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High-capacity modes of transpo can solve traffic problems in Manila

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Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian called on Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA to come up with a comprehensive but doable plan that will ease the traffic problems in the metropolis.


Gatchalian issued the appeal after Numbeo conducted an international survey that placed the Philippines as one of the 10 countries with the worst traffic situation in the world. Other countries include Kenya, Egypt, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Nigeria, Jordan, Iran, South Africa, and Thailand.


In April 2009, Serbian software engineer and mathematician Mladen Adamovic established the website of Numbeo, a research firm that made sure the results of their studies are not influenced by any government.



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“The traffic survey shows the need to decongest Metro Manila. The solution is to invest heavily in mass transit. That’s the only way,” said Gatchalian, a long-time advocate of high-capacity and super-efficient modes of mass transport.


“Band-aid solutions cannot untangle the traffic problems in Metro Manila. A realistic and doable plan can help ease the problem. And part of the solution is an efficient mass transport system like the proposed BRT or Bus Rapid Transit,” he added.

The integrated bus rapid transit system uses bus ways, stations, and terminals adapted for large-capacity buses. It also features a fare integrated operation with smaller buses in the outskirt areas of Mega Manila.

The bus-based rapid transit mode offers solution to cities interested in high quality public transport services using a moderate level of capital and operating costs, according to the World Bank.


Gatchalian pointed out that the BRT should have been implemented years ago during the time of MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando.



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Solving the traffic problem in Metro Manila calls for a mix of the BRT and investing in heavy and light rails, which will be on top of existing Light Railway Transit or LRT and the Mass Railway Transit or MRT, which have been experiencing repeated glitches and a major accident, he added.

Gatchalian said it is well within the powers and authority of MMDA to make a comprehensive study on what should be done to ease the heavy traffic flow along the major thoroughfares in Metro Manila which can be likened to a “cross” being carried daily by motorists and commuters.

“Although suggestions from concerned sectors are welcome, it should be the MMDA that should find ways on how to ease the flow of traffic not only on a daily or weekly basis but on a more strategic level, and this calls for a comprehensive but doable plan,” said Gatchalian, who is the senior vice chair of the House committee on Metro Manila development.

Concerned officials and agencies have been proposing various solutions to Metro Manila’s traffic woes, including the four-day work week for government offices in Metro Manila and the proposed ban of private vehicles along EDSA during the morning rush hour. (R. Burgos)



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