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Fix traffic or PH can lose P6B daily by 2030 – JICA

MANILA, Philippines ­– Despite the Philippines’ better-than-expected economic growth, the country stands to lose up to P6 billion a day by 2030 because of worsening traffic jams.

A report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) showed the costs of traffic would continue to rise if adequate solutions to ease congestion are not implemented.

JICA earlier said traffic congestion cost the Philippines P2.4 billion every day in 2012.

The Japanese aid agency also presented the components and expected impact of its "dream plan" roadmap for improving the transportation system in the Philippines. The plan, which outlines short-term and long-term developments, is estimated to cost the government P2.3 trillion.

Cost of traffic

Studies on the cost of traffic are based on several factors, among them

University of the Philippines (UP) professor Jose Regin Regidor said the wasted productivity hours amount to a monetary value that could be used for other things, such as earning extra income or spending more time with the family.

“Instead of being at the office to start work, you’re stuck in traffic. Instead of being at home to take care of the children, a parent spends his time stuck on the roads,” Regidor said. “It’s hard to put a monetary value on that, but we’re trying to do that so people will see that this is the amount we’re losing every day.”

More cars on the road also mean a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn could lead to health costs. The JICA report said greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase to 5.72 million tons a year in 2030, compared to 4.7 million tons a year in 2012.

Improving mass transit

MASS TRANSIT. Studies show the need for better public transportation options. AFP file photo

MASS TRANSIT. Studies show the need for better public transportation options.

AFP file photo

With demand for mass transit in Mega Manila likely to reach 7.4 million passengers a day by 2030, JICA said there is a need for reliable mass transport services that can adequately serve them.

Public transport accounts for 69% of the total number of trips taken in Metro Manila every day. Currently, buses and jeepneys have the lion’s share in the mode of public transportation, accounting for 71% of trips.

In its proposed roadmap for 2030, the Japanese agency stressed the need for an integrated urban mass-transit network, with an efficient railway system making up a large part of the public transport mix.

JICA said railways should ideally take up a 41% share of the overall transport system, with jeeps and buses at 33% and cars at 26%.

Regidor added improving mass transit systems are “low-hanging fruits” that will be cost-effective and able to serve millions of commuters. 

‘Dream plan’ 

The P2.3-trillion infrastructure road map to decongest Metro Manila involves building new infrastructure and improving traffic management.

This includes building new roads and expressways, improving accessibility to rail systems, modernizing of bus and jeepney fleets, and improving traffic enforcement and education.

If the plan is properly implemented, JICA said the Philippines stands to cut its traffic losses, earn revenues, and reduce pollution from greenhouse gas emissions.

The Philippines can save as much as P1.2 trillion in 2030: P1.9 billion a day or P570 billion a year from time cost savings and P2.1 billion a day or P630 billion a year from vehicle operating cost savings.

In addition to these savings, the government can also collect up to P119 billion a year in toll and fare revenue.

Meanwhile, commuters can expect to save P18 a day and cut their travel time by 49 minutes per trip. – Rappler.com