Caught (up) in traffic

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Short cuts in Zamboanga City

Our capacity building workshop in Zamboanga involved not just lectures and workshops but some practical exercises to demonstrate the surveys needed for road safety assessment of schools. Fortunately, there was a nearby school to our workshop venue and we only needed to walk to the school where participants could set up at certain locations to simulate data collection. Since a couple of teachers participating in the workshop were from the area and the nearby school, they led us to a short cut to get to their school. The route included a walk along a paved path along one of Zamboanga City’s streams.

The area had a smell (stink?) to it. That was likely because it was the dry season and the heat meant the dirty water from the stream evaporated and generated the smell. There were even large rats that we saw swimming in the waters! Our guides told us that it was better during the wet season as the water flowed faster and was cleaner due to the rains and runoff. They also related about them bathing in the stream during their childhood days (I assume this was more than 30 years ago.) and before the structures above were constructed. The pathways were clean and secure though and there were others like these that we thought were good examples of pedestrian infrastructure that promote safety as well as encourage walking as a preferred mode of transport especially for short trips.

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?