Friday, July 8

NCTS’ First Offering of Traffic Impact Assessment for Technical Evaluators

The participants

The University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies had a “soft” first offering of their course on Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) last July 5-7, 2011 in Toyota Training Room, UP NCTS, Diliman, Quezon City.

“Soft” in the sense that there were few participants joined by one from Bayauan representing Visayas, three for General Santos City representing Mindanao and the rest from different parts of Luzon such as Bulacan, Laguna and cities within Metro Manila. The participants were members from the traffic management division of most Local Government Units (LGUs). They are the evaluators from the city or LGU side before a proponent could push through with any project. They are the evaluators who give building permits or certificate of occupancy to developers or would-be businesses ib their locale.

Some of them may be reluctant on attending this course but towards the end of the three-day event, a more enlightened faces can be seen in them. It is through more knowledge about TIA could they be truly empowered to be effective in their roles and responsibilities in their respective cities. As they say, “Knowledge is power.”

On the third day, a participant asked Dr. Cal this question: “What are or should be our next steps as we go back to our provinces and cities? Because at this moment I or may be most of us seem to be lost on what to do after this enlightening course. We have learned or we were equipped now about TIA but what are to be expected from us as we head home?”

Dr. Cal then challenged them to convince their superiors or mayors to come up with city ordinance on TIA, be more proactive by sharing what they learned to their neighboring cities, and to apply what they learned in their practice.

During the closing remarks, the participants’ representative gave feedback and his short speech was deeply encouraging and inspiring not only to his fellow participants but even to the NCTS admin and staff who organized the event. Indeed, they were sent by their mayors because their mayors believed in them. Then through them, lies the power to convince their bosses that there is a need for TIA. And changes in their cities will start from few but bold people like them.

What is TIA?

TIA stands for Traffic Impact Asssessment. TIA is an evaluation of the potential effects that a particular development’s traffic will have on the transportation network in its impact area.

Importance of TIA

There is a need to assess proposed developments in terms of their tranport impacts on the area and the environment in general. TIA is essential because of the significance of traffic generated by proposed developments which can be identified in advance and future imppacts can be planned for.

Principal Goals of a TIA Study

· To identify the transport and traffic impacts of a particular development project

· To assess and analyze these impacts and

· To identify the mitigating measures to address these traffic impacts

Reference: Lecture Notes from Dr. Crispin Emmanuel D. Diaz, UP SURP, during the NCTS’ first offering of Traffic Impact Assessment for Technical Evaluators, June 5-7, 2011, UP NCTS, Diliman, Quezon City

Tuesday, July 5

One bad waiting day

A glimpse of engineer-einjel's journal

June 27, 2011 Monday

7:20 AM
I went out of our house for work. I live in QC and I work in Manila. It was a Monday. There were a lot of people waiting for either jeep, bus, or FX. The crowd was composed of students, employees, etc.

7:45 AM
The people were competing for a ride towards each of their destinations. The buses, jeeps and FX were almost always full. I was still waiting as I actively compete with the people around me.

8:00 AM
I wasn't able to get a ride still.. Thinking that I might be late for work. Sigh.

8:10 AM
Fidgeting while observing how poor and bad the public transport is. Frowning, how easy it is to curse but I ended up praying instead and speaking a blessing for the drivers, the roads, the pedestrian, vehicles, and the transport environment.

I can't help but wish to go back to Korea where everything in the roads was in order. Yes, I just came back from a trip abroad and I can't help but compare what I see at the moment to what I saw and experienced there. My heart grieved with how bad our public transport is for the commuters. For taxpayers, this isn't fair.

8:20 AM
I was finally on board an FX. Thinking may be that is why God called me in this transport sector. I gotta move on as I hope for the best.

Sunday, July 3

The ills of public transport

Earlier posts have been informative and enlightening. But this one is a complete opposite of previous articles. The main objective of this is still to bring some accepted conditions into the light that there should be better and improved conditions. It takes one voice to speak out, positive or negative observations there may be, than join in the apathy of most citizens towards the declining transportation services in our country. Yes, you might argue - I do care but, what can an ordinary citizen like me do something about this?

It is a fact that 70% of Filipinos rely on public transportation in going about their daily activities - to work, to school, to market/malls and so forth. Specially for average income earners, public transport is their main mobility choice.

The demand for public transportation modes has also been matched by a number of different public utility vehicles on roads such as bus, FX, jeep and the mass transit provided by rail. But the demand has not been adequately met when one observes the jam packed MRT trains, standing-on-aisle passengers of buses, and clinging persons on the entrance/exit of jeepneys during peak hours of travel.

A battle exists among commuters to be able to ride their transport choice, whether at the cost of pushing, stepping on someone else's feet or turning a blind eye to disadvantaged individuals such as elderly, handicapped, and pregnant women just so the most comfortable seat will be enjoyed. Ah, comfortable? Think again. How can a passenger-full bus wherein its center aisle is also occupied with 10-30 people, for instance, be comfortable to ride on? Then the driver and his assistant keeps on allowing more passengers to get on the bus. Getting off in turn becomes more difficult as one has to squeeze himself or herself out of the herd of standing passengers.

It is very distressing to experience compromises in terms of commuters' safety and comfort at such circumstances. Is this the driver's or the commuters' or the government's fault? How easy it is to point fingers at people or entities deemed responsible for the transport sector. How easy it is to fret and be furious of the bad transportation conditions. How easy it is to shrug one's shoulders and move on with daily life as if the current situation is like the invisible oxygen we breathe. You might say it's normal. Think again. What if the existing conditions worsen even more? Would you turn a blind eye, closed ears and choose to walk groping towards your destination? And say it's the way it is.

Consider the MRT3, too. Have you experienced being squeezed in during peak periods of travel, sometimes to the point of holding your breath in order not to smell the person next to you or painstakingly hoping for an air to breathe and survive uneventful seclusion with a swarm of people? Pushed, stepped on, harassed, and stressed.

Some people would even take advantage of other commuters as in the case of robbers, and hold up. Where are you in all of these? An observer? A victim? An active advocate of better transportation system?

There is a road towards better transport environment. That road should consider and be concerned of every individual it passes. It is not selective nor encompassing but always for the good of all. In the process of constructing better roads, there is usually a leader that goes ahead and prepares the way then everyone will follow. If it is a matter of political will to attain the lofty ideal then so be it. There is a road towards improved transportation system for which Filipinos should always look forward to. It may not happen overnight but it takes one, then two, and hopefully everyone to actively pursue and attain this goal.