Tracing our steps

The 1960s was an era of great economic changes for Singapore. The city's leaders were convinced of the need to support the economy with a reliable and efficient transport system to support nation building. To this end, the government commissioned a State and City Planning study in 1967 to study the possibility of expanding the transport network. Amongst others, the findings of the four-year study pointed to a need for a rail transit system by 1992.


Provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority

As a result, feasibility studies were carried out between 1972 and 1980 to examine the possibility of building a rail network supported by a network of buses. The rail system was to operate through the most densely- populated areas and this resulted in the conception of the east-west and north-south lines. To get on with work, a Provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority was established in July 1980.


The rail system that nearly wasn't

An independent team from Harvard University was engaged to reinforce the initial recommendations for a rail system supported by a bus network. However, debate soon ensued as the team recommended that an all-bus network may be more feasible. To shed some light into the matter, a Comprehensive Traffic Study was conducted in 1981. Matters were soon back on track as the study confirmed that the rail system was crucial and an all-bus system would impose severe limitations on other road users.


1982 - The year work began

In May 1982, the Government gave the go-ahead and work on the construction of the MRT began. The S$5 billion project was targeted to be completed in 1992. The 67 km-long route would boast 42 stations, of which 27 would be above ground and 15 under ground. The north-south line was implemented first as more people need to be ferried across the busy Orchard corridor and the Central Business District. On 14 October 1983, the MRT Corporation was established and took over the roles and responsibilities of the former Provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority.

Thousands flocked to experience travelling on the MRT when its first section from Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh was opened on 7 November 1987. Then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew¸ officiated the launching of the system on 12 March 1988. The remainder of the system was opened in stages and the final section was completed in July 1990, two years ahead of schedule.


Woodlands Extension

In February 1991, the Government announced its decision to extend the MRT system to Woodlands. Work on this 16-km extension was completed on 10 February 1996.


The birth of LTA

The need for a more co-ordinated approach to planning and building land transport resulted in the formation of the Land Transport Authority in September 1995. Borne through a merger of several organisations and divisions, the new statutory board comprised of the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation, the Registry of Vehicles, the Roads and Transport Division of the Public Works Department and the Land Transport Division of the Ministry of Communications.


Back to Top

Last Updated on 05/08/2008

Terms of Use | Copyright © Land Transport Authority 2003 | Privacy Statement
Best viewed with IE 5.0 & above, 800x600 Resolution
'use strict';