MMDA questions int'l study calling Metro Manila the 'worst in traffic' worldwide

James Relativo - Philstar.com
MMDA questions int'l study calling Metro Manila the 'worst in traffic' worldwide
This photo taken on August 9, 2019 shows heavy traffic during rush hour along the EDSA highway in Manila. Gridlock in Manila is costing lives as ambulances stuck in traffic face severe delays in the race against the clock to reach the city's hospitals, medics warn.
AFP / Noel Celis, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) cast its doubt on the "2023 Traffic Index," released by transportation data company TomTom Traffic, calling Metro Manila the worst in metro traffic worldwide.

MMDA acting chairperson Don Artes aired questions on the company's methdology, after the company claimed that it takes 25 minutes and 30 seconds to travel 10 kilometers with over 117 hours lost per year during rush hours.

"First of all, we don't know the methodology employed by TomTom to say that Metro Manila is number one [worst in their Traffic Index ranking]," Artes said in Filipino on Friday.

"The system they use I think is like a GPS attached to a car, and they used this as basis to monitor traffic situations all over the world... From this, we could already see a difference in data [that MMDA uses]."



The metro area in Lima, Peru followed Metro Manila in TomTom's list, with Bengaluru, India and Sapporo, Japan coming in at third and fourth.

Manila was ranked the ninth worst traffic city center with an average travel time of 27 minutes and 20 seconds per 10 kilometers. This means over 105 hours are lost per year during rush hours at an average speed of 19 kilometers per hour.

On another hand, London tops the list of worst city traffic with an average travel time of 37 minutes and 20 seconds per 10 kilometers. During rush hours, said people from United Kingdom experience an average speed of 14 kilometers per hour during rush hour.

'Vehicle volume no. 1 problem'

Artes, however, admitted that Metro Manila does have an enormous problem when it comes to extreme traffic, pointing to record-high sales of private vehicles as the number one contributor of vehicle congestion.

"In our data last 2021, we have 3.2 million vehicles to 3.6 million vehicles daily that travel around the whole Metro Manila for 24 hours," Artes continued.

"Our road network in Metro Manila is only at 10,000 kilometers. So you can just imagine that we fit around 3.6 million vehicles there."

MMDA added that Metro Manila's roads is already structurally over capacity. For example, Artes says that over 400,000 plus vehicles use EDSA every day even if it only has a carrying capacity of 300,000 a day.

He cited that vehicle sales surpassed the industry's target last 2023, registering a 21.9% growth translating to 429,807 purchases.

"30% of that are in Metro Manila, with another 10 to 15% in nearby provinces who also travel to the National Capital Region," the MMDA official added.

"Another cause of traffic are the leaks and road repairs. We cannot stop those because we need to repair water leakages."

Artes also explained that the government's flagship projects also contribute to heavy traffic — citing the contruction of the Metro Manila Subway Project as one cause.

Commuters and transport advocates have long fought for a less "car-centric" style of urbanplanning to fight heavy traffic, calling on the government to prioritize public transportation like trains or mass transit lines which could ferry more people while taking up less space on the road.

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