A Research Platform for Singapore


The Last Mile Problem



Does walking to and from your bus stop sometimes take longer than the bus journey itself?  This is a problem that Associate Professor Wong Yiik Diew and Dr Andreas Rau of TUM CREATE aim to solve. “While Singapore already has a very good public transport system, with more MRT stations and links on the way, this so-called ‘first/last mile’ problem plagues many commuters,” Professor Wong explains.  “People sometimes need to walk 10-15 minutes from their home to the nearest bus stop, MRT or LRT station.  And it can take just as long after the journey to get to their final destination.”  To improve public transport accessibility, Dr Rau says, “We are exploring the use of innovative electric transportation solutions, including electric bicycles, electric buses and vehicles, escalators, conveyor belts, etc.”


The first/last mile research project is the result of a long-lasting collaboration between Professor Wong from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Dr Rau, from Germany.  They have been working together since 2004 when Rau, then a PhD student, was offered a scholarship in Germany to study abroad.  He chose to come to Singapore to work in Wong’s Transportation Lab at NTU.  Although Rau returned to Germany, Wong and Rau’s cooperation resumed when Rau returned to Singapore in 2009.


The TUM CREATE project was launched with exactly this sort of collaboration in mind.  A joint research programme between Technische Universität München (TUM) in Germany and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore with funding by National Research Foundation of Singapore, TUM CREATE focuses on developing innovative technologies and future transportation concepts for tropical megacities.  Over 90 scientists and engineers are involved in this 5-year long project.


Together Prof. Wong and Dr. Rau set up TUM CREATE’s Transportation and Traffic Engineering research programme, which today they jointly administer.  The first/last mile problem is just one of their many research projects.  Together, they are leading a group of PhD and Masters students working on innovative transportation solutions, such as designing prefabricated pavement slabs for wireless charging of electric vehicles and developing a model to understand the impact of electric vehicles on energy efficiency and emissions in Singapore.  They have several funded PhD positions open so interested parties should contact either cydwong@ntu.edu.sg or andreas.rau@tum-create.edu.sg.


For further information about the TUM CREATE project and for high resolution images, please contact  communications@tum-create.com.sg or +65 6592 3014.