New MMDA system to help solve traffic mess

Posted at 01/29/14 3:08 AM

MANILA -- Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency's new P299-million system will help solve traffic problems and even assist police in crime prevention.

Tolentino said they upgraded the MMDA's system because of a need to enter the digital stage. The system, he said, uses the Hermes software wherein they can control the traffic lights from the new command center.

"Using loop sensors and detectors, we will be able to command the traffic light, change it from red to green, if there is no volume in a particular lane. So there is no more need for a mano-mano system wherein we send out motorcycles just to fix the traffic lights," Tolentino said.

The detectors, Tolentino explained, are embedded in the pavement, which measures the volume of vehicles passing by an intersection, as well as the density of vehicles during a particular time of day.

"We are able to count the number of vehicles, and later on, we will have the ability to forecast traffic by using these counters," he added, saying the new system is patterned after that of Barcelona, Madrid, Portugal and some other European countries.

According to Tolentino, they now have the ability to respond instantly to accidents, which is one of the major causes of traffic congestion in the city.

Because they have 175 cameras placed in major thoroughfares and underpasses in the city, Tolentino said they can easily divert traffic if needed, not to mention their ability to respond during rush hours.

"Even during disasters, we can now dispatch flood control teams and provide libreng sakay," he added.

"Another 100 cameras will be installed in the first quarter of the year," Tolentino said.

"This will make it easier for us to monitor big events, like the just concluded Pista ng Poong Nazareno, as well as rallies and other mass actions," he said.

Tolentino said their new software also has facial recognition, and would be able to track down the whereabouts of criminals, and post an alarm to the authorities if the subject is within the vicinity.

"Eventually we will tie up with the PNP to have an interconnection with Crame so they can utilize the system," he said.

The MMDA chairman said they have just finished with the first phase of upgrading the system, and they have until 2016 to complete three more phases to cover the entire city's 455 intersections. - Reports from ANC