Caught (up) in traffic

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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Research topics on transport and traffic in the Philippines?

I noticed that this site has received a lot of hits for inquiries regarding undergraduate research topics. While we at UP have yet to start our first semester of the academic year 2015-2016, other schools have already started their semesters, trimesters or quarterms. I suspect students in their final or graduating year would be looking for topics for their research projects or, what some schools refer to as the undergraduate thesis projects.

I have written about our undergraduate researches at UP Diliman the past few years and listed down the topics our students have implemented for their undergraduate projects. In our case, we have 2 subjects that our students take during their final year – CE 190, a one unit course that focuses on the formulation and approval of the research project and CE 199, a three unit course for the implementation of the approved project. These are taken over 2 semesters, usually the last 2 that the student takes before graduating.

Unfortunately, not all schools would have the capability and capacity to advise students taking on topics on transport and traffic. I noticed that many schools and their advisers just let their students select topics of their own choice. Many provide minimal if any guidance to students. The latter often choose topics on current issues or problems without checking if they have the knowledge and tools to undertake substantive studies. Often too, it seems to us that the advisers are not capable of providing guidance to their own students and as such just let them seek advise elsewhere including people they would identify as resource persons but to whom they would be more dependent on for advice than their schools’ faculty members. Although their enthusiasm and interest in various topics are commendable and there are many out there who would be gracious and generous to share their time, knowledge and experience with these students, they cannot do so as regularly as full-time faculty members. In fact, it is unfair to these people whose times and resources are already constrained by their own responsibilities (e.g., a professor at DLSU also has his own students to guide and classes to teach).

Schools need to develop their own research agendas. That is so that students would be able to choose topics that their faculty can realistically and effectively guide their students instead of sending them out to become the burdens of others. These would include topics concerning local issues. Are there road safety issues at locations such as intersections near the school? Are the streets in the nearby CBD experiencing congestion? Is there an oversupply or lack of public transport services in the city or a nearby town? It seems awkward for a university in Pampanga, for example, to have students taking on a topic concerning EDSA-MRT or students of a university in Metro Manila taking on a topic on Mindanao railways, if their faculty have no relevant experiences or capabilities to properly guide the students.

I would encourage schools to identify topics concerning local issues first. As they say, charity begins at home, and working on solutions for local problems should be top of the agenda of any school. That includes us at UP and there are many topics that focus on issues in and around UP Diliman. If we can’t solve our own problems then how can we be believable in addressing those outside our direct influence area?

In the next post, I will share and example research agenda from the last academic year. This was the basis for our students selecting topics for their undergraduate researches and as starting points for our graduate students in formulating topics for their MS thesis.

Arrival at LAX

This is a follow-up to the last post on the San Diego Commuter Air Terminal.  I incorrectly stated that the info about the commuter terminal is current but it turned out  that its already closed and flights have been transferred to the main terminal. Thanks to a comment from one of my readers who pointed that out! Anyhow, from San Diego, our SkyWest plane landed at LAX and taxied to Terminal 8. I took the following photos at LAX upon arrival from San Diego.

IMG11207-20150508-1218Instead of a bridge or stairs, the airport was equipped with these combinations of covered stairs and walkways to the terminal building.

IMG11208-20150508-1219These seem to be especially fabricated for small aircraft and allowed for passengers to walk between aircraft and terminal for all weather conditions.

IMG11209-20150508-1222A look inside this ‘tube’ of sorts connecting the aircraft and the terminal

IMG11210-20150508-1222Inside Terminal 8 are passengers waiting for their boarding calls.

IMG11211-20150508-1224Another look around Terminal 8’s pre-departure lounge

IMG11213-20150508-1225Information about departures and arrivals are shown on the screens at the lounge

IMG11215-20150508-1228Long line for the shuttle to Terminal 4

IMG11218-20150508-1235Our shuttle care of American Eagle airlines

IMG11219-20150508-1235I was able to get a photo of an American Eagle airlines plane docked at one of the contraptions for enplaning/ deplaning passengers.

IMG11228-20150508-1239Buses wait their turns to drop-off and/or pick-up passengers at Terminal 4.

IMG11230-20150508-1240While waiting for our turn to alight from our bus, I took this photo of an American Airliner being serviced for luggage/freight.

IMG11234-20150508-1246Moving walkway from the arrival gate of the terminal to the baggage claim area

 
IMG11236-20150508-1247Information on arrivals served by a particular carousel are displayed on an LED screen. There is also information on the weather.

IMG11238-20150508-1249Passengers crowd around carousel 3 while waiting for their luggage to come out.

IMG11239-20150508-1253Busy driveway at LAX Terminal 4

IMG11240-20150508-1300Crosswalk between the airport terminal and the multi-level parking building

IMG11241-20150508-1301Long line of vehicles whose drivers are fetching arrivals

IMG11242-20150508-1301Parking shuttle and other airport shuttle buses passing through Terminal 4. There are vast parking lots located some distance away from the airport terminals that are used by travellers parking for long periods (i.e., park and fly for vacations or business trips).

IMG11243-20150508-1306Inside the airport parking building across from Terminal 4

IMG11244-20150508-1309Exit from the airport parking facility with the air traffic control tower in the background


IMG11246-20150508-1311The iconic central structure of LAX features modern architecture

San Diego Commuter Air Terminal

I’m starting July with a post I started writing after our trip to the US last May but which I only finished recently. The info won’t likely become stale for quite some time so its still pretty much informative for those traveling from San Diego by plane. [Correction: The terminal closed in early June with flights transferred to the main terminal or replaced by larger aircraft. For more info, you can check out this link.]

We mistakenly went to San Diego Airport’s main terminal. It turned out that our flight to Los Angeles would be via the smaller commuter terminal. It’s a good thing that they had an airport shuttle for the convenience of passengers traveling from one terminal to another. The commuter terminal sort of reminded me of the old low cost carrier terminal at Singapore’s Changi Airport but San Diego’s I think is much better in terms of amenities and design.

IMG11192-20150508-0940The counter at our boarding gate

IMG11193-20150508-1004The cafe/restaurant at the commuter terminal had a relaxed and comfortably feel about it

IMG11194-20150508-1004There was also a bar for those wanting to grab a quick drink, alcoholic or not, prior to their flights

IMG11198-20150508-1033Passengers waiting for their flights relax by conversing with their company, having a drink, listening to music or reading or just plain sitting and looking around. 

IMG11199-20150508-1123There’s a news stand at the terminal for those who want to grab something to read for the short flight or for later.

IMG11200-20150508-1124The path to the plane was clearly marked. We were fortunate that the rains stopped prior to our boarding the aircraft.

IMG11201-20150508-1124Our SkyWest plane is the smallest jet aircraft I’ve ridden on. The last time I was on an airplane of this size, it was on a turboprop between Tacloban and Manila. The space above the seats was limited and could probably fit a briefcase sized bag so if you have one of those backpacks or thicker bags with your computer, you would have to place them under the seat in front of you. Of course, this can be uncomfortable to many considering the also constricted leg room in these small aircraft.