Is ‘road train’ system appropriate in metropolitan areas?
The introduction of the P4.5-million “road train,” reported by the Inquirer as “another approach to easing the capital’s mass transportation problems” (“For now, PH-made P45-M ‘road train’ a mall attraction,” Metro, 7/12/15), fuels concern over the technical competence of the bureaucracy in both the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Transportation and Communications.
The critical factor which limits transport capacity is the “transport corridor,” or the right-of-way or road space, for motor vehicles. Hence, the use of carriages of the “road train” prototype is clearly inappropriate, to say the least. In urban areas the multilevel use of these transport corridors optimizes these assets, and recourse to high-passenger-capacity rapid rail system is cost-justified.
The DOTC has recently commissioned the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) for a long-term Urban Transport System for Metro Manila, which would outline plans for the immediate, the near-term and the long-term.
No doubt the ambitious, and consequently astronomically expensive, plans for subways would respond to the demand of the metropolis of the future.
The Jica studies are deemed to be generally relevant to the foreseen demand. However the recourse ultimately to a subway system should further be tested against the optimization of the existing motor vehicles at grade and the elevated light rail systems now already in use.
—ALFREDO V. ASUNCION, email@example.com
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