. 

RRT2: Technologies for holistic traffic management and control. The objective is to define innovative vehicle and operational approaches for the proposed public transport concepts.

RRT3: Electrified public transport system – from concept to infrastructure. The objective is to identify the optimal road and energy infrastructure for the proposed public transport concepts for their implementation in Singapore and other cities.


RRT-1 - Definition of the SRT layer and integration in the overall network of Singapore.

We previously developed a highly calibrated public transport demand and supply model for Singapore. Taking advantage of smart transit card data, which consists of hundreds of millions of trip.

records of everyday public transport usage, this model reconstructs the island wide transport system in an integrated manner. We are using this model as a strategic tool for Semi-Rapid Transit planning and evaluation.

RRT-1 has four main research objectives.

  • Set the requirements for the overall Semi-Rapid Transit system and co-ordinate the 
    SRT-specific work across research areas. This task ensures that at the end of the project, 
    the SRT layer will be a unified transport product with distinct characteristics including the innovation of all six research areas.
  • Search for potential corridors in Singapore to implement Semi-Rapid Transit services, considering physical and operational characteristics of the current public transport modes.
  • Simulate the impact of implementing Semi-Rapid Transit layer into the proposed corridors using our public transport model. By employing various performance indicators, future scenarios can be examined in detail.
  • Evaluate the enhanced public transport network by applying different future demand projections. Improve the model so it can be applied to other cities around the world, serving as a guideline for improving public transport networks.


Figure 2: Macroscopic public transport model for Singapore

RRT-2 - Technologies for a holistic traffic management and control

The operation of Semi-Rapid Transit in the network requires innovative traffic operation solutions. For example, traffic signal priority could help to guarantee the fast and smooth travelling of SRT and other public transport modes in the network. Additionally, facing conflict between public transport and other modes, the operational needs from all transport models need to be balanced. Therefore, one major part of the research will focus on technologies for a holistic framework for traffic management and control (Figure 3) to cope with the multi-modal traffic system with fluctuating demand (Figure 4) in Singapore. It aims to create a coherent operational architecture, providing novel and integrated solutions that utilise the transport system to its fullest potential. Public

transport operation (including public transport acceleration, prioritisation, incident management, etc.) in mixed traffic is one of the major challenges.

This research will cover the traffic management and control from short term to long term, from network and corridor level to intersection level, and in normal operation and sudden abnormal traffic changes. The first task is to carry out a pro-active traffic management measure to optimise the traffic operation of the multi-modal transport system at a strategic level, with regard to public transport prioritisation and the utilisation of existing infrastructure. The second task “Real-time Urban Traffic Control” is to create corresponding traffic infrastructure management methods and advanced driving advice to prioritise the proposed multi-modal transport operations. In the case of abnormal sudden traffic changes, the third task, traveller-centric incident management, will address the traffic management with the inclusion of individual passenger’s needs for information in case of incidents and line disruptions. Additionally, the traffic data fusion will be addressed in the fourth task, service quality monitoring, to assist stakeholders in their tactical decision making.



Figure 3: Advanced multi-modal traffic operation


Figure 4: Urban traffic control system

RRT-3 - Electrified public transport system – from concept to infrastructure.

We have previously developed an innovative pavement system called Precast Ultra-thin Whitetopping (PUTW) which is customised for Singapore’s local conditions. The PUTW is a cost effective, quick-to-construct and durable pavement system that accommodates power supply modules to allow wireless energy transfer to electric vehicles when they are above the pavement. PUTW is also a solution for the maintenance of current road infrastructure at heavy traffic junctions in Singapore. Figures 5 and 6 show the pavement slab being tested in the lab and Figure 7 illustrates an example of pavement installation at a construction site. This new pavement concept is currently being developed further, tested, and extended by the RRT-3 team. 

RRT-3 has three main research objectives.

  • Overcome technical and economic constraints of the existing road infrastructure to adopt new electric public transport.
  • Provide an in-service charging infrastructure for the new electric public transport system. This task studies the optimal locations for the charging infrastructure and charging strategies for selected corridors. The research also focuses on modifying the previously developed electrified roadways to adopt the new electric public transport modes with respect to safety (traffic and electrical safety), maintainability, availability, and reliability requirements.
  • Investigate the potential to include innovative add-on features into current road infrastructure to improve cities’ liveability. Some examples are energy harvesting, traffic noise reduction and controlling air pollution through the road surface.


Figure 5: Newly developed slab testing in NTU lab

Figure 6: Electrified slab testing in NTU lab

Figure 7: Examples of precast slab installation on the road