TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK IN METRO MANILA: IS TAGBILARAN CITY FAR BEHIND?

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TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK IN METRO MANILA: IS TAGBILARAN CITY FAR BEHIND?

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sundry-thumbProem

Metro Manila is now experiencing horrendous traffic jams everyday.  The main cause is too many cars or vehicles using a limited road capacity.

Today in Tagbilaran City we can now experience traffic jams especially during rush hours.  There are now so many private cars and tricycles that carries only a limited number of passengers.

Can we avoid the impending traffic gridlocks in Tagbilaran?  My answer is a qualified “Yes”.  We can avoid it if we can provide a mass transport system for the riding public.

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Basic Principle

The basic principle is to move as many people as possible with few vehicles as possible.  What we are doing now is move the vehicles and not the people.

Available Mathematics

In 1988 I was elected as City Councilor of Tagbilaran.  As an engineer, I was assigned as Chairman of the Committee on Engineering.  During that time there was already an emerging traffic problem.

I searched for a mathematical procedure that can be used to solve the problem.  Fortunately I found two procedures.  One was the “Maximal Flow Analysis” and the other was the “Hardy Cross Method”.

Our streets are of different sizes and length.  The Maximal Flow Analysis can enable us to determine the even flow of traffic.  However, if we will evenly distribute the traffic flow the bigger streets will not be fully utilized.

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The Hardly Cross Method is used for analyzing water flow through pipes in order not to have a loss of water pressure from small pipes to large pipes.  By determining the proper distribution factors I was able to let the bigger streets carry heavier traffic.

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Aesthetics versus Engineering

As a consequence of the mathematical analysis it turns out that it is necessary to let the larger trucks pass through the larger streets.  In Tagbilaran City, the largest street is the CPG Avenue.  It means that the ten-wheeler trucks, cargo trucks, and other large vehicles must pass through CPG Avenue.

Many of my colleagues in the City Council and the public in general do not like the idea because it will be ugly to see CPG Avenue with large vehicles.  However, since my colleagues could not offer alternative computations, my analysis was carried.

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It turned out that in terms of traffic flow, my analysis was correct.  Practically all the streets in Tagbilaran had its traffic load corresponding to its size and length.

The Motorela

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The next problem was how to transport the people from the barrios to the town center and back.

The Motorela is a three-wheeled vehicle that can carry from 10 to 12 passengers.  According to the rules, the public utility franchise for a three-wheeled vehicle will be issued by the City or the Local Government Unit (LGU).  It is the reason why tricycles and “pedicabs” are issued franchises from the LGU.

I designed ten (10) routes for the Motorela from the barrios to “Agora” and back.  Basing on a research of passenger demand, each route was assigned with 15 Motorelas.  The different routes have its drop-off and riding areas.  The Motorelas were only allowed ten (10) minutes to stop to unload and load.

At first there were skeptics.  Later on it was found out that the Moterelas will leave almost full and can still pick up passengers along the route.

Here comes now the problem.  The Motorela operation was so profitable that many people wanted to invest in it.  However, I was firm in my stand that the routes were still good only for 15 Motorelas.  I advised the proposed investors to wait until the passenger demand will increase.

The success of the Motorela was my undoing.  The pressure to invest in Motorela was too enticing.  In the next election a candidate promised that if he will get elected he will remove the Motorela limitation.  He won and I lost.

Three hundred (300) Multicabs were added to the routes.  Since there was no increase in passenger demand, each vehicle will leave with only two (2) or three (3) passengers.  Every investor could not recoup there investment.  The mass transport system to the barrios disappeared.  It is now replaced with motorcycles and private cars.

Today’s Situation

In today’s situation, the emphasis on aesthetics predominates.  The large trucks are made to pass through small and narrow streets.  The small streets are clogged and the traffic stops.  But then it is okay because it could not be seen.  Yes, it could not be seen but it still affects the traffic flow.  Then so many traffic enforcers are employed to make the vehicles flow.

I had many students whom I taught how to use the Maximal Flow Analysis and the Hardly Cross Method (similar to Moment Distribution in Civil Engineering) now employed in the City.  Can we not harness them to make a proper traffic analysis?

If we will just follow what is done in Metro Manila, then in a few years our traffic will be in a standstill.

About three (3) years ago, I have my students analyze the traffic situation at corner Maria Clara and CPG Avenue.  When the red light is on, the 40 seconds delay will produce a backlog up to the entrance to the CPG complex.  Now the backlog will already reach beyond corner Rafael Palma St.

Here are the corners to watch according to its severity: 1.) In front of PNB.  2.) Corner CPG and Tamblot.  3.) Puok Pantalan.  4.) In front of Nazareno Hospital.  5.) Corner Espuelas and J.A. Clarin Sts.

If and when the Provincial Capitol will transfer to the Capitol Site in front of Wisdom School, the parameters of the problems will change. (By Jes B. Tirol)

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