The traffic congestion in Metro Manila and elsewhere in the country will get worse even before it gets better.
Commuters in the capital region have a first-hand experience in the daily traffic grind, even with an economy that is not fully reopened.
With a swelling population and a resurgent economy, Metro Manila will continue to see deteriorating traffic conditions.
Vehicle purchases are increasing while the road network in the metropolis remains basically the same.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has foreseen heavier traffic in the coming months with the resumption of in-person classes.
MMDA chair Romando Artes has noted that despite rising fuel prices, the daily traffic volume in Metro Manila has averaged 400,000, or just 5,000 short of the pre-pandemic level of 405,000.
The capital region registered the growing volume of vehicles despite the absence of regular public buses and work-from-home arrangements.
The rebound in vehicle sales is compounding the nightmare of commuters.
Sales rose 19.5 percent in May from the same month last year as the economy starts recovering and consumers regain their confidence to invest.
It can be safely assumed that at least half of the newly-purchased vehicles will find their way in the cities and towns of the capital region.
The MMDA, meanwhile, estimates that about half a million vehicles were added on the streets during the two-year pandemic period, with about 60 percent entering Metro Manila.
The traffic mess requires long-term solutions. Mass transportation, especially commuter trains, will reduce the number of private vehicles plying EDSA and other major thoroughfares in the metropolis.
It will be more convenient and time-saving to go on commuter trains than driving a car through the city, as what travelers experience in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and other megalopolises in Asia.
Policy makers have also thought of decentralizing Metro Manila because of road limitations.
The traffic congestion will become worse if more workers are drawn into the capital region.
Dispersing economic and commercial activities from Metro Manila to nearby provinces such as Rizal and Bulacan will put a stop to urban migration.
The incoming policy makers will have their hands full in finding a way out of this traffic jam.