THOUGHT LEADER: ENG. ROBERT RITO JR.
How do you solve a problem like Metro Manila traffic?
BY ENGR. ROBERTO RITO JR.
Before anything else, let us first look at some traffic management specifics. Combining several definitions from dictionaries and the internet, “traffic management” is basically the way to facilitate traffic
in a safe, efficient, effective, and systematic manner.
There are three major phases in traffic management: planning, implementation, and feedback mechanism, which allows you to go back and forth between planning and implementation.
There are also several stages within these phases to facilitate the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. A certain stage can still be broken down into several specific activities. In addition, traffic management can be applied to land, air, or sea traffic. We will be talking about land traffic alone in
So, what have we been doing for the past years about traffic management?
From the government’s point of view, there has been a lot. Our government has been busy solving our
land transport and traffic problems by fast tracking infrastructure, revamping policy, and tightening enforcement.
We’ve seen rather out-of-the-box solutions that are sometimes effective. A few examples: the elevated U-turn along C5, a truck route along a school zone with the lane right beside the innermost lane, and traffic enforcers who jump in to manage traffic when a stoplight is broken (instead of providing an adaptive signaling system).
Despite the efforts of the government, there seems to be no improvement. Solutions implemented
only appear to make traffic worse. Traffic congestion has become like a disease; it has spread rapidly—no
Thought leaders longer just affecting Metro Manila and the central business districts. And unfortunately, the cure has yet to be discovered. Traffic congestion is one hell of an inconvenience. It suppresses productivity; it promotes social stress.
TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AND COMMON SENSE
It may seem that we can solve the traffic crisis with common sense, but let me tell you this: traffic management has scientific methods and processes for it to be efficient and effective. We do not implement what is planned and just take it back because it was ineffective. Common sense is following traffic rules and regulations. It is driving defensively. It is knowing how to change lanes without affecting other motorists. It is knowing which correct lane to drive on. It is knowing how to properly utilize pedestrian lanes and other infrastructure. It is considering the welfare of others, and not acting for
one’s personal advantage alone. These basic, common sense examples are things that the public must know.
Let this be a wake-up call to our government and the public. When dealing with public traffic—whether
motorists or pedestrians—we should not compromise. We must follow the law. We must always promote safety through traffic management.