Will the new ERP 2.0 On-Board Unit monitor drivers?

Jay Tee

The LTA’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based ERP 2.0 OBU isn’t just bulkier and more cumbersome, it may also track drivers’ location information.


The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced its plans to roll out new ERP On-Board units (OBU) as part of its revamped Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) 2.0 system. 

ERP 2.0 – When can we expect it?

The rollout of the new ERP 2.0 OBUs will commence in November 2023 starting with fleet vehicles in the first phase. New vehicles registered from 2024 onwards will be fitted with the ERP 2.0 on-board units. The installation of the OBU on existing vehicles will happen in phases before the system is in place by end 2025.

That’s an estimated million vehicles on the road that need to be fitted with the new OBUs in approximately 2 years. Per our estimate, that’s 1,326 cars per day that need to be fitted with the new OBU if the government expects to implement the system by 2026.

ERP 2.0 – What is it?

The new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based system is said to have the functionality of the current ERP system, but also support distance-based charging, provide real-time traffic alerts, facilitate payment of roadside parking and toll payments at Singapore-Malaysia checkpoints when ERP 2.0 goes live.

All ERP 2.0 on-board units will consist of three elements: a processing unit with a cashcard slot, an antenna and a touchscreen.

ERP 2.0 – How do we go about installing it? 

ERP 2.0 on-board unit for motorcycles

For motorcycles, the new OBU will be installed on the handlebar, as per the current ERP IU placement. The single-piece OBU houses all three elements in a smaller housing (albeit with a smaller touchscreen) that is of similar size as the current IU units.

ERP 2.0 on-board unit for cars

The new on-board units for cars will include the same three elements but on a larger scale. The processing unit will be mounted in the passenger footwell. The feasibility of the processing unit’s location may be determined at the respective workshops and alternative locations may be recommended wherever necessary.

Following widespread criticism, the LTA has announced that drivers may opt out of installing the touchscreen in cars. Drivers who opt out of the touchscreen will still be able to access the ERP 2.0 system’s features through LTA’s ERP 2.0 app or compatible mobile apps but the LTA strongly recommends that drivers keep the touchscreen to access the OBU’s full range of features.

Installation of the new OBU will be free of charge IF a vehicle owner completes the installation process within their prescribed two-month window. We’ve had no word on the penalties for failure to meet that window, or if there are concessions in place.

ERP 2.0 – How will it affect me?

According to the LTA, the current ERP system (introduced in 1998) is approaching the end of its operational lifespan. 

Presently, all ERP gantries will remain operational and the new ERP 2.0 on-board units will work with all active ERP systems including parking gantries. The OBU itself will be compatible with current cashcards as well (EZ-Link, NETS Flashpay and NETS Motoring cards) but will not be compatible with chipped cashcards, which will be phased out.

The LTA also has no immediate plans to roll out distance-based charging but when the new system goes operational in 2026, ERP gantries will be gradually decommissioned and dismantled. ERP charging locations then will be demarcated by signs or other markings.

ERP 2.0 – Will the system be able to monitor me?

The new location-based features of the ERP 2.0 system would cast doubts about driver privacy and the security of the GNSS system. While “robust” privacy safeguards and data protection measures will be implemented to prevent misuse of information, the Land Transport Authority WILL collect road users’ location data on an “anonymised or aggregated” basis for traffic management and planning purposes.

ERP 2.0 – Not an entirely transparent system is it?

The LTA has stated that they will adhere to government standards on data sharing with other government agencies. Location data gathered for policy and planning purposes will be done in accordance with the Public Service (Governance) Act. But the fact remains, your location information is being tracked.

Driver or vehicle-specific data will be used for payment of ERP charges or enforcement for non-payment. The LTA has mentioned that it will not use the data garnered from ERP 2.0 to track driving offences, nor will they share personal data with non-government entities. However, according to an LTA spokesperson, your information can be obtained by other governmental agencies if they have the legal grounds to do so. 

That being said, most drivers shouldn’t have to concern themselves with the latter piece of information – not unless they’re on the run from the law.

ERP 2.0 – Isn’t there a better solution?

The topic of distance-based charging has been floating around since 2020. Despite initial plans to roll out the system back before 2022, global chip shortages have slowed the development of the ERP 2.0 on-board units.

The Land Transport Authority awarded the contract for the GNSS-enabled ERP 2.0 on-board units to NCS Pte Ltd (NCS) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI). Reportedly, the entire project will cost S$556 million.

Half a billion dollars is nothing to scoff at, but the end result is severely lacking. The three-piece unit that will be installed in cars is cumbersome, and the touchscreen would be a distraction for most drivers, despite the LTA’s claims that the display will not impede on a driver’s field of view.

The single-unit OBU for motorcycles appears to be a much more palatable option, but the LTA says that the unit is built for outdoor usage and not intended for use in vehicles due to poor heat dissipation. Evidently, the half-billion-dollar contract doesn’t give much room for proper research and development. 


ERP ERP rates land transport authority lta

About the Author

Jay Tee

A millennial with the mental age of a quadragenarian, CarBuyer's latest stringer writes and talks about anything with four wheels and a motor. Doesn't fully get TikTok, makes TikToks anyway. Moonlights for TopGear Singapore. Follow him on Instagram (and TikTok) at @jayyteejy

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