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Metro crowded with 2.5m autos

The increasing number of vehicles mainly caused the worsening traffic in the National Capital Region, a Metro Manila Development Authority official said.

Lawyer Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations, told The Standard that there are many reasons why major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, especially Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, are congested.

But the major contributing factor, according to Carlos, is the growing number of motor vehicles.

“It’s really the volume, nothing else. Can you imagine the 2.5 million registered vehicles in Metro Manila? How about other regions like those in Region 4 but they are working in Metro Manila? Our daytime (road) population is 14 million,” he said.

Carlos said among the other reasons why motorists continue experiencing monstrous traffic are the increasing number of road accidents, undisciplined drivers and the ongoing numerous infrastructure and road projects initiated by the government.

“Colorum is not really a problem .. it is minimal.  What we need is a long term effective and efficient program for traffic, a master plan.”

Study showed that for a mega-city like Metro Manila, 25 percent of the total land area should be allotted for roads. Based on the MMDA’s records, only 5,000 kilometers of road network is in place instead of the ideal  8,000 kilometers.

“Currently, we only have 5,000-kilometer road network but based on a study we should have at least 8,000 kilometers. So, kulang pa tayo ng 3,000 kilometers,” Carlos said.

The low price of brand new cars is also a factor, he added. “It contributed 19 percent increase.”

Some analysts said to solve traffic congestions in Metro Manila, the government must concentrate on the development and improvement of the public transport system. They recommended also the strict regulation of car ownership, a no garage, no car policy and higher fees on parking area.

Asked if the government is considering limiting the number of car ownership, Carlos said “How will you regulate the right to possession, the right to own, how would you do that? It’s a constitutional right. Just like a one child policy. Just like if you don’t have a garage, you have no right to own a car, but is it acceptable? Would the people accept it?

Carlos said a zoning plan can be considered one of the solutions to traffic. “But the problem is how would you cure it, gawa na yan eh. Sana kung pwede tayo gumawa ng capital city. Just like in Washington, yun bago yun. Naiplano muna bago tinayo. So, tama ang zoning.”

In 2013, the Land Transportation Office registered 7,690,038 motor vehicles in the country. Of the numbers, 868,148 are cars; 1,794,572 utility vehicles (UVs); 346,396 sport utility vehicles (SUVs); 358,445 trucks; 31,665 buses; 4,250,667 motorcycles or tricycles; and 40,145 trailers.

The LTO listed a total of 2,101,148 motor vehicles registered in NCR for that year, or 27 percent of the country’s total.

In a recent interview, MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino had admitted that the volume of vehicles using EDSA remains a problem. He said EDSA’s carrying capacity is 160,000 vehicles per direction.

“Right now, 260,000 vehicles travel per direction along the main thoroughfare on a daily basis. The total number of vehicles traverse EDSA is 520,000 vehicles per day. Magbanggaan lang ang dalawa diyan, wala na tayo,” he said.

MMDA officials said one reason of the over population along EDSA is the ongoing construction of the Skyway 3 project.

Tolentino said there is a need for ten more mass transport system to improve traffic in the Philippines, especially in Metro Manila.

Last year, the Japan International Cooperation Agency released a “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas” (Infra Roadmap for Mega Manila).

The transport roadmap emphasizes the need to establish better north-south connectivity and appropriate hierarchy of different transportation modes such as roads, railways, and other mass transits. This forms the Dream Plan to have a modern, affordable and a well-coordinated and integrated transport system for Mega-Manila by 2030.

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