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DOTr takes in Singapore gov't to help ease Metro Manila traffic

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday took in the Singapore government as partner in easing the Metro Manila gridlock which is costing the country billions of pesos a day.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Kong Wy Mun, CEO of the Singapore Cooperation Enterpise (SCE), an agency of the Singapore government, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on developing an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) to ease traffic congestion in the metropolis.

The ceremonial signing was held at the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) office in Pasay City. Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Danilo Lim, Transportation Undersecretary Thomas Orbos, Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Kok Li Peng, and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore Center director for Manila and Second Secretary Darren Lee.

The SCE will share "Singapore's journey in striving towards a sustainable land transport system through reduction in traffic volume, improvement in mobility and integrated land and transport planning, which the island nation has been doing over the last few decades," Mun said.

The ITS is a "smart tool" with three main management categories: surveillance, congestion, and enforcement.

The SCE will share Singapore's practices on traffic and transport management by introducing the ITS to the Philippine experience.

The DOTr and the SCE are collaborating on "recommending and adopting suitable traffic management policies" which will include "installation and implementation of various traffic control systems, as well as the utilization of congestion management, traffic enforcement and surveillance, and incident management systems."

Singapore has benefited from the ITS and has reported the following gains:

Enhanced operational efficiency, faster and a more integrated management of traffic incidents
Centralized control of multiple traffic sub-systems such as traffic lights
Reduced impact and early mitigation of recurring congestion areas
Enhanced travel experience of motorist through a decrease in traffic delay, less accidents, and reduced fuel costs and pollution

"For the purpose of this cooperation with DOTr, SCE will be tapping ... planning and policy experts from ... relevant government ministries and agencies. In addition, SCE will aggregate expertise from technology and solutions providers in Singapore, who have relevant and good track records in the field of ITS solutions," Mun said.

Tugade said the partnership "puts a realism" on how the Philippine may address transportation and traffic problems.

"The situation in the Philippines—related to transportation and traffic—cannot be solved by one system, cannot be solved by one kind of infrastructure, cannot be solved by one kind of approach. There's got to be a basket of approaches, of solutions, of systems, of policies ... a basket wherein you put all your learnings together so that in unity you try to observe and solve the problem of transportation and traffic," Tugade said.

"This country is not an enemy of technology and innovation. We, by signing that memorandum of understanding today, tell the whole world that this department, this country, welcomes technology, welcomes innovation because ... no way to go but through technology and innovation," he added. — VDS, GMA News