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Metro Manila Urban Transport Development Plan (1990-2000) Project (UTDP)

April 2015


I stumbled upon an unfinished draft I have on a study or series of studies conducted back in the 1990’s. These studies were conducted by several agencies over a decade. I think I have been procrastinating on finishing this brief post on a project that has had a major impact on Metro Manila transport and traffic since that time and prior to the completion of the JICA-funded Metro Manila Urban Transportation Integration Study (MMUTIS) in 1999. The project actually overlapped with MMUTIS’ implementation from 1996-1999 and probably influenced MMUTIS in terms of what government agencies provided as inputs to the study.

The Metro Manila Urban Transport Development Plan (UTDP) is an inter-agency collaboration among the DOTC, DPWH, MMA (precursor of the MMDA), NEDA, CHPG (Constabulary Highway Patrol Group of the Philippine National Police) and MTPC. This consists of various studies undertaken from the year 1990 to 2000 aimed to determine what projects can be implemented to improve urban transport in Metro Manila towards the turn of the century. Sounds familiar?

Among the most relevant studies conducted was the comparison of proposals for a mass transit system along EDSA. The two proposals compared were the Philtrak bus system and Street-level LRT. The Philtrak option is quite intriguing because its description is very much like the current bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in many cities around the world. However, there is no reference to bus systems already operating abroad at the time (e.g., Curitiba in Brazil already had an extensive BRT network at the time).

The study concluded that the Philtrak was preferable to the LRT along EDSA. Of course, we now know what got built along EDSA – a light rail system (EDSA MRT) that is now carrying more than twice the number of passengers it was estimated to carry. This is despite the conclusion from collaborating government agencies including the DOTC favoring the bus system with an exclusive ROW. It is also now obvious that neither the LRT nor Philtrak is most suitable as a mass transit system along EDSA. What is most appropriate is a heavy rail system that would be able to carry more passengers along the corridor.

[Reference: UTDP reports, 1999-2000, NCTS Library, UP Diliman]


  1. Commuter says:

    Hello! Regarding the recently implemented express bus system along EDSA: Though it seems to be a step in a better direction regarding our current mass transit, it still seems poorly implemented.

    What are your opinions regarding this express system? Can we hope that this may continue to develop into a BRT system?


    • d0ctrine says:

      The express bus recently introduced along EDSA is still on experimental stage and I gather from sources within DOTC that there are very few units operating. Despite this “experimental” nature, they seem to be hyping it too much that people expect a lot from the service. I share the others’ opinion that the express bus should be provided an exclusive lane along its route to ensure higher service efficiency (i.e., shorter travel times). Then maybe the service can evolve into a BRT. These don’t have to be articulated buses though the latter models have captured the imagination of many who have been frustrated with public transport in Metro Manila. Perhaps DOTC should also explore other corridors for an express service. My candidate would include Cogeo-Cubao via Marcos Highway and Aurora Blvd. and Antipolo-Crossing or Binangonan-Crossing via Ortigas Ave. These are already ripe for rail transport but would immediately benefit from an express bus service.

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