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The Last Traffic Jam in Metro Manila

The Last Traffic Jam in Metro Manila
Finding sustainable solutions to traffic challenges in the Philippines
The Last Traffic Jam in Metro Manila READ FULL ARTICLE

The Last Traffic Jam in Metro Manila

Mario Luis Castaneda

Managing Director for Cisco in the Philippines

September 15, 2015
  • Press Release

  • 1746

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  • Vision & Strategy, Public Sector

Metro Manila’s problematic traffic jams call for cutting edge solutions that encompass various areas—the public transport system, traffic and monitoring coordination, and road safety behavior.

With each Filipino estimated to lose 300 hours due to traffic every year, and the economy losing billions of pesos in productivity, the need to come up with a long-lasting, cross-cutting solution is even more urgent.

Each day that traffic congestion is not addressed, the losses mount and people’s inconveniences increase. With more than 50 percent of the world’s population currently living in cities and close to 700 million people moving into urban areas within the next 10 years, tremendous stress is being placed on already aging public infrastructures.


Short and medium-term measures are being put in place to address this trend. The recent reinstatement of the Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) to manage traffic flow along EDSA has shown promising results in its first week of implementation. However, long-term measures must be considered to address the challenges of traffic management.

For instance, urban and traffic planners can study how smart cities around the world have configured their traffic management systems using Internet of Everything (IoE) and Big Data analytics. These cities employ IoE and analytics to connect the Traffic Management System (traffic signals and traffic command centers) with a Geographic Information System (GIS) enabled digital road map and use real time analytics to manage traffic flow through busy thoroughfares.

For example, the use of IP cameras, sensors, applications over a secure Wi-Fi network infrastructure around Metro Manila can help provide real-time traffic condition visibility for traffic management authorities. Sensors could be spread out across EDSA, for instance, and can send information to a central server where traffic management authorities can tag heavily-congested sections, routing motorists into less congested side streets and improving traffic flow along Metro Manila’s artery roads.

Smart analytics can also be used to manage intersections and accident-prone areas, where traffic build-up usually originates. The Smart Intersection Solution, developed by AGT International and Cisco utilizing its Data in Motion technology, uses edge analytics to aggregate data at intersections to support vulnerable road users, improve traffic flow, monitor air pollution and optimize traffic infrastructure management.

The Smart Intersection solution implements a number of IoT technologies at city intersections to provide intelligent services to citizens, car drivers and pedestrians alike around the city. This solution has already shown potential in various real-world applications, such as an implementation of Hamburg’s first Smart City pilot projects.

For cities and road users, benefits include more efficient traffic flow, less pollution, and improved road safety and congestion traffic conditions. For Transportation Departments, a Smart+Connected traffic management system will help deliver automated incident detection and quicker responses, better management of thoroughfares due to better-informed operational decision making,

In addition to reducing traffic jams and making our roads safer, smart analytics can save lives! For instance, it can guide an ambulance by getting real time data from sensors, traffic signals on the way to hospital and GIS mapping of all roads leading to hospital. A message is sent to the ambulance display panel in front of the driver informing him which road to take. All signals towards hospital are asked to be on a particular color (red or green) prompting the ambulance to pass through.

Smart analytics can also be used to prevent and catch crime, by sending information from CCTV, sensors on the road, criminal database and information to the police command center. In Singapore SURF@NCS is leading the way with their Solutions for Urbanised Future initiative.Their Intelligent Command & Control Platform is designed to solve challenges in situations involving multiple agencies. The proprietary platform, established by Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Economic Development Board (EDB) was a demonstration that the ISC platform helped to improve situational awareness and operational efficiency.

As Metro Manila continues to urbanize and grow, I’m looking forward to innovative solutions from our creative, start-up and technopreneur community that uses technology and the Internet of Everything to transform the way we work, live, play, learn and travel. I’m looking forward to the last traffic jam in Metro Manila.

This commentary was first published in Business Mirror and has also appeared in the Manila Bulletin.

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