Singapore has ambitions of becoming the world’s first true smart city. This is evident from the things that one experiences in everyday life here. Its mass transit system operates off a single unified electronic ticketing system that provides feedback to its infrastructure planning department on how many people use a particular route at a particular time so that they can optimise services to ensure that its citizens have a comfortable ride. Its immigration system offer a seamless process of scanning your passport and fingerprint at electronic turnstiles for all Singaporean nationals, permanent residents and long term pass holders. All its residents are issued a national ID which is associated with all their government services.

A few nights ago, I ventured out and saw this at a crossing which really impressed the thought that has gone behind this. Singapore issues senior citizens with a concession card. Holders of these cards can swipe them against a scanner at pedestrian crossings on major roads when they push the button to cross. This triggers the system to allow a longer crossing time to allow the elderly and mobility restricted a little extra time to safely cross the road.

How’s that for empathy for people who really need it?

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