Highway Network Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Integration Project for Metro Manila

Highway Network Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Integration Project for Metro Manila -- Four days ago, I was at the meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) members of the on-going project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in cooperation with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). A progress report with the proposed ITS master plan was presented by the JICA study team.

Intelligent-transport-systems-for-mega-manilaFew of the many interesting things presented by JICA pertains to the region's major transport bottlenecks. It was found out in the data that at least, for Metro Manila, traffic bottlenecks happen heavily at the Intersections, U-Turn slots, Bus stops and Road maintenance work sites.

Road intersection related issues have been a big challenge for the urban planning body of Metro Manila. Aside from fixed or maybe manual operations of some of the traffic lights, a number of them can also be found standing dead and nonoperational for quite a long time already. Spice this with a half-cooked in training traffic enforcer and you will have a guaranteed fresh day spoiler.

U-turns also made very significant impacts on the Metro's general traffic flow condition. Some local studies even found out that accident rates increased after the scheme was implemented. But kudos to the MMDA for the non-stop search for better sets of strategies to address the Metro's multitude of urban transport issues. It is also commendable that the agency is embarking on the measures utilizing smart tools available at hand. I can see intelligent systems coming into the big play.

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    Bus stops have also been massive in terms of affecting mobility in Metro Manila. To address this, we already got MMDA's EDSA Bus Segregation Scheme which started on December 18, last year. I hope it is doing well.

    Road maintenance sites are another source of traffic delay in various cities of Metro Manila. Aside from inappropriate road warning signs for the passing motorists, alternate routes or by-pass assignment has been a bad experience. If you get directed to use an alternate road with traffic flow like the one on the photo below, you might just hit the parking lot and start walking.

    So basically, what I am saying is that, there are a lot of active challenges coming into the way of this highway network intelligent transport system project. Take a glimpse of the traffic flow which I spotted along Bonifacio Drive, while on the way back to my office after the above mentioned meeting.
    There is also this kind of apprehension wherein, the transactions are being conducted right in the middle of the roadway. There is a lot of rooms to pull this truck over the road side to complete the necessary inspection protocols.
    On the planning side, it looks like the Metro has not gotten over an old phenomenon of urban sprawl vis-a-vis urban absorptive capability and capacity. Those kids are playing right in the middle of a public road segment, while an elder happily slumbers on the road side. Calling the road side clearing brigade out there! Or, maybe the Department of Social Works?
    Intelligent Transport System is a way to go but it has to tap the right stakeholders in order to succeed. Equipping the personnel of the concerned government agencies with right knowledge, tools and expertise is one way to get this thing work to the optimum. Making ITS work is a multi-jurisdictional venture. Every member of the cycle or chain of actors in the field has to ensure cooperation and coordination among other members. The collection of entities has to build strong relationships to ensure common perspective of the ITS benefits. This way, possible integration of products and services may come easier, alongside operation and maintenance of the systems in place.

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      I can only wish for the best for this project and I look forward to a better transportation system in the coming years, with perhaps a lot of intelligent and smart facilities already working hand in hand to deliver seamless travel within and out of the urban centers of Mega Manila.

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