Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Manila remains as the world’s worst city for drivers

Traffic in Metro Manila, based on the 2015 Global Satisfaction conducted by Waze, Metro Manila has the "worst traffic on Southeast Asia". Based on the 2015 Census of population by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the highly urbanized cities of Metro Manila were listed as being some of the densest cities in the world.

One of the primary causes of traffic density within Metro Manila is the current transportation infrastructure. Overall, there is a lack of quality infrastructure thus insufficient modes of mobility. The Duterte administration has promised that the coming years will be the, "golden age of infrastructure", with a record $168 billion to be spent on 5,000 projects across the nation”.

With its congestion level in 2019 totaling to a whopping 71%, Metro Manila ranked second out of 416 cities across 57 countries in urban congestion, according to the TomTom Traffic Index 2019.

TomTom, an independent location technology specialist, released its Traffic Index for 2019 on Wednesday, January 29, and noted a global increase in congestion.

While Metro Manila placed second to Bengaluru or Bangalore, India, the two cities had the same congestion level. Only 15 out of the 416 cities had a congestion level of 50% and above.

The congestion level is equivalent to how much extra time a trip will take compared to the city's baseline uncongested conditions. TomTom calculated the baseline of each city by analyzing free-flow travel times of all vehicles across an entire road network, which is recorded 24/7 daily.

Manila remains as the world’s worst city for drivers, according to traffic navigation software and application Waze.

On average, it would take almost five minutes for a motorist to travel one kilometer by car in the Philippine capital.

At 4.88 minutes per kilometer on the average, Waze said this was the worst globally in terms of traffic.

According to the report, the best day for Metro Manila congestion last year was on April 19, Good Friday. The day had the lowest average daily congestion at 0 percent. Meanwhile, the worst day for Metro Manila traffic in 2019 was on August 16, a Friday.

TomTom also bared that Friday has the worst rush hour from 6 to 7 p.m.

“Travelling after 7 p.m. on Friday could save you up to 5 hours per year (for a 30-minute commute),” the report said.

The Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure for Metro Manila and its Surrounding Areas (Region III & Region IV-A) study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in response to the National Economic Development (NEDA) request for assistance in creating a guide for transport development in Metro Manila, the two regions of Central Luzon and CALABARZON. The guide was made to help NEDA deliberate on the contents of a short-term (2014 - 2016) and a medium term (2017 - 2022) transport investment program (TRIP).

For the short-term transport investment program (TRIP), it takes the goals of the Philippine Development Plan for 2011 to 2016 and makes it into projects in the transport sector. It has invested as much as 5% of the GDP in infrastructure as one of the five key strategies to achieving the TRIP. A huge difference from the previous investing rate, which was as low as 2% of the GDP.

Another cause of heavy traffic in the cities is the increase of the purchasing power of most people in Metro Manila. According to Euromonitor’s Consumer Lifestyles in the Philippines (2015), young professionals in the Metro tend to buy small cars such as Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Honda Jazz that adds to road congestion. This is due to the affordability of the said cars, which gives them reason not to use public transport.

The congestion of vehicles on the road is not entirely unhealthy for the society. In a more specific viewpoint, the congestion between vehicles within a particular region, allows the circulation of other vehicles. Congestion occurs inevitably in highly urbanized sectors where the ratio between the population of people and the given area is not proportional and when the demand is high. In some cases, it is even desirable up to a certain point since getting rid of it imposes higher costs than allowing it to persist. The main social effects that occur due to the congestion of vehicles are namely: wasting of time (non-productivity; opportunity cost), delays, frustrated drivers/motorists/passengers, encouraging road rage.

Celine Pialago, spokesperson for the MMDA, said traffic in the metropolis continues to worsen due to the large volume of cars.

“We cannot deny the report. Paulit-ulit namin sinasabing congested na tayo,” Pialago said.

She cited the perennial traffic jams along EDSA where an average of 410,000 vehicles ply daily, way above its capacity of 245,000 cars.     

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Waze sometimes lengthens the travel time of motorists, but admitted that the traffic situation in Metro Manila causes inconvenience to the public.

“Sometimes, Waze is a waste. When I use the Waze app, my travel time becomes longer,” Panelo said.