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Thursday, June 13, 2024

MMDA’s apocalyptic nightmare

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“The MMDA’s apparent disdain for leveraging technology is as baffling as it is infuriating”

In the ever-escalating saga of Metro Manila’s traffic chaos, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) seems to be orchestrating a symphony of incompetence. As the city earns the dubious honor of having the worst traffic globally, one can’t help but wonder if the MMDA is truly equipped to untangle this vehicular nightmare.

MMDA’s feeble attempts to tackle the issue, as articulated by acting Chairperson Don Artes, are reminiscent of a desperate gambler clutching at straws. Deploying covers to discourage onlookers? Studying elevated walkways on EDSA? Recommending subways for future trains? These proposals resemble a patchwork quilt on a sinking ship rather than a well-thought-out strategy.

The MMDA’s apparent disdain for leveraging technology is as baffling as it is infuriating. While other cities across the globe embrace smart solutions to curb congestion, the MMDA appears trapped in a time warp. The mere mention of enhancing the Communications and Command Center and implementing the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is akin to offering a band-aid for a gunshot wound. It’s 2024, and these should be basic components, not groundbreaking revelations.

Artes’ intention to consult the creators of the TomTom Traffic Index suggests a woeful lack of confidence in the agency’s own data and methodologies. If the MMDA is unsure of the accuracy of its traffic assessments, how can we trust its ability to devise effective interventions?

The chief’s attempt to shift blame onto the citizens, stressing the need for “discipline on the roads,” is a cringe-worthy evasion of responsibility. The citizens, though not beyond reproach, are not the architects of Metro Manila’s traffic apocalypse. This problem is a result of the MMDA’s historical inability to plan effectively, a point underscored by Metro Manila’s excessive vehicle load on a road network bursting at the seams.

Let’s dissect the intricacies of the MMDA’s traffic conundrum, as described by Artes. The revelation that Metro Manila has exceeded its vehicle capacity is not a newfound epiphany but an admission of gross mismanagement. With 3.6 million vehicles on a 5,000-kilometer road network, the MMDA is akin to a host welcoming more guests than the venue can accommodate.

The litany of contributing factors—vehicle volume, lane blockages, road repairs, and ongoing infrastructure projects—paints a picture of systemic failure. It’s a cacophony of incompetence where the MMDA is both conductor and lead violinist, orchestrating a traffic nightmare for Metro Manila’s beleaguered commuters.

The suspension of the No Contact Apprehension Policy (NCAP) is an egregious misstep, contributing to the surge in traffic congestion. The increase in recorded apprehensions from 761 to thousands per month after the policy’s suspension should serve as a damning indictment of the MMDA’s ill-conceived decisions.

In the spirit of constructive criticism, let’s present comprehensive recommendations for the MMDA:

1. Embrace Technology: Implement state-of-the-art traffic management systems, leveraging real-time data and predictive analytics to anticipate and mitigate congestion.

2. International Collaboration: Learn from the experiences of other cities that have successfully tackled traffic issues. Collaborate with experts and urban planners from around the globe.

3. Strategic Urban Planning: Develop a long-term, visionary plan for Metro Manila’s urban infrastructure, considering population growth, technological advancements, and sustainable solutions.

4. Public Transportation Overhaul: Invest in a reliable, efficient, and extensive public transportation network to encourage citizens to leave their cars at home.

5. Community Engagement: Foster a sense of responsibility among citizens through educational campaigns, emphasizing the impact of individual actions on the collective traffic ecosystem.

It’s time for the MMDA to shed its complacency and embrace the gravity of the situation. Metro Manila’s traffic nightmare demands more than half-hearted interventions—it requires a radical overhaul rooted in strategic planning, technological innovation, and a genuine commitment to alleviating the suffering of its citizens. The clock is ticking, and Metro Manila can’t afford to be stuck in traffic forever.

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