Land transport management: the case of the Philippines

The Philippines can take in some lessons on transport and traffic management from its neighbor, Singapore.  The LTA-Singapore has utilized social media, Youtube, to inform its public about transport and traffic measures in place as well as those it has taken in the past, and this video introduces use of economic incentives and disincentives to regulate road traffic and increase utilization of public transport.

The Philippines also has a Land Transportation Office whose mandate, under RA 4136, is to “control, as far as they apply, the registration and operation of motor vehicles and the licensing of owners, dealers, conductors, drivers, and similar matters” which under the current direction of matters related to transport and traffic is just a part of the whole gamut of land transportation.  There is also the National Center for Transportation Studies, attached to the University of the Philippines, which has done several studies of the sector (e.g. National EST Strategy for the Philippines) but which went relatively untouched by the LTO.

Philippine transport sector, according to ADB, is mainly beset with poor quality of the road network, poor intermodal integration, weak sector governance and institutional capacity, lack of quality urban transport systems, and limited private investment in transport infrastructure.

For all of the traffic rants raised by the Filipino public and international community, LTO as far as it’s mandate is concerned is doing it’s job.  But also raises the question, why wasn’t there an evaluation of the 1964 law in view of the evolution of Philippine land transportation?  Why wasn’t there a recommendation from the agency itself for the review and revision of the RA vis-a-vis the call of the times?  Why didn’t LTO itself persist on Congress to address the concern?

Singapore’s Land Transport Master Plan drafted based on its people’s ideal – “we would like the land transport system to get us safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably to our destination” – is good example of the use of economics and land use planning in land transport management, which Philippines can learn from.

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