This is really an expired entry because all the gantries should be in full force by now. I wrote an entry previously about the extension of the ERP to more places in November and was wondering how effective it would be. At some point or another, I was wondering if the ERP charges could be pegged to a demand curve as did the COE with the quota system.

Till date, I was wondering if there is any mechanism that can effectively measure the prevailing speed from point A to point B before an ERP gantry. If this can be effectively done, then perhaps one novel way of pegging the ERP charges to the prevailing speed is to first measure the speed and then using the numerical speed (categoried or uncategoried) to determine the prevailing charges.

I would like to suggest the following formula to calculate a possible prevailing ERP charge:

ERP charge = $1.00 + [(X-Y)/10]*($0.50)

Seems complicated? It’s really easy. X is the value of the acceptable speed on expressways, which I believe is 40km/h. Y is the value of the current prevailing speed. So what [(X-Y)/10]*($0.50) means is that for every 10km/h that is below the acceptable speed of 40km/h, an additional $0.50 will be added to the flat ERP charge of $1.00.

Let’s take an example. Say, the current prevailing speed is 30km/h. So the prevailing ERP charge is

$1.00 + [(40-30)/10]*($0.50) = $1.00 + $0.50 = $1.50

So the next question is, how do we measure the prevailing speed? Well, if they could measure the speed of cars throttling at high speeds, they probably shouldn’t have too much problem measuring that of slower vehicles.

Honestly, I don’t think it is *the* solution, but I guess it’s something that really lets the drivers determine how much they want to pay and let them time themselves. A jam is a jam is a jam. Over time, drivers will learn to regulate their own timings. Of course, I am assuming similar behavior as I would expect in unsupervised learning, and whether it would really work depends on a lot more factors.

Hand in hand with the use of such formula could be a lower flat rate, and perhaps additional charges in steps of 5km/h or 10km/h; a longer morning/evening ERP timing since profits earnings collections from the gantries may potentially be affected – it’s a win-win situation where the government lets the people decide how much they want to pay (just like COE) while the people can stop complaining that the ERP doesn’t work (actually I am still not sure if this works).

But this *is* food for thoughts. What do you think?

Reader's Comments

  1. GeekyCoder | November 7th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    that’s a good suggestion.

    unfortunately, the reason gov want to increase the ERP is to have one pay more for the privilege of using ERP in certain time at certain place to prevent traffic congestion. It look like your formula only reduce the fee which doesn’t align with the gov’s intention.
    The main thing is no matter how gov is going to charge, people will still be using the road afterall there are so many places that ERP/gantries are activated.

    Why should speed be measured ? Why not take the max speed ? afterall, everyone love to go back home soon and save time. :^]

  2. Simply Jean | November 7th, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    @GeekyCoder: haha.. yes, I’d love to go home soon. the idea was that, since the gov was measuring congestions against a certain speed (was it 40km/h?), so that was there the idea come from. if every jams up the expressway and the speed goes down to, say, 20km/h, then it’d be $1 + $1 = $2; but if it travels at 40km/h and above, then perhaps a fee of only $1 will be imposed. The gov can lengthen the duration of the ERP hours to help them meet with the “shortfall” from the ERP collections.

    Essentially, this means that more people will get the brunt of the ERP charges, but each person pays less. In the long run, this should translate to more or less the same amount that the gov is collecting.

    Of course, since I am not in LTA, there’s no way I can verify that. =)

  3. SM | November 7th, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Jean,

    ERP tries to reduce road congestion. If faster cars pay less and slower cars pay more, as in your scheme, everyone would want to drive fast, correct? But this does not solve the problem of the actual number of cars on the road that is built only to hold a certain car capacity. I don’t understand.

  4. GeekyCoder | November 7th, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    hmmm… you are basing the ERP cost on the
    speed of the car. The speed of the car is inversely
    proportional to the traffic congestion/ERP cost.
    The assumption is if the car is travelled fast and smooth, it means that there must be less traffic congestion.

    However, the definition is speed is unclear. At which point of location/area
    does the speed get measure ? When traffic congestion
    happen it affect incoming cars and that quickly pile up along the areas, rendering the speed variable somehow irrelevant anymore.

    I presume that you mean the speed is calculated not by
    individual car basis but by average speed of cars along a
    predefined areas otherwise every cars are ‘forced’ to
    speed to maximum to save cost.

    This possibly could pose a danger to many drivers

  5. GeekyCoder | November 7th, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    This possibly could pose a danger to many drivers

  6. GeekyCoder2 | November 7th, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    This possibly could pose a danger to many drivers

  7. GeekyCoder2 | November 7th, 2007 at 7:57 pm

    This possibly could pose a danger to many drivers… Some drivers will drive slow on left lanes because due to their condition, gold age, eye vision problem, speed fear etc. By piting higher ERP cost on slower speed, it could only ‘force’ them to speed beyond their comfort level just to save cost. Afterall,Singaporean is willing to put their life at stake just to save $$$$$, haha, uniquely Singapore mah !! the cost of dollars can quickly make a difference over a long period of time.

    Another thing if the system could detect the speed of
    every prevailing cars along the road at any point (GPS ?), our gov will be glad to implement a systematic summon system (tons of $$$$$$ easily as speeddemon happens everyday). Don’t need any human police, just use computer to monitor and issue summon automatically. That’s will be terrible. That will be terminator 4 for Singapore where computer controls human , haha.

    Anyway, your solution might work too despite my
    own analysis. Never try, never know, :^]

  8. GeekyCoder2 | November 7th, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Sorry, don’t know how come text get truncated by WordPress.

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