In 2015, a global survey conducted by Waze described Metro Manila as the “metropolis having the worst traffic on the planet”. Traffic management is an important factor in progress, and once grossly neglected, much economic resource is being wasted. The Philippine government continues to prioritize reforms on Metro Manila traffic to improve driving satisfaction in this part of the country.
Decongestion of the urban population and decentralization of industries from Metro Manila to other nearby regions started since the early 1990’s. Flagship projects such as road construction, railways upgrade, ports development, and creation of industrial enclaves in various areas of the country have been accomplished. Major thoroughfares from Northern to Southern Luzon have been built to speed up daily economic activities. These made transport of raw materials, goods, services and everyday commuting faster and easier.
Development of other transportation such as railway transit (PNR) and ferry rides along Pasig River and Laguna Lake are being enhanced to give commuters other options for travel. In EDSA, a major access road in Metro Manila, Highway Patrol Groups have been deployed to facilitate traffic. Creation of steel bridges in five populated zones and use of alternate routes have also been implemented.
However, even with these improvements, government officials also consider a change in the public’s attitude and cooperation. The rising number of motorists driving private vehicles contribute to traffic congestion along major thoroughfares. Public mass transport is still the key to reducing the number of vehicles in the metro area. The Point-to-Point Bus Service program initiated by the government makes it easier for commuters to travel within Metro Manila as this new public utility vehicle sub-category provides a safe and alternative means of transportation with shorter travel time. Buses leave on a fixed schedule and travel directly from the terminal to the drop-off area.
Another main concern needing a much comprehensive solution is urban migration. Sustained influx of rural citizens to key urban centers cannot align with the traffic management programs. Some economists suggest transferring or expanding businesses in other strategic areas to help decongest Metro Manila and other nearby metropolises.