On transportation after the Covid-19 pandemic
Our lives will never be the same after this pandemic. The term ‘after’ is actually quite vague because various estimates figure that the Covid 19 pandemic is expected to have multiple outbreaks over the next 1 to years. A big part of our lives and particularly our daily routines is travel. This refers mainly to our regular commutes between our homes, workplaces, schools, shops, and other typical places that transportation engineers and planners like to term as origins and destinations. Transport will definitely be impacted by the pandemic as we seek to have physical distance between people. Public transport will be hard hit as, for one, as the number of passengers will have to be limited per vehicle. What were crowded buses with 60+ passengers (including those standing) will likely have only 20 to 30 passengers depending on the layout. Jeepneys that used to seat 20-24 passengers (excluding sabit or hangers as these are prohibited in the first place) may only accommodate 8 to 10 passengers, again depending on the layout. Tricycles will have to carry only one passenger in the sidecar with no-one allowed to sit behind the driver. Here’s an article and much stats on how the pandemic is disrupting transit elsewhere but particularly in US cities:
- How coronavirus is disrupting public transit, https://transitapp.com/coronavirus [Last accessed: 3/30/2020]
Judging from what was practically the elimination of traffic congestion along Metro Manila and other cities’ roads, it is clear that we cannot go back to transportation where cars dominate road space. And so public transport will have to carry that additional burden of private car users being required to use public transport modes instead. While its possible to do the number crunching to determine bus, jeepney, van and train frequencies, it is uncertain if there are enough manpower to run these vehicles under a protocol to ensure that passengers (and drivers and conductors) will not be infected or spread Covid-19.
Transport route maps for Greater Metro Manila/ NCR during the quarantine period
I am sharing the following maps produced by the Department of Transportation (visit the DOTr Facebook page) and the Office of the Vice President. The details of operations are in their respective social media accounts that are being shared/circulated.
Here are the maps for 16 routes from the DOTr:
Here is a map from the OVP as well as a detailed itinerary for one of the routes they operate:
Planning for the new normal – post Covid-19
There have been many discussions lately about urban planning and transport planning in relation to the pandemic currently gripping the world. There are opinions and assessments about topics such as population density, employment, public transportation, physical or social distance, as well as the prospects for reducing car dependence.
Here is a nice article that compiles some of the better articles on planning related to the current Covid-19 pandemic that’s affecting our planet:
Brasuell, J. (2020) Debating the Future of Cities, and Urban Densities, After the Pandemic, planetizen.com, https://www.planetizen.com/node/108814?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=news-03232020&mc_cid=a891454817&mc_eid=9ccfe464b1 [Last accessed 3/24/2020].
The world will never be the same after what everyone has gone through during this pandemic. Let us not wish we could go back to normal because, as the saying goes, that “normal” was what got us here in the first place.
Keep safe everyone!
Modified sidecars for tricycles
I googled the modified tricycles that I remembered was featured on TV before. Here’s what I’ve found from a news program of ABS CBN.
Credits to Bandila for this image of tricycles in La Union province.
Here’s from another internet source showing a rather sporty sidecar and a motorcycle that comfortably seats 2 people.
There are many tricycle sidecar makers around the country. Many of these are home industries or small shops that make and sell few sidecars. At times, the products are on-demand. As the first photo showed, it is possible to come up with sleek designs from our local shops.
During this quarantine period and sfter we get through this COVID-19 challenge, perhaps we should rethink how transportation system should be to ensure not just road safety but also safety from other health hazards as well. Of course, that is something we should take on together with other issues (e.g., employment, city planning, housing, health care systems, etc.) that are now so obvious we have no excuse of not taking notice of them.
Use and modification of the tricycle for the quarantine situation
With the whole country practically in quarantine to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, transportation has become very difficult to many people requiring services as the commute mainly between their homes and places of employment or work. First and priority are the frontline workers – medical personnel like doctors, nurses, technologists and other health and allied workers battling to detect, test and treat people with COVID-19. Our uniformed personnel in the armed forces and police as well as barangay officials and tanods are also doing their part in containing this virus. And then there are many who need to go to their workplaces to earn a living – not all have the luxury of working from home despite its necessity in these times. While there are vehicles to shuttle frontline workers, there are fewer for those who don’t have their own (private) vehicles. Mayors have taken the reins, it seems, for managing the situations in their respective areas and many have stepped up in trying to bridge the gaps including those for transportation.
The subject of this post is the contention by national government officials that tricycles cannot be permitted for public transport because the desired social distance cannot be attained for the trike. Many, including me, have opined that it can, given some modifications (or add-ons), and subject to the driver and passenger (one passenger only!) exercising caution and wearing the required protective gear. I picked up the following drawing showing a modified tricycle:
[Credits to Jini Maraya for her idea and illustration]
The set-up could also be applied to pedicabs or padyak – the non-motorized version of these tricycles. Operationally, too, I would suggest that only a limited number of tricycles be allowed to transport people per day. The purpose of the quarantine will be defeated if we had hundreds or even thousand of tricycles roaming our streets with their drivers looking for fares. Perhaps a system can be devised to determine the optimum number per day. Perhaps LGUs can even take control of the trikes and pay their drivers so as to make their services free to those needing it (e.g., people going to the market or grocery for food, people going to drugstores to purchase medicines, etc.). And so the idea of Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto can work. It is not so difficult after all to refine his idea so it will comply with the requirements of the situation. As they say: “Kung gusto gagawa ng paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan.” [Very roughly – there are so many excuses for stuff certain people don’t want to try out.] This also shows we need to use more brain cells during these challenging times. Promise, it won’t hurt! 🙂
Take care and keep safe everyone!
NCR checkpoint map
I just wanted to share the checkpoint map developed by a good friend from UP. Here is the text and link provided by UP Resilience Institute head Mahar Lagmay on his FB page:
Metro Manila quarrantine checkpoint map now available. It is already linked with the Google Traffic Map. Sana makatulong. You can check the traffic status if you zoom in on the interactive map.
Many thanks to Prof. Noriel Christopher Tiglao of UP NCPAG. He is a civil engineer by profession and has conducted research on transportation management and policy with the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS).
Copy paste to your web browser this URL http://22.214.171.124/
and continue to accept. Walang pong virus iyan.
I hope this is good info to many!
Level of Service (LOS) and social distance for pedestrians
I was reviewing materials for my classes now that the latter have been suspended and we are switching to online teaching. I came upon the topic of level of service (LOS) for pedestrians – for walkways and sidewalks to be exact. Following is the LOS table for walkways and sidewalks (platoon-adjusted) with my note, and an illustration of walkway LOS thresholds with my annotations. The recommended minimum social distance is 1 meter. That translates to a space of 3.14159 square meters if we assume a circular area around a person.
Platoon-adjusted means people are moving and grouped according to the speed of a lead person or persons dictating their walking speed.
I annotated the illustration to show the minimum pedestrian spacing, the ideal spacing, and situations when the desired social distance is not achieved.
The big question now is if we can achieve the minimum given the mostly inferior pedestrian facilities we have in the country. Do you know of any areas where this can be achieved? BGC? Trinoma? MOA? UP Diliman Campus? Iloilo City’s Esplanade?
Manila’s PUV stops
Last week, I went to a meeting somewhere at the Mall of Asia complex and took a couple of photos of the public transport stops in the City of Manila. These seem to be the most modern designs in the metropolis and bears a slogan – Ang Bagong Maynila (The New Manila).
I’ll try to get photos of stops from other LGUs of Metro Manila to compare with the photos above.
Politics: Questions on Succession
Here is another political post so click on another if this is not your thing. In a previous post, I wrote about politics in general and cited the example of Rizal politics. I write more about this topic based on my observations and assessment.
A big problem with patronage and clan politics is succession. Ipinamamana na lang ba ang posisyon sa gobyerno? (Are positions in government supposed to be like things that are handed down like inheritance?] Many cities and municipalities are like that and there are many so-called prominent families who hold top positions with some occupying Mayor, Vice Mayor and several Councilor positions. The more powerful ones also hold Governor, Representative and even Senator (which is a national post).
Rizal has very much similar circumstances with the congressional districts of the province and the capital city of Antipolo practically being dominated by certain families. The first district of Rizal has not had anyone except a Duavit while the second was for a while been held by a Rodriguez until a defeat in the last election by what seemed to be an upstart. He is actually from a political family from the southern Philippines whose been a good staff of the Ynares clan. Antipolo’s two districts are controlled by the Punos and the Acops. With both already juggling the post among their immediate families, there seems to be no one to end their dynasties. Even well-performing politicians like Cainta’s Nieto will be hard-pressed to run for Governor or Congressman.
It would take much more like perhaps a crisis or something disastrous for these well-entrenched politicians to be defeated. Nieto did it just when his predecessor was attempting to build a dynasty on the heels of subsequent disastrous floods in Cainta. But perhaps the case of Vico Sotto’s campaign and resulting upset of another dynasty in Pasig offers as a more interesting study of engaging and transformative politics? Let’s wait some more and see how things develop. Will they remain and sustain their momentum without losing (part of) their souls? Or will they end up being succumbing to the temptations of the ‘system’?
School shuttle bus service in Cebu
Almost 20 years ago, there was an initiative by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) involving the fielding of buses to take students of Ateneo and Miriam from certain pick-up points (e.g., SM North EDSA, White Plains, SM Marikina, etc.). That was in an effort to reduce the private vehicle traffic that clogs Katipunan during the weekdays. That did not meet any success and was scrapped. Years later another initiative was hatched with buses again provided with a pick-up point at SM Marikina. That is supposed to be still operational at present but one acquaintance observed that there are fewer passengers on this bus and that he fears it will soon be scrapped, too.
Last January, we chanced upon a bus service provided by the University of Cebu. The pick-up point was SM Consolacion, which was to the north of Cebu City. Consolacion town was the second town to the north after Mandaue City. We chanced upon this after observing the early arrival and formation of a queue by students at the still-closed mall. Security informed us of the service after we inquired with them. We were conducting surveys for a transport study we were doing in the area and were deploying our surveyors when we saw the students.
University of Cebu School Service bus turning across SM City Consolacion towards the bay in front of the mall
Students boarding the bus include what looks like grade school, high school and college students
The bus didn’t return for another pick-up, and there were no other buses or school service vehicles that arrived that morning so I guess this was a scheduled service with a capacity just enough for the number of students waiting that morning (typical number?). I do not know if these students are subscribed to or had to sign up for the service but there has to be a system of sorts so the university can assess what type of vehicle and the frequency for pick-ups. We were not able to observe if the bus returned sometime later that day for the return trips of the students.
We thought that such efforts are advantageous to many students and even faculty members and staff of the university. Such practices or services should be replicated by other schools as well and collectively may help alleviate congestion by reducing individual vehicle trips.