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The 12th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) will be held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from September 18-21, 2017. The conference promises to be an improvement from the 11th conference held in Cebu City, Philippines two years ago. That conference was not as well attended as past conferences and the arrangements were quite shaky considering a lot of supposed commitments for sponsorships backed out during the critical stages of the organization. That included the host city and the transport department (the then Department of Transportation and Communications or DOTC), both of which promised so much when the conference was proposed but somewhat disappeared when the going got tough. EASTS 2017 should exorcise that memory and perhaps the Philippines can host another conference in the future to make amends for Cebu.
Here’s a link to the local organizing committee’s conference site for the details on the EASTS 2017 conference:
I notice that I have been getting a lot of traffic on my site lately from people searching about research topics. I guess its that time of year when students (undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate) are looking for topics. I have written before that it seems to me that many schools don’t really provide much guidance to students in their topic selection for their undergraduate research, masters thesis and even doctoral dissertations. I have received and seen emails from students from other schools asking if I or one of my colleagues at the university can be their research advisers. We usually politely decline so as we also have our own students to advise and researches to undertake. While I believe we should encourage research on transportation topics, I would dare say that schools should be responsible enough to build capacity for their faculty to be able to effectively guide their students and not unfairly pass them on to others.
Here are some topics that I think are quite relevant at present:
- Anything that’s about ride sharing (i.e., Uber, Grab, etc.) and particularly on passengers’ and drivers’ characteristics.
- Carpooling as applied in offices, schools, communities. There’s an app that promotes this – Wunder.
- Motorcycle taxis – this includes habal-habal, Skylab and other variations both in the urban and rural setting. What are their characteristics? Passengers? Drivers?
- Complete streets – how can we apply its principles to our cities, towns, communities, even specific roads?
- Road safety – this genre covers a lot of topics including pedestrian safety, motorcycle safety, public transport safety, child safety, driver behavior, safe road designs, etc.
- Transportation costs/expenditures – characteristics of commuting and commuters in relation to the modes they take as well as the distances between their homes and workplaces or schools.
I believe there are a lot of topics that can be developed from the above. But perhaps schools can first formulate research agendas first and not attempt to snipe at every and all topics that come to mind.
Good luck on topic selection and here’s hoping your outcomes are useful to improve transport and traffic in the Philippines.
The Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP) holds its 24th Annual Conference tomorrow, July 21, 2017. It will be held at the National Center for Transportation Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City. More than a hundred participants are expected to attend this 1-day affair.
The final program for the conference may be found in the following link:
The theme for this year’s conference is “Improving Quality of Life in Urban and Rural Areas Through Inclusive Transportation.” This is also the theme for the panel discussion in the morning. The afternoon will feature four parallel technical sessions where 18 papers will be presented.
The keynote lecture will be delivered at the start of the conference by Prof. Tetsuo Yai of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who is also the current President of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) under whose umbrella the TSSP is part of. TSSP is a founding member of EASTS and actually preceded EASTS by a year.
Its our first day of school for our daughter today. But unlike her, I recall that I had to wake up early when I was in grade school and high school because the ‘service’ providing transport to and from school had to pick me up and then others. That usually meant a 5:30 AM wake up, a quick shower, dress-up (we wore uniforms) and breakfast before the ‘service’, an AUV, picked me up at home. School started at 7:30 AM and it took something like 45 minutes (depending on traffic) from our last pick-up to get to school at exactly 7:30. If our vehicle is able to finish pick-ups earlier, that meant we were assured of not being late for homeroom period. If the other kids (and there are many) are running late and we end up waiting longer for each, then we would likely be late. In many cases, our driver would have to resort to being reckless in order to make the time.
Nowadays, I think its much more difficult for kids due to the worsening traffic congestion. What was a 30 to 45-minute travel time between our home in Cainta to Pasig/Mandaluyong is now easily twice or longer that. And I am only referring to a direct trip. Even with Waze available, one can only have few options for routes between home and school.
While there are still many school ‘service’ vehicles (and not so many actually buses), many parents seem to have opted to Ateneo, for example, used to have a fleet of buses transporting students. These were replaced by AUVs and vans accredited by the school, and the many (too many?) private vehicles ferrying mostly individual students to and from their Quezon City campus.
School children have to wake up early to go to school. Some probably take their breakfasts as baon in order to save time for traveling. Some take their breakfasts at nearby eateries or fast-food restaurants.
Many children may be at risk as they are ferried to school via motorcycles and usually without helmets. In other cases, there are tricycles acting as school service vehicles. Often these are overloaded with children and their school bags.
Pedestrian facilities are also lacking in many cases and particularly in rural areas where public schools are located along highways that have no sidewalks or cities where pedestrian walkways are not built to standards for one reason or another. These are issues that need to be addressed and would be nice topics for research, especially those with practical and safety applications.
There is a new publication on urban transportation from Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) and the University of California-Davis. The link may be found here:
The content reminded me of similar exercise we did back in 2013-2014 for ASEAN where we did visioning and simulations for low carbon transport in the region by 2050. Electrification was a major assumption for the Philippine case as electric vehicles were gaining ground (they seem to be in a limbo now) back then and on the verge of a breakthrough. Not yet evident for the Philippines was the eventual rise of sharing, and though the idea is out there, automation seems to be too high tech for the country (even Metro Manila) for now.
I observed from my site’s statistics that there have been a lot of interest on research topics in transportation engineering and planning. I regularly post on the undergraduate research topics our students have engaged in. At this point in the first semester of the current 2016-2017 academic year, topics have not yet been assigned and we have only learned how many students have been assigned to our research group. As such, we are still in the process of determining who takes on which topic. Following are topics we have identified in addition to those that had no takers the previous semesters:
- Anatomy of congestion along EDSA
- Anatomy of congestion along C-5
- Segregated lane for motorcycles
- Impacts of the MMDA’s truck lane policy along C-5
- Congestion study in the vicinity of UP Town Center
- Assessment of through traffic for the UP Diliman campus
- Connectivity study for UP AGT and MRT 7
- Feasibility of bus services beyond Masinag junction
- Characterization of Internal Public Transportation Operation in UP Diliman and Viability of Introduction of Electric Vehicles
- Modelling the Public Transport System of UP Diliman Campus Using CUBE Travel Demand Software
- Estimation of Passenger Demand for New Transit System for UP Diliman Using Discrete Choice Model
- Characteristics of motorcycle taxis in the Philippines [Habal-habal, skylab, etc.]
- Severity of injuries of motorcycle riders (helmet and non-helmet users)
Pedestrian & non-motorised transport
- A study on walkability along Ortigas Avenue
- A study on the characteristics of bike share users in the UP Diliman campus
Transport & Environment
- Assessment of Roadside Air Quality along C.P. Garcia Avenue in the Vicinity of UP-ICE Compound
- Study on the mobility of PWDs in Metro Manila
- Assessment of ridesharing in the context of sustainable transport
I’m sure there are other topics but I’m not aware of the specifics at present. Also, we welcome the ideas of our students should they already have topics in mind as long as these preferably fall under the research agenda of our Institute. The topics listed above may appear to be specific but these are still basically very general and can be refined after the students establish their scope and limitations. They can only do that once they have undertaken a decent enough literature review for them also to have a more firm appreciation of their chosen topics. I will post again on this later this year when students would have already put in substantial work on their research proposals (i.e., the objective for this semester).