The existing in-vehicle units in vehicles on the road today are being replaced with on-board units (OBU) for the satellite-based ERP system or ERP 2.0. Here’s what you need to know about ERP 2.0 and the new OBU, which is slated to be installed in all vehicles by the end of 2025.
How will ERP 2.0 work?
ERP 2.0 will make use of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). The present system depends on physical Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) gantries which were first installed around the island in 1998. GNSS will allow better collection of aggregated traffic information for traffic management and transport planning.
What’s in the On Board Unit?
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced that as part of ERP 2.0, the current in-vehicle unit will be replaced by the new On Board Unit (OBU).
The OBU is a mandatory but free installation for all Singapore-registered motor vehicles. Execptions are:
- Singapore-registered vehicles not allowed on mainland public roads such as tractors and construction equipment.
- Restricted Use Scheme vehicles like those used in ports and airports and vehicles under the Keeping Scheme.
- Non-mechanically propelled vehicles such as trailers.
- Classic or Vintage vehicles. However, owners can still install a free OBU if they wish and it is deemed technically feasible by the appointed workshop.
- Vehicles which are due for mandatory deregistration (eg. 5-year COE, vehicles with a statutory life) during the course of the OBU installation execise.
The new OBU is a three-piece system consisting of a processing unit, an antenna, and a touchscreen display. The rationale for the three-piece design was explained by Minister Ong Ye Kung in a 2020 post as being due to the heat. With the processing unit not in direct sunlight like the current in-vehicle unit mounted on the windscreen, there would not be a need for a big cooling unit.
The default location for the new processing unit to be installed is away from direct sunlight at the side of the front passenger footwell. Both the antenna unit and the touchscreen display are stuck onto the windscreen.
Motorcycles will have a smaller one-piece unit with an integrated touchscreen. This can be mounted on the rearview mirror arm.
Who is eligible for the free OBU and installation during the transition period?
All eligible Singapore-registered vehicles will receive the OBU for free and the installation will be free as well if it is done within the allocated installation period indicated in the official notification from LTA.
Should I install the touchscreen or not?
Most of the online discussions on the OBU were concerning the size of the touchscreen which measures 152mm by 80mm. The current in-vehicle unit measures 121mm by 78mm and is mounted on the far right of the windscreen in a vertical orientation.
It is not compulsory for the touchscreen to be installed but vehicle owners will still have it handed over during the installation process.
There are benefits to having the touchscreen:
Live updates on traffic and road safety.
- Information on ERP charging.
- Payment of Roadside Electronic Parking. This will be a future implementation as part of ERP 2.0. Otherwise, you will have to pay through Parking.sg.
- Notification of card balance.
- Volume control of OBU alerts.
- Added data security as compared to using smartphones.
And what if I don’t want the touchscreen?
If you choose not to install the touchscreen, it will still be given to you. Hold on to it in case you change your mind later. You will, however, need to pay for the installation if you do not install it the first-time round.
These apps connect to the OBU’s processing unit via Bluetooth, a 5 to 6.5 inch screen size is recommended for running the mobile app.
Should your smartphone run out of battery power or hang, the processing unit will still be able to handle the ERP charges.
Motorists who want to use their smartphones in place of the OBU should register their smartphones on the One Motoring Digital Sevices website before pairing it with the OBU. This will allow motorists to see the transaction history and the expiry date of the OBU warranty.
How do I make payment or top up the value?
Like the previous in-vehicle unit, the new OBU will have a slot for the CEPAS (contactless e-purse application) card. Motorists will be able to use NETS FlashPay and EZ-link cards or also opt for Giro payments or to be billed to their credit or debit cards. However, at this time, motorists are advised to still have a valid CEPAS card as not all carparks support backend payment yet.
What about data privacy?
The LTA has said that the privacy of motorists will be safeguarded. The LTA also stated that the information collected will be anonymised with the aggregated data being used for traffic management and transport planning.
The vehicle-specific data will only be used for payment, charges and also enforcement like in the case of non-payment of ERP charges.
When can I get it?
LTA will install the new OBUs in-fleet vehicles first, starting from November 2023. Vehicle owners will be notified via a letter, email and/or SMS from LTA, informing them of the two-month installation period and inviting vehicle owners to book their installation appointment. Should you miss your installation period, you will need to pay part of the installation fee which is $35 for motorcycles and $70 for other vehicles.
How do I book an appointment and where do I go
Upon receiving the notification, vehicle owners can book and manage their installation appointment here or via LTA Call Assist Service at 6377-2255.
The LTA also has a list of authorised workshops here so you can also look for one with operating hours that suits your needs.
Any preparations to make before installation of the OBU?
Before you bring your vehicle to your selected workshop, ensure that the dashboard is cleared. It is important to be punctual for your workshop appointment as your slot may be released to other vehicles if you are late.
Installation time varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
How do I turn on the OBU
The OBU will turn on automatically when you start your vehicle. You will hear a notification sound. The OBU will shut down when you turn off the vehicle.
Can I still use a CashCard?
The regular CashCards which were previously used in the IVUs will no longer be supported. Use one of the valid CEPAS cards mentioned above. You can also register for backend payment to pay for your ERP charges.
Can I adjust the brightness and volume?
You can adjust both the brightness of the screen and the volume of the notification alerts for the OBU. The adjustments are done via the touchscreen for the three-piece OBU and the touch panel for the single-piece OBU.
More information on the OBU
The LTA has more information on the OBU such as troubleshooting tips, the warranty and pairing the unit with your phone here.