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December’s already “Chrismassy” in our part of the world and so in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, here is another article I am sharing:
Polzin, S. (2017) “All I Want for Christmas is a New Transport Planning Process,” Planetizen.com, https://www.planetizen.com/node/96036?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=news-12042017&mc_cid=e64f0c0c60&mc_eid=9ccfe464b1 (Last accessed: 12/6/2017)
In school, we’ve been taught and are still teaching many of the old concepts of transportation planning. I believe these are still important and relevant especially since the fundamentals, or the basics if I may say, are still needed in many situations around the country (i.e., the Philippines). The article above is relevant to our case because it helps build awareness of what is now being discussed and what the future will bring to us. That future for transport is not necessarily immediate although there are already pressures coming from various sectors and technology has been key to the disruptions and the leapfrogging we are experiencing. I like what a friend opines overtime he gets the chance. That is, that the technology-push is not the solution to a lot of our problems because we cannot ignore the basic deficiencies in our transportation system that technology alone cannot overcome.
We are holding a forum on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) today at the De La Salle University (DLSU) along Taft Avenue, Manila. Following is the banner and the program as of February 16:
In the workshops scheduled in the afternoon, the plan is to review the DOST roadmap and the ITS Master Plan. The DOST roadmap is basically on the research and development agenda of the agency. In the past, this has been associated mainly with the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) program of which several major universities are a part of including UP Diliman, DLSU, Ateneo and Mapua Institute of Technology. Eventually, ITS became the theme for other R&D including those that were packaged as ITS but not necessarily falls under the category (i.e., projects like the AGT, hybrid bus and bike share are more sustainable transport than ITS).
The ITS Master Plan is actually something developed under a project implemented through the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) more than 6 years ago and originally only for Metro Manila. This plan is being eyed as the foundation for a bigger one that hopefully would apply to the rest of the country.
The United Nations (UN) has recently published a new report on “Mobilizing sustainable transport for development” authored by a High Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport formed by the UN. The report and other resources may be found at the following website:
This is under the UN’s Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. You can check out the other materials at the website. The UN has many initiatives on sustainable transport and has been very active in promoting or advocating for sustainable transport for a long time now. It is through the UN Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), for example, that the Philippines and other ASEAN countries were able to formulate their national EST strategies. The new report continues on the UN’s commitment to promote sustainable transport to improve people’s lives around the world.
Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) has a relatively young program under its School of Civil Engineering. This is led by their Dean, Dr Francis Aldrine Uy, who is also active with the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE). Mapua has been aggressive the recent years in presenting and publishing papers in transportation engineering and planning. Following are the papers from the MIT:
- Integrated Non-Motorized Transportation System For A Sustainability Oriented Intramuros [Francis Aldrine Uy]
- A Study on the Effectiveness of Eco-Mobility Component: E-Jeepneys in Makati City [Francis Aldrine Uy]
- Comparative Study of the Effects of Fuel Sources (Diesel, Gasoline and Autogas) in Public Transportation in Metro Manila on Price, Emission and Health Issues [Francis Aldrine Uy]
- Determinants of Demands of Pasig River Ferry Service [Francis Aldrine Uy]
- Determination of Cost Impact using Mathematical Model Comprising City Logistics to Quick Service Restaurants in Metro Manila [Francis Aldrine Uy]
- Development of Evacuation Plan by Utilizing Transportation Modeling in the City of Borongan, Eastern Samar [Riches Bacero]
- Operational Performance Analysis of Median U-Turn Intersections as Traffic Control Facility in EDSA [Riches Bacero]
- Community Perception on Trans-operability of Intramuros [Riches Bacero]
- Paradigm Shift Strategy of Inclusive Mobility: The Applicability of Bus Rapid Transit along Commonwealth Avenue [Riches Bacero]
- Evaluation of Strontium Aluminate in Traffic Paint Pavement Marking for Rural and Unilluminated Roads [Riches Bacero]
- Study on the Impact of the Construction Activity of Skyway Stage 3 on Traffic Conditions along Osmeña Highway and San Andres Street [Geoffrey Cueto]
- A Design for Silver Star Integrated Green Bus Terminal [Geoffrey Cueto]
- Proposed Diversion Road to Improve Traffic Movement of Commercially Developed Areas in Bacoor, Cavite [Geoffrey Cueto]
- Establishing the City Logistic Concept in Improving the Freight Distribution in Metro Manila [Geoffrey Cueto]
- An Analysis on the Accessibility Level of Public Transit for Persons with Disability: In care of Light Rail Transit (LRT 1) [Geoffrey Cueto]
- Design and Development of the Puerto Princesa Airport Passenger Terminal [Jocelyn Buluran]
- Design and Development of Passenger Terminal at Batangas Port [Jocelyn Buluran]
- Design and Development of Passenger Terminal Extension of Clark International Airport [Jocelyn Buluran]
- Determinants of “Travel with Dignity” of Passengers of MRT3 [Jocelyn Buluran]
- Integrating Sustainable Non – Motorized Public Transport in the City of Manila, Philippines Through Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) [Jocelyn Buluran]
My only comment about certain papers in the list is that many do not seem to be research papers and definitely more on the practice (i.e., design) side than the academic. I can say this based on the presentations made that I was able to attend as well as the papers themselves in the proceedings of the conference that I was able to browse. Still, Mapua has very good potential to come up with good papers from the prolific Dr Uy and his young faculty members led by Engr. Riches Bacero.
The current President of Mapua, Dr Reynaldo Vea, is also the current President of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP). Dr Vea was formerly Dean of UP Diliman’s College of Engineering and Officer-in-charge of UP’s National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS). His specialty is on maritime transport as he has a degree in naval architecture.
An acquaintance announced that his company is planning to sponsor an event aiming to attract developers to come up with apps that could help alleviate transport problems in Metro Manila (and probably and potentially, elsewhere). This reminded me of a similar event a few years ago that was sponsored by an international institution that sought to have people come up with applications (apps) that would enhance transport using transport data they have compiled. While the event attracted a healthy number of app developers and arguably came up with some useful software, the impact of such apps on commuting is at best marginal. For one, some apps attempted to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, as one app developed was too similar to the well-established Waze but with an inferior interface. Then there were those which probably could be useful if only most people had smart phones and were dependent on them for their trips.
Metro Manila is at the point when most major arterials are already saturated. Stricter traffic management (as it should be) can only do so much to address congestion along thoroughfares such as EDSA and Circumferential Road 5. Apps that are aimed at enhancing commuting would ultimately be limited as the transport infrastructure is lacking and those proposed or under construction would take time to complete. Yes, carpooling can probably help and an app enabling people to find travel/commuting companions would probably help. But it does not assure participants (both drivers and passengers) of their safety or security and so isn’t for everyone. Apps and similar or related technology pushes are categorized along with other stop-gap or band aid solutions. It might have some positive impact but these are short lived and eventually will not be productive. It definitely though will satisfy a lot of geek or nerdy egos in terms of what they can create that they think can help improve transport or traffic. And I suddenly recall a term used by one of my friends chiding others one night we were engaging in some academic discourse about transportation theory as applied to traffic problems in Metro Manila – “intellectual masturbation” – which seems an apt description for this (app development, etc.) type of exercise. One colleague even made the observation that such efforts only provide an excuse for government not to act on the urgent matter of traffic. Innovation may be welcome but it seems such a waste of time and talent to be solving the unsolvable through apps. (Can someone develop an app to fix MRT trains? Or perhaps solve contract issues of the PPP kind? I think you get my point.)
The main reason why people buy and drive their own vehicles is because these cars and motorcycles enable them from being dependent of public transport, which is generally perceived as having low service quality. While there is a need to manage the demand for private vehicles, restraint without the suitable public transport alternatives (think Singapore or Hong Kong for best practice examples) will not make sense as these punish people for something the government is not able to deliver in terms of transport services. This is a message I have seen in many papers that are the outputs of many studies presented at the recently concluded 11th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies. In fact, this has been a message in past conferences as well. You can find the technical papers in their searchable site at the following link: www.east.info