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Common causes of traffic congestion along Philippine roads

June 2013
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As a follow-up to a previous post on traffic congestion, I am writing on some of the most basic causes of congestion along Philippine roads. I say most basic because these are the usual situations we see along the road as we commute. And these are also supposed to be easily solved or addressed by the most basic approaches – enforcement. Here are a couple of photos and commentaries on this matter.

IMG06089-20130517-1744Commuters occupying two lanes of the road as they wait for public transport along Marcos Highway in Pasig – PUVs like the jeepney in the photo stop in the middle of the road to load/unload passengers. Were there traffic enforcers/aides in the area? Sometimes. Were they doing their jobs? Definitely not. In many cases, I’ve seen enforcers using the congestion (i.e., slowed traffic) to apprehend number coding violators. Now, number coding is premised on motorists being discouraged from traveling during certain times of the day to reduce congestion from vehicle volume. In the photo above, it’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t number coding violators but the mayhem caused by public transport and commuters. Something that traffic enforcers/aides could have acted on and with regularity and persistence so that they can positively influence jeepney driver and commuters towards orderly conduct.

IMG06068-20130507-1152On-street parking and pedestrian activity along Manila roads – many cities such as Manila are guilty of not having any serious initiatives to address on-street parking. In many cases, its tolerated particularly in commercial areas as local governments don’t like to engage business in what they assume to be the small issue (or non-issue) of parking. In the case of pedestrians, it is a behavioral thing that requires a bit more effort than police or enforcer visibility (or the occasional apprehension). As a result, people will generally cross wherever they want and walk along the carriageway, not minding their safety. Of course, such behavior is encouraged by the absence of space for walking as vehicles, merchandise and other stuff occupy space that’s supposed to be for pedestrians.


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