The Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (Chinese: 电子监控与信息系统), also known by its acronym of EMAS, is a computerised system that is used to monitor traffic on Singapore's expressways. EMAS enables Land Transport Authority (LTA) personnel to detect accidents and respond to them more quickly. In addition, it notifies motorists of adverse traffic conditions.
The contract for the construction of EMAS was awarded by the LTA to Singapore Technologies Electronics in December 1996. The first phase, implemented only on the Central Expressway, was launched officially on 21 March 1998 by then Minister of State for Communications, John Chen.
EMAS consists of a network of electronic cameras and LED signboards located at strategic points along the expressways. The cameras transmit data to the ITS Centre, located at Clemenceau Avenue. In the Centre, staff monitor the data 24 hours a day, looking out for signs of accidents. When an accident occurs, the appropriate agencies, such as the Traffic Police and SCDF, are notified. Warning messages are then displayed on the signboards to inform motorists of the accident and allow them to make alternative travel plans. When the expressways are free of accidents, the signboards are used to display other informational messages, such as road safety reminders, planned road closures, or road works.
As part of EMAS phase 2, smaller signboards were installed on the expressways as well as arterial roads that connect to them. These smaller signboards were intended to display the estimated travel time to various destinations, in addition to information messages. The estimated travel time display was removed in April 2003 due to public protests that it was a frivolous feature, but the feature since has been recently restored.
EMAS has helped LTA to detect road traffic accidents, vehicle breakdowns, and other incidents. By June 2004, LTA had removed conventional SOS telephones from all Singapore expressways (except the CTE tunnels), citing the effectiveness of EMAS and the widespread use of mobile phones as reasons. LTA reassured motorists without mobile phones that they would not be stranded without help in case of a breakdown, as the expressways are patrolled by EMAS recovery teams in two trucks every two hours.
However, the system has been panned by its critics who denounce it as a waste of money, with messages being couched in "unintelligible" abbreviations. For example, "Please" is shortened to "PLS" in the first picture of this article.