Gov't OKs JICA 'dream plan' to reduce traffic

Posted at 09/02/14 4:27 PM

Traffic seen to worsen by 2030

MANILA, Philippines – Government has approved a study conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aimed at reducing traffic congestion in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

JICA’s study, which was done with the help of the Department of Transportation and Communications, Department of Public Works and Highways, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and other relevant agencies, cited strategies to reduce traffic congestion significantly before it impacts the lower-income group which will be hit the hardest when congestion is expected to worsen by 2030.

Among the recommendations in the “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas” is the implementation of a modern, affordable, and well-coordinated and integrated transport system for Mega Manila by 2030, which forms JICA’s “dream plan.”

The roadmap also recommends urban expansion to adjoining provinces through an integrated public transport, affordable housing for low income groups, retrofitting of existing urban areas in integration with public transport, expanding multi-modal public transport network, and strengthening traffic management systems.

“Efficient public transport system is a pro-poor investment as it provides reasonable ways of moving. As well, it enables people to commute from suburban areas where one can afford housing in a more spacious and safer area,” said JICA Philippines senior representative Eigo Azukizawa.

The study also recommends the implementation of an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to maximize the city’s existing road capacity.

The ITS includes better traffic engineering and management that requires geometric improvements, pedestrian facilities, traffic surveillance, accident prevention, traffic safety education, and traffic enforcement.

The study said an ITS requires a signal control system, travel time prediction, road maintenance, intelligent parking, incident detection, and bus scheduling assistance among others, adding that modern technology and discipline into traffic management can help the country make better use of its available infrastructure.

JICA noted that if the traffic situation is not addressed, traffic costs will likely increase to P6 billion a day from today’s P2.4 billion.

“The study shows possible ideas, technologies, and strategies that can help the Philippines address traffic congestion and air pollution in Metro Manila. JICA hopes to work with the government in implementing some of these ideas to help improve mobility, and the quality of life of people in Metro Manila, and its surrounding areas,” said Azukizawa.

“By alleviating traffic, the Philippines can have more space for dynamic business and investment growth, and encourage economic activities in other areas outside Metro Manila in a sustainable way,” he added.

The study was approved by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Aquino.