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Singapore Government

Accessible Transport and Built Environment

Accessible Transport and Built Environment

Header banner for Accessible transport and the built environment, depicting a bus and a train with a backdrop of the Singapore Skyline.

More Accessible Homes

In July 2012, HDB launched the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme.
  • The EASE programme provides subsidies of up to 95% for improvement items for seniors living in HDB flats, to enhance their mobility, independent living, safety and comfort.
  • The items include slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles of two toilet/bathrooms, grab bars, and single step ramps to negotiate level diferences in the flat and at the main entrance. 

In August 2015, MSF expanded the coverage of the Assistive Technology Fund (ATF).
  • The coverage of the ATF was expanded beyond employment and schooling to enable persons with disabilities to buy assistive devices to support their independent living.

More Accessible Built Environments

In 1990, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) introduced the Code on Barrier-Free Accessibility in Buildings to promote the development of accessible buildings for wheelchair users.
  • All new building projects and existing buildings that undertake addition and alteration (A&A) works are required to meet the requirements of the prevailing Code.
  • The Code has undergone five reviews (about once every 5 years), with its scope progressively expanded to include principles of Universal Design (UD) to meet the changing needs of the population. Since 1990, BCA has also released updates to the Code in 1995, 2002, 2007, 2013 and 2019.

In 2006, BCA published the first Universal Design Guide.
  • The Guide raises the awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities, the elderly as well as families, and guides designers in incorporating universal design principles in building design.
  • BCA published two other guides in 2007 and 2016.

In 2007, BCA introduced the Accessibility Fund that provides financial incentives to help owners of pre-1990 non-barrier-free buildings upgrade their buildings with essential accessibility features.
  • The fund pays up to 80% of the construction cost of the Basic Accessibility Features and provides grants of up to 60% of the construction cost of additional accessible toilets, accessible ramps and family-friendly features.
  • As at March 2021, 150 private building owners have tapped on BCA's Accessibility Fund to retrofit their buildings with accessibility features.

In October 2012, BCA introduced the Universal Design Mark Scheme.
  • This Scheme accords recognition to developments and stakeholders that adopt a user-centric philosophy in their design, operations and maintenance. It also raises public awareness on user-friendly buildings.
  • This Scheme allows assessment of projects at the design stage, thereby encouraging the incorporation of universal design principles from the onset.

More accessible Transport System

Continual efforts to make public transport barrier-free and accessible.
  • In June 2006, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) introduced the first wheelchair accessible bus (WAB).
  • Since  2003, all Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations have at least one barrier-free route. Tactile ground surface indicators are provided to guide the visually impaired to essential amenities in all MRT and LRT stations.
  • 92.5% of taxi stands are barrier-free.

Continual efforts to train transport workers to assist commuters with special needs.
  • For the bus industry, all newly hired public bus captains are required to attend a foundational Enhanced Vocational Licence Training Programme with the Singapore Bus Academy since October 2016. The curriculum covers provision of customer service (including helping people with special needs such as wheelchair users or persons who are visually impaired, to board and alight from the bus).
  • Bus and train operators also conduct their own company-specific training programmes, to equip staff to deliver customer service that meets the diverse needs of passengers. The programmes are developed in consultation with Social Service Agencies.

More Affordable Transport

In 1980, the government launched the Disabled Persons Scheme (DPS).
  • The DPS is a means-tested scheme that supports persons with disabilities who are unable to use public transport and require a car to earn a living. Those who are eligible are exempted from paying the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) and Additional Registration Fee (ARF) when they purchase a vehicle.

In 1980, the government launched the Car Park Label Scheme (CPLS).
  • The CPLS provides access to wider parking lots for drivers and passengers with mobility impairments, and who require a wider space to board and alight from their vehicles. It is part of the Government’s efforts to create a more inclusive environment for persons with disabilities and their families.

In July 2014, LTA launched the Persons with Disabilities Concession Card.
  • This card provides discounted fares for persons with disabilities on public bus and train services.
  • There is also an option to purchase a monthly concession pass with unlimited rides on basic bus and train services.

In July 2014, MSF launched the Voluntary Welfare Organisation Transport Scheme (VWOTS).
  • Under the VWOTS, persons with disabilities accessing Special Education schools, Sheltered Workshops, EIPIC, or Care Services (e.g. Day Activity Centres, Special Student Care Centres) can be subsidised up to 80% when taking disability-dedicated transport organised by these services.

In October 2014, MSF launched the Taxi Subsidy Scheme.
  • This scheme subsidises persons with disabilities who are unable to take public transport and who are totally dependent on taxis for travelling to school, work, or employment-related training supported by SG Enable. Those eligible can be subsidised up to 80% of taxi fees.

In May 2015, MSF and NCSS awarded a $4 million grant for the provision of disability-dedicated transport services.
  • The grant was awarded to three transport operators to defray the cost of buying and retrofitting 33 vehicles to increase the capacity of transport operators to serve persons with disabilities.

Continuous efforts to make homes and public spaces more accessible and barrier-free

In 2018, HDB enhanced the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Programme to include subsidies for two new improvement items.
  • The EASE programme provides subsidies of up to 95% for improvement items for seniors living in HDB flats, to enhance their mobility, independent living, safety and comfort. It was enhanced in December 2018 to offer ramp solutions (i.e. portable and customised ramp) for flats with multi-step entrances, to help seniors who are wheelchair users and living in such flats to move in and out of their homes with greater ease. 

In July 2019, SG Enable set up an accessible homes exhibit in Tech Able, an integrated assistive technology (AT) space.
  • Tech Able, jointly managed by SG Enable and SPD, aims to promote the adoption of assistive technologies, to enable persons with disabilities to live, travel and work independently.
  • The “Home Zone” in Tech Able informs visitors on how AT and universal design can help persons with disabilities manage their home and environment more effectively. The showcase includes height adjustable furniture, adaptive cutlery, appliances and clothing, as well as smart home automation devices.
  • Take a tour of Tech Able and read more about it.

In 2019, BCA published the 2019 Code on Accessibility in the Built Environment, which focuses on the needs of persons with disabilities and the elderly.
  • Key changes include new requirements for accessible changing rooms for selected building types, to accommodate persons with disabilities who may need the help of caregivers. Other requirements include larger accessible toilets or motorised wheelchairs users, more accessible parking lots in hospitals, and the provision of non-breakable mirror/mirror-like finishes at the back of the lift car for wheelchair users to check on themselves visually as they enter and exit the lifts.
  • As at March 2021, 150 private building owners have tapped on BCA's Accessibility Fund to retrofit their buildings with accessibility features.

In 2020, BCA formed a community partnership group to co-develop solutions for addressing accessibility gaps in the Central Business District.
  • The community partnership group will co-develop solutions for identified accessibility gaps. The community partnership group comprises representatives from disability organisations, the private sector and public agencies.

Barrier-Free Transport System

Public transport is virtually barrier free.
  • Since 2017, all bus interchanges have been barrier free and 98% of bus shelters are barrier free.
  • As at end-2020, LTA has fitted lifts at around 51 pedestrian overhead bridges that are close to major transport nodes and health institutions.
  • Since end-2019, there is at least one barrier-free access route at all MRT and LRT stations.
  • As of end-2020, 100% of public buses are wheelchair-accessible.

From October 2020, all ride-hail operators are required to offer commuters an option in their booking app to book a vehicle that can cater for a foldable wheelchair in its boot.
  • This requirement was launched as part of the Point-to-Point (P2P) Regulatory Framework.

More Affordable Transport

In August 2017, MSF enhanced the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) to make taxis more affordable for persons with disabilities who are unable to take public transport.
  • The monthly per capita household income criteria for TSS subsidies was increased from $1,800 to $2,600. This helps those with disabilities who are unable to take public transport and are dependent on taxis to commute to school, work or employment-related training supported by SG Enable.

Strides in Enhancing Informational Accessibility in Public Transport

Since December 2018, all new public buses are fitted with the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS).
  • The PIDS consists of external and on-board displays that provide route-specific information, such as bus service number, destination and MRT/LRT transfer information. In addition to visual displays, there are also on-board audio announcements to inform passengers about the next bus.
  • The PIDS will be progressively rolled out as LTA continues to expand and renew the public bus fleet.

In 2019, LTA, in partnership with SG Enable and the Singapore Association of the Visually Impaired, launched the Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Selected users (MAVIS) mobile application trial.
  • MAVIS is a smartphone-based system that makes it easier for the visually impaired and wheelchair users to use public buses.
  • The user enters their trip into the smartphone app, and will subsequently receive real-time notifications of when to board and alight the bus. The trip details are sent to the bus Fleet Management System (FMS) so that the bus driver is alerted in advance (via a pictogram on their display unit) that a visually impaired or wheelchair user will be boarding or alighting at the next bus stop. When the doors are opened at the boarding stop of a visually impaired user, the bus also makes an audio announcement of the service and destination from speakers on the exterior of the bus.
  • MAVIS has been successfully trialled on 3 buses on Service 139 and on 141 in 2019, and LTA is extending the trial to all buses on those two services. 

In January 2020, LTA introduced a new, more accessible signage system in Thomson-East Coast Line stations.
  • The signage system features bigger font sizes, better colour contrast, less clutter and more icons to replace text for a more universal approach to provide clearer wayfinding messages to the commuters.
  • Priority use signs have been installed in MRT stations at the wide faregates, lifts and designated platform screen doors to remind commuters to give way to those who require more assistance, such as persons with disabilities or the elderly. Large lift directional signs also provide clear direction to lifts that are located in obscured locations.
  • Hearing Enhancement System was introduced at the Passenger Service Centre in TEL stations to help commuters wearing hearing aids. 

Building a More Caring Commuting Culture

In 2019, LTA released the Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040 which incorporates recommendations for a more inclusive land transport system.
  • As part of the process of developing the LTMP, LTA engaged more than 7,400 Singaporeans on Singapore’s future land transport system, including persons with disabilities.

In October 2019, LTA launched the ”Excuse me, may I have a seat please” sticker identifier.
  • Commuters with health conditions, including invisible medical conditions and disabilities, can choose to get a sticker identifier to alert fellow commuters that they need a seat on public transport without disclosing the individual’s condition.
  • They may collect the sticker at the following places:
    • Passenger information Centres or Passenger Information Offices at any MRT station, bus interchange/terminal.
    • Selected Transitlink ticket offices.
  • From April 2021, commuters will also be able to request for the “May I have a seat please” card and lanyard at Passenger Service Centres and Offices.

In January 2020, the Public Transport Council has set up a Caring SG Commuters Committee.
  • The Committee aims to harness individual acts of care into a national movement, and build a culture where showing care for fellow commuters becomes a way of life.
  • For a start, the Committee will focus on how commuters can support and care for fellow commuters with various disabilities and mobility needs. The Committee has been engaging commuters to better understand the needs and concerns of different commuter groups. The Committee also works with commuters and stakeholders such as SG Enable to co-create ideas on how to expand this movement.
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