Land Transport Authority
Feature | LTA

The Best Ride

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is behind all things transport in Singapore, overseeing our world-class integrated network from buses and MRTs to taxis and cycling routes. See how LTA Scholars Shawn Christopher Laight and Wilma Sin keep our world moving in this essential sector.

Left: Shawn is a Senior Engineer with the Rail Operations team in LTA. His roles include being part of the team that designs the depot for the upcoming Jurong Region Line (JRL) and Cross Island Line (CRL), which requires him to draw upon knowledge across various engineering disciplines. Rail depots play a vital role in ensuring a safe and reliable train service and depot infrastructure is designed to last for 120 years, thus any decision made would have a lasting impact for generations to come.

Right: Wilma is an Assistant Manager in the Rail Financing, Investment & Governance division. Her team looks into managing and ensuring the financial sustainability of the rail industry. Wilma finds her role meaningful because ensuring our public transport is financially sustainable enables the transport network to grow and continually serve people. Being a part of LTA has given her a finer appreciation of the hard work put in by many to achieve the connectivity that Singapore enjoys today, and she is grateful and happy to be a part of it.

Shawn 1

1. As a student who grew up in Singapore’s educational system, we have been taught to be results-driven. One thing that I learnt from pursuing a higher education in Australia and United Kingdom was that the process of understanding a problem was sometimes more important than the answer itself. In engineering no two problems are alike and while I may face initial difficulties solving them, I put to good use what I learnt from my university peers - the importance of breaking down the problem, analyzing it and applying the fundamentals to reach a solution. This has helped me tackle the bigger engineering problems that I face at work.

Shawn 2

2. As a young engineer in a big organisation, we learn to adapt and be resourceful very quickly. As engineers building the rail system, we must have a deep understanding and appreciation of how railway systems are operated. This enables us to better design future railway lines such as the upcoming JRL and CRL. LTA values innovative thinkers who are not afraid to express their ideas and do what is right instead of what is popular.

Shawn 3

3. During my LTA career, I’ve had the opportunity to work in various divisions which allowed me to further deepen my knowledge. After graduation, I was first deployed to manufacture and deliver the first Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) train to Singapore. After this milestone, I had the opportunity to work with our TEL Operator (SMRT) to further optimize the depot maintaining the trains. Recently, I did an attachment with SMRT TEL where I operated the same system I helped to design. Not many industries are able to offer engineers such diverse opportunities that broaden understanding of how the entire life cycle of the train system works.


Wilma Part 1

1. I read Economics and Geography in university and had a strong interest in urban planning and studies, and hence found the transport sector to be a suitable fit for me. In land-scarce and population-dense Singapore, urban transportation is a highly complex issue which needs to be carefully planned for. As LTA plays the central planning and policy-making role for the transport sector in Singapore, I felt that it would be exciting to be part of the organisation responsible for transforming Singapore’s land transport network. The transport sector is growing with many different developments and new projects underway, and this meant that LTA would offer diverse opportunities and exposure that would allow me to grow as an individual and in my career.

Wilma Part 2

2. The biggest takeaway for me from my university days was learning to be independent. I learnt how to take care of myself physically and mentally, as well as juggle different commitments. This taught me the importance of time management and prioritisation, which are pertinent and relevant life skills and values, even in the workplace. Being independent has also helped me to become more resilient and persevere through challenges.

Wilma Part 3

3. Transportation systems are essentially the backbone of any city, serving as the pivotal enabler of processes that support our well-being and livelihoods. All of us engage in some mode or form of transportation to access places for a variety of activities and purposes. I find transport very meaningful, because it connects us to the important things that enable us to live well, such as our loved ones, workplaces and schools, places of leisure, and even our favourite restaurants. It is interesting and exciting to see how transport shapes and supports the way we live, work and play, and how it brings us closer to various opportunities and people.