One-way EDSA to create traffic 'disaster' says analyst


Posted at Aug 30 2019 10:51 AM | Updated as of Aug 30 2019 11:32 AM

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MANILA -- Transforming EDSA into a northbound highway will create record traffic jams rather than solve perennial gridlocks on the Philippine capital's main highway, an analyst said Friday.

The proposal from consultancy firm GPI Engineers to convert EDSA to a one-way thoroughfare was done without enough data and full appreciation of Metro Manila's road networks, said traffic engineer Rene Santiago.

A one-way EDSA risks overloading other highways such as C4, C5, R1 and R10, said Santiago, CEO of Bellwether Advisory Inc that specializes in transportation.

"It's a disaster. It's a formula for disaster to create a traffic jam that probably be the worst in the world and establish a world record," he said.

In the same interview, Alberto Suansing, traffic adviser to the Philippine transportation department said there is a need to rationalize the public transportation system in Metro Manila, particularly on EDSA.

Santiago also said that there should be a change in the yellow lane policy, which limits buses to the outer portion of EDSA.

"The yellow lane policy is defective in the sense that it box the buses inside the yellow line. It should be the private cars that should be boxed out of the yellow lane. The buses can be out of that yellow lane whenever convenient," Santiago said.

Mass transit should be prioritized to move commuters, he said.

"Eighty percent of passengers are on buses which only occupy 20 percent of road space. The cars occupy 80 percent but they only deliver 20 percent of the passengers. Somebody has to absorb the pain so that somebody get the gain," he stressed.

Santiago also recommended a network system like that of ride hailing services Uber and Grab instead of merging bus operators into one company.

"If you manage them as a network you will need less number of buses, they will then be more productive. It is a revenue sharing approach. All the buses will earn their fair share pag kasama ka sa network," he said.

Santiago described as ridiculous the plan to build a bus rapid transport on EDSA saying the cost of building supporting infrastructure could be spent instead to improve the MRT.