A Peek at the Metro Manila Traffic

The Metro Manila traffic situation has now reached peak levels, enough to push motorists to a fit of pique. Here’s a peek at what has become an infamous carmageddon and the solutions the government has thus far picked.

Addressing a small audience of Filipinos and foreigners last month, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Thomas Orbos acknowledged the gargantuan mess Metro Manila transportation has become. The economically debilitating effects of the worsening traffic condition cannot be emphasized enough. And while billions of pesos are lost each day, millions of Filipinos are also put in a perpetuating cycle of inconvenience.

The Metro Manila traffic situation has now reached peak levels, enough to push motorists to a fit of pique. Here’s a peek at what has become an infamous carmageddon and the solutions the government has thus far picked.

Infograph by Jelorene SA Vitaliano

As reflected in the graph, Metro Manila is simply crowded – with its residents accounting for 12.75 percent  of the country’s total population, and its car registration making for 26.6 percent of the national automobile records.

With its 15 million day-time population, the Metro’s 5,220.726 kilometers of road networks is also plainly inadequate. The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) has defined the standard road-population ratio at 2.4 kilometers for every 1,000 people, translating to a deficit of 30,779.27 kms of roads.

The condition is exacerbated by circumstances not unknown to the public: presence of more than half of provincial bus terminals in Metro Manila; capacity overload in EDSA (i.e., excess of 800 vehicles per hour per direction); and the sorry state of public mass transport systems.

Apart from the infrastructural inadequacies, the motorists’ behavior also contribute to the problem.  Per MMDA, there has been considerable increase in the number of daily accidents this year. Albeit fatality rates have decreased, damage to property has risen by up to 16 percent in the first six months.

And what has been done so far? Quite a number, but probably still not enough. The infographics also presents pipelined activities and projects-in-progress, along with their implementation schedules. Expansion and extension of services are already underway, and agencies are working together to improve traffic management.

However, even the combined efforts of the Department of Transportation, Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metro Manila Development Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, and railway authorities would amount to nothing if the people are not willing to conform to the rules. As MMDA General Manager Orbos puts it, “[i]t is everyone’s problem.” It needs everyone’s involvement.