Enforcement, engineering, and education. These are said to be the three E’s in traffic management, a problem that has long bedeviled Metro Manila.
Engineering refers to the construction of infrastructures like roads, bridges, overpasses, railways, and subways to accommodate the increased volume of traffic. These projects require a great deal of time to accomplish. We have built many overpasses and railways in Metro Manila but one major project – the connecting link between the North and South Luzon Expressways – remains unfinished, bogged down in disputes over right of way.
Education refers to getting the motoring public to do its part, to faithfully comply with traffic rules, and most of all to behave with utmost road courtesy, with due consideration to the rights of others on the road, both motorists and pedestrians. It has been observed that in places like Clark, motorists conscientiously stop for red lights and stick to their lanes, but swerving, blocking intersections, and beating traffic lights are rather common in Metro Manila.
This is what makes enforcement critical in the Metro area and so as the Christmas holiday season nears, the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) has come up with a new group it has called Task Force Alamid to concentrate on roads leading to and out of airports, seaports, and other transportation centers in the city.
A hundred personnel have been assigned to the task force from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Highway Patrol Group (HPG), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
They will concentrate their efforts on traffic around airports and seaports in anticipation of the arrival of millions of balikbayans and tourists as well as the departure of Metro Manila residents for their home provinces in the annual holiday migration that has become part of Filipino tradition and culture.
It is good that this project is beginning early. It will receive its first test later this month when various foreign delegations arrive for the ASEAN Summit on October 23-24 and the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings on November 10-14.
At the same time, other moves can be taken by our traffic authorities , such as ending the operation of colorum buses and other vehicles, banning parking on streets needed to absorb traffic along main routes such as EDSA, and increasing the capacities of the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit.
The combined effect of all these moves should be felt by the time the Christmas holiday season is in full swing. We will further build on this holiday success in the succeeding months of the new year, while we wait for the ultimate engineering relief to be provided by the new roads and railways of Metro Manila.