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More discipline to ease EDSA traffic

  • Written by Alfred P. Dalizon
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 263

ONCE again, I’m saying that one ideal solution to the perennial EDSA traffic is to have more disciplined drivers who will follow all traffic rules and regulations to the letter with our enforcers led by agents of the PNP Highway Patrol Group ready to accost violators at all times.

I’m saying this based on personal experience and I do hope that Filipino drivers will give our traffic enforcers, HPG agents or not all the courtesy they deserve. To illustrate my point, I always take the same EDSA route on my way to Camp Crame from Monday to Friday.
After turning right from EDSA Ortigas, I would already follow the long line leading to the U-turn slot going to Camp Crame’s EDSA Gate. The trouble here is many motorists prefer not to join the long line and instead bully their way to the end of the line, unmindful of the fact that all of us are also caught in heavy traffic.
I have seen many drivers doing the same thing everyday when the HPG men are not looking. This is the reason why I’ve asked PNP-HPG director, Chief Superintendent Tony Gardiola to put orange barriers in the area and assign some of his men to accost motorists who would try to cut into the long queue. Gardiola said he has personally accosted some of these abusive drivers and forced them to take the flyover going to Cubao. Serves them right.
Experience will show that traffic in EDSA will run smoothly if only Filipino drivers know to observe all traffic rules and regulations, won’t beat the red light, won’t stop on no loading and unloading zones, won’t park on no-parking zones, won’t violate the yellow box areas and stop the bad practice of ‘singit ng singit.’ If we really love our dear country, let’s show it by simply obeying traffic laws with or without the presence of the HPG.

I call it a very ambitious and expensive proposal but what the heck if it will lead to a final solution of the EDSA traffic problem. I’m referring to a proposal of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic or i-ACT to fully automate or inter-connect all traffic lights system in Metro Manila to the tune of P16 billion.
The i-ACT’s chief traffic enforcer—who else but Gardiola, a classmate of PNP chief, General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa from PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986—explained to me that they believe that automating NCR’s traffic lights particularly along EDSA is the ultimate solution to the traffic jams which is said to be causing the country a P2.4 billion daily loss in revenues.
The automation of all traffic lights system in the National Capital Region particularly along EDSA is the long-range proposal of the i-ACT which has been implementing so-called ‘immediate deliverables’ to solve traffic in metropolis particularly the 23.8 kilometer-long EDSA which is being traversed daily by an average 332,000 motor vehicles.
Gardiola said the i-ACT is being driven by a mission to ensure that by 2020, Metro Manila will be free from traffic congestion provided by an inter-connected traffic management system managed by highly-trained professional, unified and integrated traffic enforcers favorable for economic growth and a safe environment for motorists.
“The dynamic population growth and economic progress of the residents and transient workers in Metro Manila would continue to increase and will reach a point that mere human intervention would render it ineffective and eventually lose its designated result output,” he told me while saying that The Philippines should learn its lesson from our neighboring countries in Southeast Asia which have gone thru the same traffic congestion crisis and developed their own Integrated Traffic Management System.
“It is for this reason that this office is recommending that we adopt the Integrated Traffic Management System that embodies the ‘Intelligent Transport System’ that have been adopted in Japan, Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan,” he said. Gardiola explained that that system is envisioned to be the main ‘engine’ or the main propulsion system to ensure that the plans and programs of the i-ACT will be effective and its result realized beyond the duration of the proposed emergency power.
The Integrated Traffic Management System uses advanced computer-based Land Transportation Management system that fully ‘integrate’ all the electronic traffic management system into one ‘interconnected’ adaptive traffic control system that optimizes traffic flow thru optimum traffic data evaluation just like in Singapore.
The official said the system ‘automatically’ responds to emerging traffic congestion thru embedded sensors in the roads and diverts, alters and adopts traffic signals and traffic flow to less congested roadways. Gardiola said that computer-based ‘intelligence traffic system’ also have very little human ‘intervention’ including an advanced ‘non-contact’ traffic apprehension system which would result in ‘zero corruption’ among all traffic enforcers.
Gardiola said that in the absence of the Emergency Powers to be given to President Duterte by Congress to help solve Metro Manila’s traffic woes, they have already Phase 1 of their program which are meant to clear EDSA, the Mabuhay Lanes or 17 alternate routes and arterial roads affecting EDSA of all traffic obstructions in collaboration with the traffic units of all concerned local government agencies. So far, there have been observations regarding reduced travel time in EDSA.
Phase II of the program includes solving the traffic problem in the whole of the metropolis in collaboration with the Metro Manila Council. The program includes the integration of all local traffic enforcers with the i-Act to form a Single Enforcement System being enforced by highly-trained professional traffic enforcers.
Second is the harmonization of traffic laws, ordinances and circulars including those being implemented by the Land Transportation Office, LGUs, MMDA, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources into a what will be known as a Single Ticketing System.       
“These are all human interventions which can be immediately delivered but when it comes to long-range planning, we want to automate or interconnect all traffic lights systems in the metropolis and control the traffic direction thru a central command,” Gardiola said.
The ‘automated traffic lights’ could also be used in times of emergency and even in anti-criminality and anti-terror campaign similar to what is now being practiced in Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and even Malaysia, the PNP-HPG director said.  “This system will exempt nobody. Thus, we are telling our lawmakers, you want solution to the traffic problem, you provide us what we need,” he said.