Can ‘eyes in the sky’ solve traffic?
The article, “MMDA turns to drones to manage traffic” (Metro, 6/5/18), exhibits the Metro Manila Development Authority’s inflated talk that with “eyes in the sky,” it may now be able to see “in real time” the “bigger picture for faster and orderly traffic management in congested areas.”
The MMDA has spent hundreds of millions of pesos setting up CCTV cameras all over Metro Manila. Its Metrobase monitors show and record all the bottlenecks or chokepoints that make road travel a living hell: jeepney and bus drivers turning any part of the road into their own terminals to load or unload passengers, and private car owners obstructing and converting streets into their private garages.
If the MMDA cannot handle smaller issues, it’s no rocket science to figure out what it can’t do with the “bigger picture”!
Has knowing where the traffic congestions are “in real time” through those CCTVs been of any use? Those watching (assuming they do their job of watching) hundreds of Metrobase monitors have no one to call at those points of congestion to unclog the traffic jams. Its ground personnel are almost always nowhere near those problem areas. They are somewhere else making “kaway-kaway” like scarecrows in a ricefield, or hiding in ambush and looking out only for number-coding or traffic-sign violators, or red light jumpers.
Said to have been “donated” by an anonymous entrepreneur, four drones (costing P100,000 each) were already tried and tested, apparently to the satisfaction and delight of the MMDA’s approving authorities.
What’s next? As sure as the sun rises in the east, orders for hundreds more of these gizmos will follow at the cost of millions to the taxpayers. And then what? Due, as usual, to poor maintenance or the total lack of it, they start falling from the sky—on the roofs of our cars or on the heads of pedestrians!
STEPHEN L. MONSANTO, Monsanto Law Office, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
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