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  • Writer's pictureDelvin Goh

Understanding Singapore Road Categories: A Crucial Factor in Housing Planning

Singapore’s bustling landscape is intricately woven with roads of various sizes and purposes, each serving a unique function in the city-state's transportation network. However, these roads aren’t just arteries for traffic; their classifications play a pivotal role in housing development and planning, influencing everything from noise considerations to access and architectural design.

Decoding Road Categories

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore categorizes roads into five distinct classes, ranging from Category 1, which comprises expressways, to Category 5, encompassing local access roads. A general rule of thumb emerges: the lower the category number, the higher the traffic volume. This classification isn’t merely a bureaucratic formality; it offers essential insights into road characteristics and, consequently, housing considerations.

road categories by Land Transport Authority Singapore

Road nomenclature often provides clues about their category. For instance, roads labeled as "expressways" typically fall under Category 1, while those designated as "roads" might belong to Category 3 or 4. Familiar names like Dunearn or Bukit Timah Roads, tagged as "Roads," hint at their probable category in the Cat 3 or 4 range.

The Relevance to Housing

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) imposes minimum road buffer setbacks contingent on the road category. These setbacks are instrumental in mitigating the impact of road noise on residential properties. Here’s where the road category’s significance for housing planning comes to the fore.

setback requirements by urban redevelopment authority singapore for road categories

Setback Requirements: Category 1 roads mandate the most substantial setbacks, ensuring a considerable distance between properties and high-traffic thoroughfares. Conversely, Category 5 roads necessitate smaller setbacks. For developments of up to 5 storeys, there's a slightly reduced setback requirement compared to taller structures.

Implications for Potential Homebuyers

road line plan for landed property singapore

For individuals eyeing landed properties for reconstruction or development, understanding the road category is paramount. Acquiring the road line plan for a specific land lot becomes crucial. This blueprint unveils the road category, enabling architects to tailor designs according to the required road buffer specifications.


In Singapore’s urban tapestry, road categories aren’t mere labels; they serve as linchpins in housing planning and development. The correlation between road categories and setback requirements underscores the significance of comprehending these categories when considering property investments or architectural projects.

From Dunearn to Bukit Timah and beyond, the names of roads carry more significance than mere navigation cues. They provide insight into the road's category, guiding architects, developers, and potential homeowners in navigating the intricacies of urban development while ensuring a harmonious balance between convenience and tranquility in residential spaces.

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