Sunday, November 19, 2017
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
NACTO and the Global Designing Cities Initiative Release Global Street Design Guide
Monday, January 11, 2016
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Saturday, June 4, 2011
While having the procedure done, I thought about the small incident along SLEX yesterday when a responsible motorist motioned to us about our deflated right rear tire. We had just entered the expressway from the T3 link between SLEX and STAR when a motorist gestured to us just about the time we were accelerating. We had to pull over at a nearby stop and change our tire. During the change, I was reminded about the tires on our Mazda 3. It's been almost 4 years now since we got the car and we still haven't changed any of the tires. The standard procedure was to first replace the two front tires. These were the tires used for steering the car so it was important to have two reliable tires for one to be able to effectively control the car. So I prioritized replacing these two tires and will be purchasing two more tires in a few weeks' time so I would have 4 reliable tires during the wet season. When I get the new tires, I will be replacing the old rear ones with the 2 I bought today. I got my tires from the tire store of our next door neighbor. He recommended I get the Yokohama tires over the Bridgestones I planned to get. From the tread design, I decided to get the Yokohamas as they would give me the best performance for wet and even flooded roads. It is important that the tread design would allow for efficient pumping out of water much like a turbine does in order for the tires not to slip or hydroplane along rain-drenched pavements. Again, this was important from the perspective of road safety, a prime consideration for travel especially as I am a road safety advocate.
After purchasing my tires, I proceeded to another suki, my barber, for my regular haircut. The timing was perfect as it was a month after my last cut and I just had to have this one before the coming week when I would be having some important meetings followed by a trip to Singapore to be with the Clairvoyant. I won't have another opportunity for this in the coming weeks as I would also be flying to Korea for an international conference this June. As such, I also mentioned this to my barber so that he could cut my hair a little shorter than usual to allow for the possibility that I would be late for my next appointment.
All in all, it was a very efficient morning this Saturday as I was able to accomplish three important tasks for the day. I was actually planning to do these things for not a few days now as classes will be opening in a week's time. I have a few trips coming up and I figured I won't have time to do all these once the first semester begins. Fortunately, I had my dentist's contact numbers so I was able to arrange for an appointment while still away at our office's strategic planning workshop in a Batangas beach resort. Fortunate also that our neighbor's tire shop was along the way from the dental clinic to the barber shop. This allowed for me to do these routine tasks in succession. It also helped that my timing was good enough such that I didn't have to wait long for my turn at each task. For a schedule freak like me, I guess I enjoy doing this stuff and doing it efficiently every time. It is part of what I am and what I do and I look to continue doing so in the coming years.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Friday the 13th turned out to be tragic to a faculty member of the College of Mass Communications of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Prof. Lourdes Estella-Simbulan was killed when a bus hit the taxi she was riding along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City at around 6:00 PM yesterday. By the looks of the crumpled taxi cab shown in photos and videos taken by the media, it would have been a miracle if she survived such a crash.
Adding insult to injury were reports that the bus driver fled after the incident. The name of the bus company is not familiar to me despite our Center currently immersed in a project developing a planning support system for public transportation that included a database component that required us collecting data on companies and operators of public transport in Metro Manila. I suspect that the bus is one of those fly-by-night units taking advantage of the night in operating illegally or maybe one that is part of the kabit system that would be difficult to take to task by the HPG or the LTFRB. It is indeed a mockery of traffic rules and regulations that drivers can get away with murder when they are involved in crashes such as this. It is even more frustrating that the most common reason mentioned by drivers when asked why they drive recklessly is that they are just “naghahanap buhay” or earning a living. Such is unacceptable and those charged to bring order to traffic should be decisive and assertive on acting to prevent such crashes from happening again.
To me there is some irony in what had transpired considering that a couple of days ago, the Philippine joined other countries around the world in launching a program geared towards the reduction of road crashes and victims in the next ten years. Forget about the decade – there is a need to reduce crashes and victims NOW. This is because people are getting killed (or dare I say murdered) now, and there are terrible costs even as I write this post.
The College of Mass Communications is a partner in our advocacy for road traffic safety. In fact, that college produced a video for driver education that was supported by resources extended by the private sector led by the Automobile Association Philippines and Toyota Motor Philippines. I am sure that their faculty are now wondering if their efforts have been to naught considering the proliferation of drivers disregarding traffic rules and regulations, throwing caution to the air when they drive their vehicles.
On my part as head of a Center providing training to public utility vehicle drivers, I feel responsible and frustrated at the same time as I question myself if indeed our efforts are even having the slightest influence to improve PUV drivers’ behaviors. In fact, I have been admonishing participants in our training courses about how they sit in and pretend to learn, and then go out and drive like hell. I just hope that the driver involved in the crash that killed Prof. Simbulan is not among those whom we trained at the Center. It would be a shame and one that makes a mockery out of our efforts in promoting road safety. It is our failure as educators that our students and trainees do not practice what they are taught in terms of road safety. We just take it with a grain of salt, so to speak, that responsibility for such PUV drivers’ behavior can also be linked to a flawed licensing system as well as shortcomings in the regulations of public transport services. Indeed, we have our work cut out for us and we can only hope that our persistent efforts would eventually prevail and lead to a significant improvement to safety along our roads.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Thursday, September 3, 2009
There are no quick solutions or cures to this disease. We can, however, treat symptoms to alleviate its impacts – among which are economic losses that are estimated to be in excess of US$ 2 billion a year for the entire country. Diagnosis of the symptoms is the collective responsibility of the DPWH, local government units, and the Highway Patrol Group with the enabling of the DOTC through the LTO. Road safety audits should be undertaken for major roads and this know-how needs to be transferred to local governments for them to make similar assessments for local roads. It is necessary for the HPG to intensify their campaign in monitoring roads as well as apprehending errant motorists even for minor offenses. But the latter should not do this “to instill fear in the heart of motorists and pedestrians” as some officials have often declared but rather to firmly establish a culture of responsible motoring and discipline for road users through informed, fair and consistent enforcement.
In Metro Manila, there are a significant number of accidents occurring everyday but these are not all reported and recorded. Such are relegated to the profusion of anecdotal information going around about how frequent and how serious accidents have become in the metropolis. However, with the installation of video cameras at critical locations around the metro provides an opportunity not just for monitoring and recording but for studying the behavior of drivers, riders and pedestrians. Footage from the cameras, if clear enough, may also be used to go after traffic violators.
Local government units including the MMDA would do well in refraining from overdoing efforts that employ unconventional or unorthodox methods for traffic engineering and management. While “out of the box” solutions have been successful to a certain extent, caution must be exercised when applying these schemes elsewhere. The prevailing practice is to over-generalize the application of traffic schemes resulting in what are continuing experimentations that bring about situations that lead to accidents as well as traffic congestion.
I’ve always taught my students that it is important to go back to the basics when dealing with the safety aspect of roads. In highway design we have to keep in mind that there are many elements that come into play including those concerning the vehicles, the drivers, and the environment. Key to the design is to have an understanding of the interactions that take place among the elements for one to be able to come up with a suitable design. Such are the basis for design speeds and curvatures as well as determining the appropriate traffic control or management schemes for the road. One has to ensure the natural movement of vehicles as well as enable conditions where motorists are able to assess the situation on the road with minimal complications that may bring about drive error. Failure to account for the design elements or to understand the interactions among the elements will lead to higher risk of accidents. Thus, a person can have all the skills and experience of a good driver and still be involved in an accident due to a poorly designed (or located) island or barrier. Also, a person could be the best defensive driver and yet be hit by a drunken driver or a motorcycle weaving in and out of traffic.
Highways need not be declared as traffic discipline zones if efforts are firm, consistent and sustained for all roads. It is understandable though if authorities would want to focus on particular corridors or areas in order to gain quick wins and confidence in the campaign for safe roads. However, such campaign must be fought simultaneously along several fronts. It is here that the DOTC through the LTO and the LTFRB should play a lead and active role especially since they have the mandate in as far as licensing and franchising are concerned. In addressing the accidents involving public transportation, for example, it is recommended that stricter policies be formulated and implemented with respect to licensing and employing drivers, and that operators be made accountable for accidents. There should also be initiatives towards emphasizing transport as a service rather than a business and a source of livelihood or employment.
Road traffic accidents have become an occurrence that is too common. The newspapers relate stories of men, women and children being victims of accidents. Television and radio news programs report incidents round the clock; often putting the spotlight on those involving public transport and particularly ones that have resulted in fatalities. All these scream the obvious and that is that our roads are unsafe. We are all vulnerable whether we are behind the wheel, a passenger of a public utility vehicle, or maybe a pedestrian just standing at roadside.
For now, it is important to sustain the sense of urgency generated by the recent spate of accidents and take advantage of this increased awareness and clamor for safe roads. The opportunity for genuine reforms that would lead to safer roads is here and it is imperative that we act decisively. Needless to say, this will require strong commitment and cooperation among various stakeholders to ensure success in reducing the rate of traffic accidents and making our roads safe for the present and future generations.