That’s what I was thinking, ERP for pedestrian crossings, when I came across an article in the Straits Times a couple of days ago. Tap & Cross. Or perhaps Tap, Deduct, and Cross. Yet another interesting revenue generating mechanism for our LTA. Except that it won’t really work, of course, since pedestrians will just cross illegally without using a designated pedestrian crossing. Our pedestrians are often already preferring to jaywalk anyway (and there are times they really behave like the roads are meant for pedestrians).
This Tap & Cross is actually to enable elderly pedestrians, with their privileged EZ-Link cards, to tap at the pedestrian crossing to get extended walk times at the crossing. In this way, the standard pedestrian crossing times can be shortened for to cater for the average adult, without holding up traffic unnecessarily unless an elderly pedestrian needs to cross the street.
What would be yet more interesting is for drivers to “buy” green time at traffic lights. Develop some mechanism such that a driver held up at a red light can tap, or in some other way commit to the transaction, to expedite changing to a green light. There may be a bunch of vehicles waiting at the red light, whoever feels the most urgency to turn it green to “pay”, turn the light green, and everyone at the junction then gets to cross. This might be useful on lesser used roads meeting up with a major road when the former gets very little green time.
We can even go further. Drivers cruising down the road could “pay” for a green wave so that the green light is always in his favour as far as is practicable. This would of course be a very useful functionality for emergency vehicles, something that I believe hasn’t been very widely deployed in Singapore (I keep seeing ambulances caught up in traffic junctions). Once you’ve got the infrastructure working for emergency vehicles, it could well extend to drivers to can afford to pay.
Yes, this is the age of consumerism: pay and pay for everything you want and wish for. We are already paying for the right to buy a car, I’m sure the rest of the ideas here are not horribly far-fetched.