Solution to the traffic chaos

ariel nepomuceno_1The daily traffic congestion in Metro Manila results to huge opportunity losses, wasted productive time, extreme stress, smog, punctuality becoming a forgotten virtue and, in some instances, road rage.  In an attempt to cure this chaos, we have consistently emphasized that we only need to instill discipline among drivers and for traffic enforcers to diligently do their job.

The bad news is this: The regular traffic mess can only be solved with long-term painful solutions. Yes, discipline could alleviate our collective burden to a certain degree. Diligence of enforcers can also provide some relief, but only up to a limited level. However, these will not really permanently solve the traffic crisis for the long haul.

The numbers are clear 

IN Edsa alone, the average daily number of vehicles that pass through this main access far exceeds its designed efficient capacity. According to former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Atty. Cris Saruca, Edsa must only accommodate around 280,000 vehicles every day.  However, the current daily average of vehicles using Edsa is between 300,000 and 350,000. No wonder the new normal traveling time has worsened from the previous one hour to at least two hours from  Makati to Quezon City.

And causing the continuous deterioration of the almost 24/7 monstrous traffic, at least 26 percent, or 197,000, additional vehicles were added to our country’s vehicle population from January to July this year. And the number increases by at least 20 percent monthly. Meanwhile, the size and capacity of our roads remain almost constant. Yet, we don’t have a serious and effective vehicle-reduction program, such as systematically retiring old vehicles or imposing tax and registration disincentives for newly acquired ones.

It doesn’t take a genius to decipher the predictable result. Traffic will be worse before it gets better.

Long-term infrastructure projects urgent

WE have to embrace the long-term main solution and the cost it entails in terms of funds and the terrible traffic mess it will cause while building the needed infrastructure. The public must understand and support the necessary sacrifice if we intend to solve this daily crisis.

We need to construct elevated highways that will traverse Mega Manila and the nearby cities and provinces.  These must run above the old road network that can no longer efficiently serve the commuting needs of the overgrown population.

Subways for trains must be built to prepare us for the future. This engineering super structure must be done if we plan to cope with the constantly increasing number of vehicles and people.

A mass-transit system must finally be provided by the government. We are among the few nations in the world that still don’t have a decent and dependable mass-transit system that would complement, if not replace, our penchant for private vehicles as our main mode of transportation.

Spread the economic progress 

The current administration of President Duterte is accurately pursuing the vision of spreading the economic progress outside the traditional Metro Manila-based development. The campaign to change our form of government to a federal system is one indication that, indeed, other regions must flourish by allowing resources to be freely utilized and managed by the regions where these resources come from in the first place.

We have to encourage the use of Batangas International Port, for example, as the main destination of our regular importations. According to a research by Japan International Cooperation Agency, this move would significantly decongest the traffic in Metro Manila and save the shipment cost of many imports and manufactures. This research also further suggests that we can also explore utilizing Cavite as another area for our international airport.

The price we have to pay is, indeed, extremely high if we want to finally solve our traffic problem.

The upward movement of our economy must no longer be hampered by the traffic that threatens us daily and traps us in an almost perpetual standstill. We have no other choice but to start the solution now if we hope to become a vibrant nation in the future.


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