Smart Nation is a process

If you ever took MRT to Singapore Ayer Rajah Crescent startup community Blk 71-79, you must know there is one traffic light about 100 meters on right of exit. A typical traffic light: open area, under the sun, wait 60 seconds and walk 10 sec. Nothing special. However, if you are a native to this community or a savvy frequent visitor, you most likely will take THE shortcut.

Few people accept this sub-par but safe design, the community vote with their feet and jaywalk cross a moderate busy two-way traffic. They choose to take the risk and decide their own fate.

Today I found out that with enough people jaywalking, LTA or JTC responded. Not with a permanent fence or intimidating notice. They are adaptive and officially ended the jaywalking with a pavement!

Before pavement is built 


Having worked in Singaporean government before, I know there are SOPs in LTA on where, how and what traffic light should be placed. It must be well articulated internally, like thousands of other traffic lights. Each traffic light installation is a science, choosing the optimal uses of resources taking consideration of all stakeholders, car owners, predisisent , and traffic flow. No matter how well planned it is, users still choose the own best option balancing risk and reward. In this traffic light case, the young, confident and time-conscious geek community choose jaywalking.

A smart nation is not about collecting user behavior data and crunching the data to control. It is about being adaptive and make intelligent move when the data suggesting you were wrong. LTA and JTC did it. I am faithful other government agencies will follow suit.

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