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Predictability of school-generated traffic congestion

September 2012
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I have written about schools generating much traffic. The same characteristics of trip generation make congestion along streets affected by the schools quite predictable. For example, traffic congestion due primarily to the trip generation characteristics of schools along Katipunan Ave. may be observed during 6:30 – 7:30 AM as well as around 3:30 – 4:30 PM. The afternoon congestion though is exacerbated by the presence of significant truck traffic using C5 as part of their routes. Other cases would have similar predictability and I pointed this out to some guests while we were having a coffee break from our day-long meetings. The following photos were taken in the mid-afternoon and shows congestion along Ortigas Avenue in Mandaluyong City, including along an overpass affected by school traffic generation from a private school (the school is the one with the dome in the photo). Traffic is typically bad between 3:20 to 4:30 PM, after which it subsides until after 5:30 when the afternoon to evening rush from workplaces to homes take over much of the road space.

View of the EDSA-Ortigas intersection showing the start of the build-up of traffic along the left turn overpass to Greenhills on the left side of the photo.

View of the same flyover at around 3:36 PM. Note the long queue along both lanes of the overpass.

View of traffic congestion from the 16F of the building hosting the headquarters of the Department of Transportation and Communications. The overpass featured in the preceding photos is shown with vehicles descending to merge with Ortigas Avenue traffic. Both directions of Ortigas Ave. are congested.

Congestion as seen from the street level. Vehicles descending the overpass are generally bound for San Juan while those on the foreground are bound for the EDSA-Ortigas intersection. Long queues are likely caused by a combination of high traffic volumes and non-optimal green time management at the intersection.

Another view of the congestion at both ground and overpass levels. Traffic is really bad when you have ambulant vendors walking along the overpass to sell their wares (e.g., cigarettes, candies, water, etc.) like what the man on the overpass near the van is doing.

Given the predictability of traffic congestion along this road, many motorists who have a choice or alternate route they can take avoid this road during such periods. Unfortunately, those taking public transport cannot avoid the congestion with passengers thereby incurring delays equivalent to wasted time. Most trips generated by such schools take private vehicles often having low occupancies (e.g., a driver plus a student = 2 passengers per vehicle). Perhaps schools should offer better school services/buses for their students? Or maybe there is a public transport option to be explored here? One thing is for sure and that is people at a young age learn that having cars is better than commuting. Such thinking is eventually carried over to when the same children become adults and an orientation favoring cars over public transport or even walking or cycling that they will eventually pass on to their own children, and so on. Perhaps our schools are in a very good position to influence the developing minds of their students and be responsible in promoting sustainable transport to their students.


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