I recently read two articles appearing in a major Philippine daily and a popular online site. The first one is an article that appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer – “PH economy losing $3.27B in human productivity due to traffic mess” – last September 25, 2012. The other article was posted on Rappler – “Traffic and infrastructure delays cost the Philippines” – last September 27, 2012. These were articles written after the authors’ attendance of what was an Energy and Infrastructure Forum last Sept. 25 where a transport official mentioned a recent study in his talk that estimates productivity losses of about 3.27B USD per year from Metro Manila traffic alone.
The study from the National Center for Transportation Studies that was mentioned in both articles was actually first featured in a Yahoo! Philippines article – “Traffic congestion costs Metro Manila P137B per year” – that appeared a month earlier in Aug. 28, 2012. The study being referred to is actually a paper presented by Dr. Jose Regin F. Regidor in his Professorial Chair lecture at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s College of Engineering Colloquium in early August 2012. A copy of the paper may be found below:
The main reference for this paper is the study on congestion costs that was produced by the National Center for Transportation Studies back in 2000. Credits go to the core team of Dr. Ricardo Sigua (Institute of Civil Engineering of UP Diliman), Dr. Noriel Tiglao (now with the National College of Public Administration and Governance) and Dr. Val Teodoro (now in the US) for the study. The
A much needed update may be possible in the next two years once the traffic model for Metro Manila is updated and calibrated using new data from Household Informations Surveys (HIS) and other transport and traffic surveys under the current MUCEP study that is supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Hopefully, such a model can be updated and calibrated more often in order to assess losses due to congestion and our continuing inability to provide the necessary infrastructure to alleviate the situation. While the paper and the study mentioned above focus on productivity losses, it should be emphasized that there are other costs that should be highlighted including those related to health (respiratory diseases and road crash fatalities and injuries), energy (fuel consumption and inefficiencies), and emissions (carbon and other GHG).