We all have horror stories of how Metro Manila's huge traffic jams ruined our day even before they had even a chance to begin.
A lot of appointments, meetings and dates have been canceled due to the horrible traffic in the Philippines' capital region, where a snail's pace would be a god-send, especially during rush hour.
But now engineering students from the University of the Philippines (UP) and the De La Salle University (DLSU), have come up with ways to end to the nightmare on Metro Manila's streets.
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Through a competition sponsored by Spain-based information technology firm Indra, these young minds made use of modern technology in their innovative solutions to our traffic woes.
"Malapit talaga sa puso namin itong problema sa traffic. Sa Taft Avenue pa lang, sobrang ingay, sobrang gulo, sobrang traffic. Inisip namin: Ano ba ang gusto naming gawin?" Catherine Rollan of DLSU, a participant in the competition said.
"In 2011, P157 billion ang nako-cost ng traffic sa Metro Manila from time wasted in businesses at marami pang factors. Imagine using those funds for free education," UP Diliman's Paolo Santos said.
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Below are the ways to solve the traffic problem in Metro Manila proposed by these college students:
1. Give tablets to traffic enforcers.
In one of the winning proposals, the team from DLSU - composed of Rollan, Jerome Cuevas and John Clifford Konwat - suggested that traffic enforcers be equipped with tablets, which they can use to scan bar codes on drivers' licenses.
"The advantage of tablets with respect to what's being implemented right now is that the amount we're going to spend on tablets for 5 to 10 years is actually going to be cheaper compared to the cost of paper," Rollan said.
The team also proposed building a technological "ecosystem" to solve the Metro Manila traffic situation by installing "smart" traffic lights on major intersections and by using the Global Positioning System (GPS) installed on some vehicles.
2. Use electronic identification tags on vehicles.
The winning team from UP Diliman, which included Santos, John Arden Orata and Jhoanne Clarize Monta, meanwhile proposed the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) on vehicles.
The proposal was similar to the system the Land Transportation Office (LTO) tried to implement in 2010, but was halted by the Supreme Court due to the supposed danger of violating the right to privacy.
"We searched a lot of possible solutions and we saw the potential of RFID. Ilalagay namin 'yung RFID tags in every vehicle and we will install readers in various congested intersections in Metro Manila.
Every time na may mag-pass na car with an RFID tag, madedetect niya iyon," Santos said.
Monta said the RFID tags should be encrypted, or encoded with messages to prevent hacking, to allay fears that it will encroach on a vehicle owner's privacy.
3. Maximize the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and inductive loops.
Another team from UP Diliman, composed of Angelica Joyce Ramos, Ian Catamora and Shane Jayson Cruz, meanwhile came up with the idea of maximizing the use of CCTV cameras and inductive loops already installed on Metro Manila thoroughfares.
"We focused on the enigma of upgrading our control system. We proposed a solution in which we can utilize our current technologies," Ramos said.
The group proposed that signals from these pieces of equipment be digitized and sent to a centralized control center, where the data can alert other government agencies such as the Philippine National Police and the LTO on the traffic situation in particular areas. — DVM, GMA News
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