P1 billion price tag for MMDA’s no-contact apprehension system

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
P1 billion price tag for MMDAâs no-contact apprehension system
The Land Transportation Office is asking LGUs to first fix rules in their no-contact apprehension policy, including stiff fines and the lack of stoplight countdown timers.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The upgrade of Metro Manila’s traffic signal system costs around P1 billion, acting Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Carlo Dimayuga III said yesterday.

The MMDA has disabled stoplight countdown timers as it switches the metropolis to what it describes as an adaptive responsive traffic signal system. The timers reportedly interfere with the sensors of the new system, according to the MMDA.

The agency said that if the sensor detects no passing vehicles in an intersection within three to five seconds, the system will change the lights.

Motorists have complained that the lack of countdown timers made compliance difficult, especially along wide intersections, and opened drivers to stiff fines.

Dimayuga told The STAR that about 80 percent of Metro Manila intersections’ traffic lights have been upgraded.

There are 272 intersections connected to the MMDA’s traffic control system at the agency’s Metrobase, which monitors, controls and adjusts them remotely, he said.

An additional 97 intersections were also signalized, he added.

“We still have ongoing projects to complete the upgrading,” Dimayuga stated.

He explained that Metro Manila has been using Australia’s SCATS traffic signal system for decades. The system’s “service life” has ended and its spare parts “are no longer supported by the manufacturer, he added.

Dimayuga also said communications provider PLDT’s migration from analog to digital systems “left behind the existing traffic signal (system) in a stand-alone operation.”

These developments prompted the MMDA to recommend “the immediate replacement of a new traffic signal system,” he said.

The MMDA’s traffic engineering center started to upgrade the existing traffic system about a decade ago and the full upgrade is expected to be finished in two to three years, according to Dimayuga.


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