10 ways to squeeze out of traffic

Traffic congestion along Edsa —INQUIRER PHOTO/RICHARD A. REYES

Traffic congestion along Edsa —INQUIRER PHOTO/RICHARD A. REYES

In 1986, when Cory Aquino became President of a newly restored Philippine democracy, there were perhaps more people amassed on Edsa for that historic bloodless revolution than the 1.8 million motor vehicles registered in the country.

In 2008, there were already nearly 6 million motor vehicles roaming our streets—a 233-percent increase in 22 years, while the overall population increased by just over 52 percent to 88.5 million.

In 2013, government data showed the registered motor vehicle population zoom up further to nearly 8 million.

From 7.7 million vehicles registered in 2013, the vehicle population went up to 9.3 million in 2016, as gathered by the Inquirer Research team from the Land Transportation Office this Monday, “or for over 1.6 million vehicles, an average of more than half a million vehicles in the past three years,” says Inquirer Research head Miner Generalao.

Combine that trend with information provided by the Asian Development Bank’s Transport Sector Assessment, Strategy, and Road Map published in 2012: The country is experiencing rapid urbanization, and by 2030, about 77 percent of the population will live in urban areas.

You’re getting the big picture now. As more motor vehicles come in during this “golden age of motorization,” and with more and more Filipinos squeezing into the cities, there’s smaller room to move about in the city streets.

As the “people power” revolution rendered Edsa impassable in 1986, so does the “motor power” revolution three decades later.

But there are ways out of this conundrum, and here are 10 tried and tested ways for the government, the everyday motorists, and our kababayans to squeeze out of the daily curse of urban modernization that are the traffic jams:

1. Carpool. Inquirer’s Talk of the Town featured Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) students’ successful carpooling system.

On June 27, 2016, Inquirer also featured AdMU’s plans to offer a shuttle service for homeward-bound students and employees as part of efforts to ease traffic on Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, and on the campus.

The free rides, which went on a two-week trial run, was in line with the MMDA’s ongoing effort to ease traffic flow on major thoroughfares, in cooperation with school officials.

Francis Samonte, a financial advisor and Toyota Auto Club Philippines chair, has been participating in carpools for years now.

“Since I can’t really avoid driving my car, I could contribute by helping relieve traffic by offering carpool to my neighbors going to the same area. This will not only lessen the cars on the road but also give me a chance to have productive conversations with my peers. There’s less pollution, too,” said Samonte.

He added: “I have at least four people riding in my car going back home. They don’t bother bringing cars to work anymore since they know they can ride with me.”

2. Try public transportation. Alberto Suansing, former LTO chief and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chair, suggested office executives to take the bus, or make use of any public transportation available.

3. Pedal to work. This author has done this with two other officemates—a 48-km bike-to-work-and-back-home loop from Las Piñas to Makati and back, on a three-day trial. We did conclude that the bike to work was doable because: a) we used subdivision roads

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