Friday, February 27

Tips Before You Start a Trip

Plan Ahead.

Before setting off, make sure you know in advance where you plan to go and what stops you will make on the way. Allow sufficient time. Make a checklist of what you need to bring.

Use Map.

Refer to the guide map which indicates all entrances and exits, toll service facilities and emergency call boxes. Doing this will help you have a safe, fast and pleasant journey.

Fitness Check for your vehicle:

It is very important to check the condition of your vehicle before you go.

  • Check your fuel, water and oil.
  • Make sure your vehicle headlights and signal lights are working.
  • Check your tires. Tighten all tire bolts.
  • Make sure a spare tire is available in case of a flat tire. Make sure that your jack and cross wrench are available.
  • Check your batteries and make sure that the terminals are clean.
  • Check your tools.

Also make sure that:

  • Your clothing and footwear do not hamper you from using the controls in the correct manner.
  • Your mirrors and seats are adjusted correctly to ensure comfort, full control and maximum vision.
  • Head restraints are properly adjusted to reduce the risk of neck injuries in the event of a rear collision.

On your travel, make sure that all your doors are locked and that you and your passengers WEAR SEATBELTS at all times.

Fitness Check for the Driver:

Fatigue greatly increases your accident risk. To minimize risk:

  • Do not go on a long trip (longer than an hour) if you feel tired.
  • Avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6 a.m., when natural alertness is at a minimum.
  • Plan your trip to make sufficient braks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended.
  • If you feel sleepy, stop in a safe place such as a gasoline service station. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway, the hard shoulder is only for emerencies.
  • The most effective ways to counter sleepiness is to take a short nap (up to 15 minutes). Fresh air, exercise or turning up the radio may also help.


You must be able to read a vehicle plate number from a distance of 20.5 meters (67 feet - about five car lengths) in good daylight. If you need to wear prescription glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, you must wear them at all times while driving.


Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and driving abilities.

  • Alcohol gives a false sense of driving confidence.
  • Alcohol reduces coordination and decreases reaction time.
  • Alcohol affects judgement of speed distance and risk.
  • Alcohol lingers in the body. You may be unfit to drive in the evening after drinking at lunchtime, or in the morning after drinking the previous evening.

If you are going to drink, don't drive.


Do not drive under the influence of drugs because this may greatly affect your alertness.

Source: NLEX Motorist's Handbook

Thursday, February 26

Checklist before you start your trip

Check your BLOWBAG

  • Battery
  • Light
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Brakes
  • Air
  • Gas

Traffic Rules and Regulations in the Philippines

Republic Act No. 8750 - Seat Belts Use Act

An act requiring the mandatory compliance by motorists of private and public vehicles to use seat belt devices, and requiring vehicle manufacturers to install seat belt devices in all their manufactured vehicles.

Republic Act No. 2000 - Limited Access Facilities Act

In this Act, The Toll Regulatory Board declares the North and South Luzon Expressways, including Balintawak to Tabang section of the North Luzon Expressway, as Limited Access Facilities or Expressways.

Republic Act No. 4136

An act to compile the laws relative to land transportation and traffic rules, to create a land transportation commission and for other purposes.

Republic Act No. 8794

An act imposing a Motor Vehicle User's Charge on owners of all types of Motor Vehicles and other purposes.

Section 7C of which provides penalties for overloaded trucks and trailers and prohibits vehicles that exceed the allowable gross vehicle weight or axle loads from proceeding the roadway. The axle load should not exceed 13,500 kgs or 13.5 metric tons.

Wednesday, February 18

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)

An ITS seminar supported by the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) was conducted at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City last February 13, 2009 from 8:00AM – 4:00PM. The event was participated by members of academe (UP, DLSU, MAPUA Tech, and FEU), some national government agency representatives (DPWH, DOTC, DOST, MMDA, and LTFRB), and the private sector stakeholders like Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), and Tollways Management Corporation (TMC). A keynote presentation given by Doctor Naohisa Okamoto, a visiting professor from University of Tsukuba in Japan, enriched the knowledge of participants on ITS by sharing current practices and or application as well as further studies regarding the topic in Japan.

What is Intelligent Transport System or ITS?

ITS is the application of information and communication technologies to surface traffic and transportation systems. (Sigua, 2008) The following diagram presented by Okamoto also illustrates ITS:

The GPS (Geographic Positioning System) device installed in some modern cars which provides information and guides drivers about the possible route from origin to destination is one of the examples of the application of ITS.

According to Okamoto, the key goal of ITS is to build integrated systems for people, roads, and vehicles in order to resolve problems of road transportation, including traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and environmental damage.

Some of the estimated benefits of using ITS are the following (according to US DOT as mentioned by Sigua, 2008):

a. Advanced traffic surveillance and signal control systems have resulted in travel time reduction ranging from 8-25%.

b. Electronic fare payment technologies for transit systems have resulted in increased revenues of 3-30% due to fewer evasions.

c. Incident management programs can reduce delay associated with congestion caused by incidents by 10-45%.

d. Electronic toll collection increases capacity by 200-300% compared to attended lanes

e. Widespread use of Mayday emergency notification devices can reduce the time it takes to discover a rural crash from 1 minute to 9.6 minutes.

ITS Deployment

Japan (presented by Okamoto)

· VICS (Vehicle Information and Communication System)

A comprehensive data is inputted and processed in the VICS Center which is then transmitted to roadside beacons using FM multi-channel broadcasting. VICS on-board unit or navigation system then displays information on the current traffic volume along roads that the driver will traverse.

VICS therefore provides road traffic information in real time, realizing smooth traffic and higher travel speed, resulting in the improvement of actual fuel efficiency. The notable effect of VICS is the reduction in CO2 emissions which is about 240 Mt by 2010.

· ETC (Electronic Toll Collection Systems)

ETC uses electronic means of collecting toll fees which makes transaction faster than the manual payment scheme or E-pass. The vehicle need not stop at gates because a roadside antenna reads the on-board ETC card and automatically collects toll fee from prepaid debit-credit card.

There are approximately 22.1 million ETC on-board units have been installed as of December 2008. Moreover, the ETC utilization rate in expressways nationwide is 75.3%. Traffic jams caused by toll gates which constitute about 30% is lessened through non-stop, cashless toll collection at expressway tollbooths.

Philippines (ITS Experience in the Philippines, a presentation by Sigua)

· Traffic Responsive Signal System

SMART System (State-of-the-Art Metro Manila Adaptive Responsive Traffic System)

This is a signaling project undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways – Traffic Engineering Center (DPWH-TEC) for the upgrading and development of traffic signals in the metropolis. It uses the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) Technology and was first used in Cebu City. In Metro Manila, it covers about 420 intersections. Unfortunately, some signalized intersections were already replaced by U-turn slots as implemented by MMDA.

SCATS uses detectors embedded in the pavement to determine the congestion level of road networks. It is a dynamic demand-responsive traffic system used for areawide control, the signal timings therefore evolve in response to detected traffic demand.

· Metro Manila ETC System (Electronic Toll Collection)

Most widely known as E-pass, ETC was first implemented in August 2000 along the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and the Skyway. In this system, a tag is placed on the inside surface of the windshield which is then electronically read at the entry and exit of E-PASS-ready toll lanes. Upon exit, it is read to determine the toll fee to be paid. A green light is given and the barrier is lift up if there is enough balance in one’s E-PASS account. A yellow light is also given if a subscriber’s prepaid toll balance is below P250 while red light means a zero balance account, thus, the subscriber cannot use the e-pass lanes to exit. This system is also employed in some toll collection booths of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). In 2006, there are about 20% ETC users in SLEX while about 6.5% in NLEX.

· RFID Project of MMDA (Application of RFID on Public Transport, presented by Mr. Tony Pagulayan of MMDA)

This is the reorganized bus route policy as well as control of dispatch of buses that ply along the EDSA. The main objective of this project is to minimize the number of buses along EDSA but increase its occupancy rate so as to improve traffic congestions, and further in the decrease of CO2 vehicle emissions.

How can we apply ITS in the Philippines?

In the afternoon session of the seminar, a panel discussion regarding the query on how to apply ITS in the Philippines took place. The panel members comprised of invitees from national government agencies, academe, and private sector together with the distinguished panelists and moderated by Dr. Jose Regin Regidor contributed meaningful insights towards the development of ITS in the Philippines. The following noteworthy ideas and issues were being raised by the lead panelists during the discussion:

Dr. Primitivo Cal, UP SURP:

“Let us be selective in using appropriate technology for the Philippines because what is applicable in other countries may not be applicable for us. Aside from the number coding scheme as means to control the number of vehicles, maybe we can apply road pricing similar to Singapore. This project may obtain funding through BOT. Moreover, since according to MMUTIS, about 70% of trip makers rely on public transport, it is then necessary to focus developments to the public sector as beneficiaries.”

Prof. Francis Aldrine Uy, MAPUA Tech:

“Use ITS to solve social and environmental problems that is, by introducing environmental criterion in assessing the actual benefits of projects. The RFID project of MMDA for buses has potentials to be extended to private cars for easier car registration and vehicle emission testing but of course, there are issues on privacy and security which needs to be addressed.”

Prof. Sundo, Dep’t of CE of UP LB:

“There is a need for information dissemination on ITS. It is also important to revisit design of road facilities to address and manage issues on poor visibility, accidents and other transportation related concerns.”

Moreover, Dr. Benito Pacheco further inquired on whether ITS would be intelligible to the people or the system would be more of intelligent that the public may not easily grasp the concept and therefore the actual benefits are ignored and not fully optimized. The DOST representative on the other hand, pointed out that all of the discussion efforts boil down to issues on economic aspect of actually undertaking an ITS project. Dr. Ricardo Sigua in the later discussion posed an interesting challenge whether ITS is a tool or a toy.


1. Sigua, R. 2008 Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering. University of the Philippines Press.

2. Okamoto, N. Intelligent Transportation System/Service.

3. Sigua, R. ITS Experience in the Philippines.

4. ITS Seminar Panel Discussion. EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. 13 February 2009

Some of the graduate students of Institute of Civil Engineering, UP Diliman

Wednesday, February 11

NLEX - Tollways Management Corporation

On 11 February 2009, transportation engineers and graduate students of UP Diliman led by Doc Regidor together with Doc Okamoto (Japanese visiting professor in UP) visited the Tollways Management Corporation (TMC) Balintawak Control Center. This field trip aims to obtain more knowledge on the tollways , traffic and control management as well as appreciation of Intelligent Transport System that is used by TMC.

Photo taken in the Traffic Control Room

The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) is an 84-km stretch of intelligent and modern toll facilities, expanded and well paved roads that leads towards the northern provinces in Luzon such as Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Baguio to as far as Cagayan. The expressway is being operated by Tollways Management Corporation (TMC) since Feb 10, 2005. The NLEX has been expanded from 295 lane-kms to 433 lane-kms. Apart from using fiber optics as the backbone of the new NLEX Tollways Systems, it is also protected with Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS).

The new NLEX uses modern operational tools that conform eith international design standards for expressways. These tools include:
  • Close Circuit Television (CCTV) system installed in toll plazas and in strategic locations along the expressway for security and traffic monitoring purposes. All cameras can be viewed and controlled in the Traffic Control Room (TCR).
  • Counting Stations (CS) These equipment send traffic data to the control room every 6 minutes.
  • Weigh-In-Motion (WIM) provide data on the aggregate weight of vehicles that transverse the tollway
  • Traffic Control Room monitors data on a wall map, displays traffic surveillance video and enables traffic operators to manage traffic events.
  • Variable Message Signs (VMS) provide motorists with useful and updated traffic information about the traffic situation along the expressway.

There are several toll plazas that were improved, expanded and constructed to meet the traffic needs. The following lists the number of booths of exit toll plazas:

Balintawak 17 toll booths
Bocaue 23 toll booths
Tabang 11 toll booths
Dau 12 toll booths

Toll Fees are as follows:
Open System Close System
Class 1 P36.00 P2.12 / km
Class 2 P91.00 P5.35 / km
Class 3 P109.00 P6.41 / km

The noted average vehicles per day as of December 2008 is
138,000 entries
173,000 transactions

The vehicle classification is as follows:
Class 1 - 75%
Class 2 - 17%
Class 3 - 8%

1. presentation notes
2. NLEX Motorist's Handbook by TMC
you may also

Wednesday, February 4

Cebu Pacific Air Fare Promo


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CEB offers a P1,188 all-in fare from Manila to Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, Dipolog, General Santos, and Zamboanga.

The promotional sale starts now until February 10, 2009, or until the allotted seats are sold out, for travel beginning February 4 until March 31, 2009. This promotion is non-refundable. Fares quoted are ‘Go Lite’ fares.

‘Go Lite’ fares can be availed by passengers with no check-in luggage. Passengers with check-in bags will just add P200 upon booking.

Hurry, book your flights now through CEB’s website at!


[1/3 of CE 142 Take Home Exam, BS CE, UPD]

Airports are transportation centers used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft. Airports provide transportation not only for people but also for freight, such as mail, perishable foods, and other important items. Airports are among the busiest transportation centers. The business they create is vital to the world economy and individual national economies.

An airport is composed of several areas and structures that are designed to serve the needs of both aircraft and passengers. Runways are the long, narrow areas where airplanes take off and land. Taxiways are paths that aircraft follow from the runways to the terminal building, where passengers board and exit aircraft at areas called gates located within the terminal. The terminal also contains ticket and baggage counters. The control tower is located near the terminal. From this tower, people involved in air traffic control coordinate aircraft movement both in the air and on the ground. Maintenance and refueling facilities for aircraft are located near the runways or in nearby hangars. For security purposes, access to major airports is usually limited to special roads. Many airports have large automobile parking areas or multistory ramps to accommodate travelers.

For an efficient transport, airport operations are assessed in the following four general areas:

A. Aircraft Services. Aircraft services focus on the flight, maintenance, and refueling of aircraft at the airport, as well as on air traffic control around the airport.
B. Passenger Services. Passenger services are centered in the terminal building, where passengers purchase tickets, load and retrieve baggage, and enter and exit aircraft.
C. Freight Services. Freight services provide easy conveyance and storage of cargos in and out of the aircrafts with the use of trucks, pallets, movers and containers.
D. Support Services. Support services include restaurants, lounges, car rental agencies, banking services, newsstands, and other retail establishments, observation stations, currency exchanges, a post office, chapels and short-term or long-term parking areas.

This part of the exam tries to examine and compare a foreign international airport, Hong Kong International Airport, with the local one, Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The comparison is based on the aforementioned four general areas in which the facilities required for each service will be identified.

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is the convergence point of passenger, cargo, capital and information flow hence, it has well established itself as an important engine of economic growth, as well as key contributor to Hong Kong’s position being a leading transportation and logistics hub in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. Globally, the HKIA ranks first in international cargo throughout, and fifth in international passenger throughput. The facility handled 32 million passengers and 2.2 million tonnes of cargo in the past 12 months with a diversified carrier base of 65 airlines serving 130 destinations.

Moreover, HKIA is one of the largest reclamation schemes in construction history; the US$850M Passenger Terminal Building is located on a 1248 hectare man-made island. Completed in the run up to Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule, it is capable of meeting passenger capacity requirements until the year 2040.

Future Developments

The future development of the airport is looking vibrant with the construction of a new development adjacent to the passenger terminal called Sky City. This will consist of Sky Plaza - an office, retail and business complex integrated with the passenger terminal, which will then link to the rest of Sky City. Sky City will have the Asia-World Expo exhibition centre, a second hotel project, a nine hole golf course and a permanent cross boundary ferry terminal. Phase two may well consist of a business park, more hotels, and further leisure and entertainment facilities.

The airport will also add extra inter-modal transportation facilities, including the new marine terminal (hosting the cross boundary and domestic ferries), an additional airport express line which will be adjacent to the exhibition centre and a new bus station.

Sky Plaza, which extends from the passenger terminal and is fully integrated with the airport and airport express railway station, will feature airline check in facilities, a transport interchange for coaches (in readiness for Disney), two office towers (total of 30,000m²) and a 38,000m² retail and entertainment centre.

Cargo Expansions. DHL opened a new Central Asia Hub in August 2004, a dedicated and purpose-built air express cargo facility, at the Hong Kong International Airport. The $100 million facility is the largest of its kind in the region. With the opening of the new Central Asia Hub, DHL has become the only express and logistics company to operate a dedicated air express cargo facility in Hong Kong. The 18,200ft² facility is capable of handling up to 440t/d of air express cargo.

Another important cargo development is the expansion of the Asia Airfreight Terminal. Asia Airfreight is investing HK$1.75 billion in the construction of a new terminal (scheduled to be complete by the end of 2006). The terminal will have a handling capacity of 910,000t/yr, which will triple its current capacity. The new facility will enable Asia Airfreight to meet long-term cargo capacity demands.

Aerial photograph

Ninoy Aquino International Airport

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main international gateway of the Philippines. In 2006, the airport handled 17,942,465 passengers which registered 10.6% growth in passenger numbers from 2005. Thus, this event placed the airport 71st worldwide in terms of passenger traffic.

NAIA has three terminals but only two of these are operational. Terminal 1, which has reached its capacity, is used for international flights not operated by Philippine Airlines. On the other hand, Terminal 2 most known as the Centennial Terminal is mainly used for the domestic and international flights of Philippine Airlines, as well as for the domestic flights of their sister company Air Philippines. The second terminal is divided into two wings, the North Wing, which houses the international flights, and the South Wing, which houses the domestic flights. The third terminal of the airport, the larger Terminal 3, had legal hurdles, including international arbitration cases in the United States and Singapore as well as technical concerns which prohibit its opening. However, the government hopes to open the terminal in 2008.

On October 11, 2007, stated that the new and largest commercial airplane, Airbus A 380 MSN009 test aircraft, landed in NAIA and demonstrated that it can be used under normal airline operating conditions.

Terminal 1

Terminal 2

Aerial photograph


HKIA being the tagged as ‘Superhub’ in Asia is evidently well designed to handle greater number of passengers and cargos than NAIA. Thus, HKIA has more equipment and facilities and offers more services in terms of passenger conveniences, aircraft, and freight handling than NAIA. However, it must be noted that if the controversial Terminal 3 of NAIA would have not encountered problems and opened for operation then the airport could handle an additional of 13 million passengers as well as more cargos.

The differences between the two may arise according to travel demands which dictate the design and future development of the facilities. Moreover, HKIA is strategically built on sea by reclamation which also serves as the entry port of ferries coming from China whereas NAIA is located in the main land of Manila. The prevailing geographical conditions surrounding HKIA can allow future expansions and developments while NAIA does not have the same features since informal settlers are crowding the adjacent airport area.






5. Encarta Encyclopedia

Tuesday, February 3

Another Great Day

Today is another great day! The sky is laden with the bluest color, decorated by some cotton-ball-like clouds. I dive and feast at the tranquility offered by sitting on a bench in NCTS. I bask in the noonday sun beaming and radiating over the central open space within the building. The cats running, tumbling, and playing around as well as the many potted bonsai plants take refuge and more of heavenly bliss that this place gives.

I say it's another great day because just as how i marveled at a starry and peaceful night yesterday, this daytime is but a huge delightful box of presents. The people, plants, animals, and things around me - full of life, color, energy, love, and grace are God's manifestation of majesty and splendor. Everything is at its best.