The Best Metro Traffic Solutions: Rail Network Expansion and Decentralization

After Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo’s cute little crisis-downplaying publicity stunt on taking the challenge to commute to work, the conclusion is: There is NO mass transport crisis plaguing Filipino commuters, since he was still eventually able to get from point A to B (except that it took him 4 hours from his home in Marikina City to his work location in Malacañang).

There is NO transport crisis despite that fact that the country loses P3.5 billion a day according to a JICA study, and LOSS is something that is in every way a part of Filipino normal existence.

There is NO crisis because Filipinos are creative and can always find innovative ways to get around their hellish situation. For one, why not leave the house an hour earlier to get to office on time? All we can say is that “Siguradong panalo na si Panelo sa susunod na election!

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The Traffic-Solving Time Machine

So much for the circus act; what the nation needs is a time machine to solve the traffic crisis. If only we could travel back in time and have a secret agent eliminate the guy who convinced Filipinos to choose jeepneys over rail-based mass transit, then probably it would be like living in Tokyo now, instead of…

Or if we had a time machine to enable us to talk with someone in the future that had the knowledge to see how our ill-advised choices now would bring about catastrophic consequences decades later, then we will have the wisdom to take the right steps towards balanced urban development and optimized modes of transport.

Great ideas to “SOLVE” worsening traffic, BUT…

The following have been floated around to put a band aid on the karmic carmageddon crisis of our own doing, but they merely serve as stop gap measures to alleviate us of the symptoms rather than address the root cause of the hellish traffic conditions that add to the already tough daily grind the Metro populace has to endure.

  1. Car pooling
  2. Bus franchise removal
  3. Time-based bus schedules
  4. One-way EDSA
  5. 2-day color coding
  6. Removing provincial buses
  7. PUV modernization
  8. Skyways above EDSA
  9. Adding business class to LRT/MRT
  10. Strictly enforced yellow lane policy for PUVs
  11. Walking/cycling
  12. Work from home
  13. Shifted work/school schedules
  14. Traffic discipline
  15. Opening up gated communities
  16. Ask China/Japan/Korea to manage us

ROOT CAUSE analysis

For those familiar with the 8D method of problem solving, one really needs to identify the root cause. Unless anyone violently disagrees, the root causes of the metro’s catastrophic traffic congestion are:

  1. Lack of vision and long-term strategic planning
  2. Over-development of Metro Manila, leading to overcapacity
  3. Misguided policy of following America’s lead rather than the Japanese mass-transit model

The BEST Solutions to the Hemorrhagic Transport Crisis:

For those who have lived long enough in first-world mega-centers, the best solutions (arguably) are quite obvious.

Expanded Rail Network

The mark of any non-dysfunctional modern metropolis is always a complex network of train lines that serve as the main workhorses of a seamless public mass transport system. Parallel alternative train routes should be in place as backup in case one line breaks down.

The idea is to have such an extensive network that it is possible to reach any point in Luzon or other major Islands simply by train. Rail systems bring the highest efficiency (person per unit area) vis-a-vis the limited infrastructure and space available.

If we adopt this as our priority national development strategy, then we need to reduce dependence on foreign technology and expertise by cultivating our own.


Put a plug on developments in Metro Manila: limit high-rise condos, gigantic malls and conglomerated office buildings. Increase the tax or cost penalty for operating/traveling in MM. Create policies that make it less attractive to set up business in an already overcrowded location; and public behavior will naturally shift towards moving out of the city.

Creating new urban centers affords the advantage of starting fresh: with modern sewage, gas pipes, underground electrical/communication/fiber lines, water lines, garbage disposal systems, etc.

Follow the decentralization lead of SM, whose malls are now ubiquitously everywhere across the archipelago. On top of these, we should bring in first-world minds in the process: managers, urban planners, developers and maintenance/improvement-centric operators.

How can you help?

The current Duterte administration is all out for these two solutions with the development of New Clark City and multiple rail projects in progress under the intensively funded Build Build Build initiative. What we can contribute as ordinary citizens is to do our part: If there is a way to not add one more soul on EDSA and the Metro’s clogged throughfares (esp. with infrastructure construction going everywhere), then make every effort to do so.

Choose to study in a provincial College/University instead of one in Metro Manila (or go for a Robotics and Automation Engineering program up in the mountains); use Clark International Airport instead of NAIA; go to a provincial SM mall instead of Megamall; attend a podcast-based organic church rather than a megachurch on the other side of the Metro; utilize Skype for business meetings. Let’s just evade EDSA at all costs.

And finally, as so many astute Filipinos have already done so because they believe they (and their fellow-Filipinos who are left behind) deserve better lives:

Do Your Country a Favor: Get Out!

11 Replies to “The Best Metro Traffic Solutions: Rail Network Expansion and Decentralization”

  1. Nice blog that you’d created @zaxx but there’s is also another solution to the traffic problems in Metro Manila but not only traffic problems but also flooding problems as well during rainy season. Watch this video that I’d found, the SMART Tunnel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

    And in spite that their country is as poor as the Philippines & that tunnel is a multi-billion dollar project, however they’re trying to build that one in order to ease the traffic & flooding problems in their city. If ever we could build that one in the near future that will be a great benefit to the Filipino people but not to those greedy, corrupt & lazy Yellowtards and Commies. And they could run for their money on that one. 😀

    1. Hey wiseguy, maybe we would be better off if the Malaysians take over running this country???

      What next, shove their Shari’a law down our throats and act like their former British colonial masters in running this country????

      1. Hey @peteraloysius maybe you should better understand how all of the ASEAN countries like Malaysia & Philippines could make a BETTER SouthEast Asia rather than becoming a puppet to the Western imperialists:

        We don’t need their Western liberal hoolabalooza, heck take a look at what’s happening in Europe & the US right now. They’re already in a big $*** for the past few years like immigration problems, gun violence, racial discrimination, economic woes, etc., etc.

  2. Filipinos often use their car unnecessarily and this attitude doesn’t change when they move abroad. Here in Rome, Italy my Filipino wife and her friends and relatives prefer travelling by car to walking even to go to the nearest supermarket that is situated less than 500 meters away. Here we’ve got a subway system (not the best in Europe but nevertheless kahit papaano mayroon) but Filipinos prefer to go by car to reach areas that could much more easily be reached by rail

  3. In the ancient Roman Empire, if a huge problem that occur in Rome, and the people are restless; the Roman Emperor will just order his subordinates : ” Give them Circus and Bread…” In our case, we have the “Circus”, but I think , we don’t have enough , “Bread”….

    Unless we phase out the jeepney, as mode of transport, we will never solve this transport problem. Jeepneys are expensive to maintain, in comparison to Metro Rails. They have limited amount of passengers to carry. And they are gas guzzlers… and if they have accident or engine trouble on their way…they tie up traffics…While, if you have a hundred Metro Rails, and a few hundreds of Metro Buses…the carrying capacity will be more efficient. and if there is an engine problem, it will not tie up the whole rail system. We have to build more rail systems, not just one rail system…

    The export of second hand cars, and even third hand and fourth hand cars from Japan, or from other car exporting countries, are clogging the highways. These cars are destined for the junk yards, in where they came from…these are junk cars, and are in our highways…

    We cannot afford to have more “Circuses” anymore…please solve the Transport problem …everybody is suffering !

    1. Yes. And they ignore it because THEY(who are in Metro Manila) will be affected if a mass exodus is imposed to decongest the region.

  4. The solution is not to politicize it and not to rely on the ones with the loudest shouts or only famous but not in the field of planning.

    Consult with the proper professionals, they will not just say ‘add more roads’ but surely will recommend other courses of action to address other concerns, pollution, noise, congestion etc.

    These professionals should be the leads and not be subject to the random dictates of the noisy bunch.

    We have local professional but can also collaborate with the foreign consultants to get the most ideal outcome on how to make our cities more efficient.

    That’s what i believe.

    But, without those people, this won’t get started. And if they are left out of the limelight (politicians and noisy proponents) they will not like it.

    A change in mindset is really needed and thetr is no cure all or hero that will save us. It will take proper planning, proper execution and patience.

  5. You do know the consequence of decentralization, right? I just hope the solution won’t follow the same dysfunctional pattern of economic “development” as seen in other places.

    1. And do you know why Metro Manila is becoming more mess than before & why Dan Brown called this city as “Gates of Hell”? Well that’s because Metro Manila is the hub of corrupt, powerful & influential Yellowtards & oligarch in which many of the poor & idiotic Filipino people go to that city & causing a huge problems within it like poverty, crimes, unemployment & of course TRAFFIC CRISIS!

      And the only way to solve that problem is to eliminate the corrupt & useless Imperial Manila & change the government system in our country just like what this Mr. Riyoh had posted on his Youtube channel:

  6. I dont have all the answers but enforcing discipline fine drivers more hit drivers in there pockets the only problem is enforcing it. But you can make so money in traffic fines and that will force drivers to think twice. More speed cameras & CCTV in general. The joke goes in the U.K. of your gonna get stabbed get stabbed in a bus lane!! (They have cameras) Peace Out!!

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