WITH A LI’L HELP FROM FRIENDS | Manila looks to Singapore for help in solving intractable traffic woes

September 3, 2017 - 11:50 PM
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Singapore's financial district seen from Merlion Park. (Reuters file)
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MANILA – The traffic horrors of Metro Manila are so challenging that Philippine officials are turning to an ASEAN friend – Singapore – with a track record for efficiency and discipline and technology applications, in hopes of borrowing the most relevant features of their template.

Department of Transportation officials, led by Secretary Art Tugade, along with MMDA Chairman Danny Lim recently signed an agreement between Singapore government representatives for this purpose.

The DOTr is tapping in particular the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, an organization under the Singaporean government. Under the agreement, the Singaporeans will help their Philippine counterparts craft policy in traffic and transport management, and in the use of an Intelligent Transport System. The two sides hope Manila can draw from Singapore’s remarkable experience in solving its own traffic problems.

The city-state is acknowledged to have one of the most efficient transport systems in the whole world, anchored on an excellent mass transport system and technology-based systems that influence motorists’ use of road networks through calibrated toll depending on the time of day and the congestion level in certain routes.

The Philippines’ Transportation department is now also studying a similar model that imposes toll on the use of key road networks in order to discourage people from using these during rush hours.

There are plans as well to use technology for surveillance, parking management and enforcement of bus lanes, rules against illegal parking and other traffic laws.

Authorities are also eyeing a centralized traffic and incident management system to drastically cut the turnaround time for removing road blockages and disruptions to traffic arising from accidents.

According to MMDA Chairman Danny Lim, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has actually been carrying out a lot of measures that rely on technology.

The DOTr has not yet issued a timetable for completion of its work with the Singaporean consultants, who have only started to buckle down to work.