City slickers have to live with an immutable truth - traffic congestion is here to stay. And government help or not, the fact is, it's not getting any better in Singapore.
In its latest survey, navigation device maker TomTom reported an increase in traveling times from various parts of Singapore to the central district. Hot spots from Bukit Timah have seen a whopping 111 per cent increase in travel time while journeys from Tampines to Raffles Place have increased by a small, yet still significant, 41 per cent. That's pretty high for suburban areas like Tampines.
Yes, driving in Singapore is getting worse but you don’t have to let the daunting traffic conditions stop you from driving that ridiculously expensive Lamborghini of yours. Some good planning with these traffic and navigation apps will definitely lower your blood pressure and ensure a fast and smooth ride.
Image credt: Øivind Rånes
No one ever plans to fail, but more often then not, they always fail to plan. Every morning, drivers have to wrestle with that oh so agonising decision - to head into a standstill traffic of the supposedly "faster" expressway, or take the slow and steady pace of the normal roads.
Information is crucial when it comes to making a route decision. MyTransport Singapore provides valuable information for drivers to make some of that early morning headache disappear. With various red flags such as an active Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantry and road works that could grind cars to a sudden halt, tapping into MyTransport Singapore will keep you informed and put you one step ahead of infinite traffic boredom.
Why you should use this app: It’s free, and it’s not just limited to drivers. Bus arrival timings are also included in the app for pedestrians to plan their journeys too.
If I had a dollar for every time Google Maps steered me away from a disastrous traffic congestion, I'd be rich enough to get a brand new car.
The navigation service does more than just point you in the right direction whenever you're lost; it'll even help you avoid irritating traffic. Using traffic data from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and real-time reports pulled from those invasive Big Brother cameras on the road, the app directs you to the best possible route with minimal traffic. All you have to do is activate the traffic layer and get a bird’s eye view of light, medium and heavy traffic based on intuitive green, yellow and red colour codes.
Why you should use this app: It's free and pre-loaded on Android devices (makes sense, since it is a Google product). If you're an iOS user, tough luck. You’ll have to download it (at no cost), which would be a good idea since Google Maps’ navigation and location accuracy is far better than a certain fruit company's navigation app.
SG Traffic Cam
The Expressway Monitoring Advisory System (EMAS) tells you that it’ll take a mere 15 minutes to travel from Clementi to Eunos. You put your faith in the system, take the expressway, only to land in a massive traffic congestion. Curse that fresh accident on the road!
Wouldn't it be great if you had access to those strategically-placed cameras on the road and get real-time updates? Actually, you do. SG Traffic Cam sends you live feeds of the road conditions and has access to all the cameras along major Singapore expressways. You can see the traffic condition in full glory (or perhaps agony) with your own eyes.
It’s still a matter of luck, because for all that planning you might have done, there’s no telling if some sloppy driver creates a pile-up right in front of you and and transforms your journey into a traffic nightmare.
Why you should use this app: Moral of the story - seeing is believing. Watch for clear roads and plan your drive for minimal road rage.
Price: Free, available from Google Play Store
Wouldn't it be great if there was an app that lets other users give you a real-time report of the traffic? Pay it forward with the social mapping app, Waze.
The app is a community-based traffic and navigation app that not only gives you turn-by-turn directions to where you need to go, but also accurate traffic situations based on a combination of data that are tracked or submitted by users.
You don't even have to be an active user to contribute. Just leave the app open and Waze will track your route and speed, which will then be funneled back to the Waze map. From there, a combination of all the active users real-time driving data can be used to accurately track an area's congestion level.
Why should you download this app: Did we mention it's free? That, and Waze's accuracy at real-time traffic reporting. The larger the user base in a country, the more accurate the reporting gets. With an active community of online map editors and users, you can be certain that the maps and routes will always be updated.
TomTom South East Asia
Now why would anyone want to pay a crazy amount of money for a navigation app, when there are free options such as Google Maps? You might not have much use for TomTom's navigation ap in Singapore, especially when you have an active data connection that's constantly talking to Google’s navigation servers.
For frequent travelers who cross the causeway to Malaysia though, are you willing to spend a bomb on data roaming just for directions? We figured not. This one-time fee to TomTom will give you offline navigation that is worth every single dollar and cent.
TomTom’s South East Asia app isn't just a static map either. It also taps into its IQ Routes technology that calculates the fastest travel route you should take based on TomTom’s traffic data, gathered from TomTom users.
Why you should use this app: No data? No worries. You'll still be able to get directions on the TomTom app across various countries, especially if you're a miser when it comes to roaming charges.