LTFRB to pilot test GPS in buses to regulate speed
Under the scheme, a public bus will be installed with a GPS device and communication system that will continuously send speed and location data to authorities

CARNAGE. Rescue workers extract the bodies of still unidentified persons from a wrecked bus that flew off the Metro Manila Skyway due to overspeeding in December, 2013. Photo by EPA/Francis Malasig

MANILA, Philippines – Following accidents involving speeding public utility buses, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will pilot test this year a Global Positioning System (GPS) gadget that will regulate the speed of buses plying national roads and highways.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said the scheme, which would help promote road safety,  will be pilot-tested on selected bus units in the second quarter of 2015.

Sobra nang nakakabahala ang sunod-sunod na aksidente sa ating mga pangunahing lansangan na nagdudulot ng kapinsalaan sa publiko dahil sa walang pakundangan at kaskaserong pagmamaneho ng mga bus drivers, kaya naman maglulunsad ang LTFRB ng programa para limitahin ang bilis ng takbo ng mga PUBs,” Ginez said.

(The spate of accidents in major highways is alarming. Reckless driving by irresponsible bus drivers cause public damage, which is why the LTFRB will launch a program to limit the speed of PUBs.)

Ginez made the announcement a day after a Victory Liner bus fell of a ravine on its way to Baguio City, hurting over 20 passengers.

The GPS device is the most viable option recommended under the “Study on Speed Control of PUBs” conducted by the UP National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) in October 2014, the LTFRB chief said.

He said use of GPS device is seen to promote road safety as the UP NCTS study cited PUBs as causing the highest number of road accidents.

The study also showed that public bus passengers are 6 times more at risk of an accident than private car passengers, and 5 times more than riders of jeepneys and UV express service or shuttles.

“This study validates that there is an urgent need to regulate bus speed to prevent more road accidents from happening on our roads and ensure safety of the riding public,” Ginez said.

The current speed limit along expressways is 80 kilometers per hour (kph); the speed limit in urban areas is 60 kph.  

The study recommends maintaining limits but must be closely monitored and controlled using a GPS device.

Under the scheme, PUBs will be installed with a GPS device and communication system that will continuously send speed and location data to the control center. 

A bus will be tagged as speeding when the GPS device exceeds the imposed speed limit. Bus passengers can also monitor the bus’ real-time speed through an on-screen display system installed in the bus. –