An astonishing 8.9 million journeys are made on public transport each day in Singapore, and this is only possible through efficient and effective planning, designing, building and maintaining of Singapore’s land transport infrastructure and systems. The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) vision of creating a ‘people-centred land transport system’ zips us to the future with exciting land transport options. By leveraging on technology to boost rail and bus infrastructure, it aims to bring about a greener and more inclusive public transport system.
Both Mash and Weite are engineers, in the Traffic & Road Operations and Policy & Planning Groups respectively. They relate how their roles help to turn LTA’s vision into reality, and how their scholarship experience is preparing them to be the industry leaders of tomorrow.
What motivated you to apply for a scholarship with LTA?
Mash: I believe it was a combination of my inquisitive nature, passion to experiment - especially with reverse engineering - and attention to details which cumulatively directed me towards a career in engineering. As a frequent commuter of public transportation in Singapore, I valued the need for a dynamic and progressive system, and was and am always excited to see the new developments from LTA. With an inclination towards engineering and local land transport developments, the scholarship with LTA offered the perfect opportunity to marry both of my interests.
Weite: The introductory page about LTA scholarships on the BrightSparks’ website painted an exciting future for the land transport industry with many land transport projects in the pipeline. As I was keen to study engineering, LTA seemed like an organisation with many opportunities for aspiring engineers. The LTA staff that I had interacted with during my interviews also left a positive impression on me.
LTA Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship
Intelligent Transport Systems Operations
How has your overseas undergraduate experience benefitted you personally and professionally?
Mash: My overseas undergraduate experience at Bristol University offered a window into the standards and norms of public transportation in the UK and Europe. While I was abroad, I endeavoured to maximise every travel opportunity, which provided wider exposure and deeper appreciation of how much coordination, effort, and data collection is necessary for effective execution of land transport plans in a professional context.
Weite: I was fortunate to have the opportunity to study engineering in Cambridge University. The curriculum was unique because engineering students were required to take the prescribed courses in all disciplines of engineering, before a relevant specialisation in the third year of university. This laid a good foundation of engineering knowledge for me, and it was tremendously helpful for my previous role as a project engineer, as I could grasp the working principles of different railway systems quickly.
Share with us the other opportunities you had received as a LTA scholar.
Mash: Having only just begun my career with LTA, I have been really blessed with opportunities to present areas of my division’s work (Intelligent Transport Systems Operation or ITSO) to ministerial levels - once to a panel of Ministry of Transport financial officers, and another to a Senior Minister of State. I have also had the privilege to sit in for meetings with senior management, giving me a broader perspective of the moving parts in our land transport development plans. In addition, scheduled job rotations allow breadth of work and exposure to other elements of LTA, such as the ‘Walk Cycle Ride Singapore’, and larger and longer-term projects like the North-South Corridor (NSC) and the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).
Weite: I was given opportunities out of my current work scope to be a secretariat of an Independent Advisory Panel, which comprised local and overseas experts in the field of railway power supply. I had also accompanied management staff on work trips overseas to establish positive relationships with foreign counterparts, and to explore suitable ideas for our organisation.
LTA Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship
Policy (Rail Development)
What are some exciting new or upcoming projects that you are working on?
Mash: I am part of the team in Traffic & Road Operations (TRO) Group supporting the development of a new generation of traffic lights. TRO has recently explored the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assist in our work, and contemporary developments in drone technology have played an integral part in its use for infrastructural inspection and traffic monitoring operations. This is a long-term project which adds an element of anticipation and excitement to my daily scope of work.
Weite: I am in the policy team that is working on the Kuala Lumpur (KL) -Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project. This is an exciting cross-border project of an unprecedented scale and significance in the region. I think it will be a very proud moment for me when the trains start ferrying passengers between KL and Singapore. These tangible benefits of our work make my job very fulfilling.
What are your career aspirations and how does LTA help you to achieve that?
Mash: LTA has offered me a good foundation to accrue ground knowledge, essential to the development of any engineer before taking on more senior positions. Supplemented by my eagerness to plan and continuously learn, LTA continues to provide diverse opportunities for my holistic development, both personally and professionally.
Weite: LTA scholars are rotated to different divisions every two to three years. This is a great opportunity to familiarise ourselves with various aspects of LTA’s work. LTA also has a mentorship programme whereby junior staff are guided by a member of the management team.