“If the MMDA will be able to increase the number of CCTVs in strategic areas of the entire road network of the NCR, this program will have a major impact on driver discipline because it will force all drivers to behave”
One of the big challenges that the last three administrations faced before PBBM’s election is the problem of traffic gridlock in the National Capital Region.
The problem has become so acute that the last president wisely did not attempt to take a direct hand in trying to solve it and left the matter basically to the MMDA.
To be fair, with the kind of land use in the NCR, the population density, the small land area and the rapidly increasing motorization, any solution that will be undertaken will almost certainly not satisfy everyone.
This is perhaps the reason why Indonesia simply gave up and decided to transfer Jakarta, the capital city somewhere else.
Maybe we should just do the same. But where? There is probably no empty land available in the country that we can find big enough to accommodate a capital city.
With the new administration and a new MMDA team, there is another attempt to try to lessen the traffic gridlock by revisiting and improving some to the old programs in place in the hope that some significant traffic improvements could be attained.
This in a way is a right move and perhaps the only currently available option.
One is the resurrection of the number coding program which MMDA termed as enhanced number coding from 7 to 10 in the morning and 5 to 8 in the early evening.
MMDA should simply have stuck to the old 7 to 8 time frame to make it easier for traffic enforcers to implement the program. The so-called windows is only giving the already overworked traffic enforcers additional work.
The other is the expansion of the no contact apprehension program which has been in place on a limited scale for some years.
The expanded plan, however, is generating a lot of opposition with requests for exemptions and others questioning its constitutionality.
A case has been brought to the Supreme Court to stop MMDA from going thru with the program which indicates how serious we really are in wanting to solve the traffic gridlock in the NCR. Even a group of medical practitioners came out with an advice to the MMDA.
After the previous paragraph earned its final dot, the Supreme Court, in full session, temporarily stopped the Land Transportation Office and five local governments from enforcing the NCAP, and set for January 24 oral arguments on the petitions.
The NCAP is just like any apprehension of a traffic violation.
The only difference is that instead of a traffic enforcer doing it, it will be the CCTV camera that will do it.
I am, of course, assuming that the MMDA will have the complete infrastructure to implement the expanded program.
This would mean that at the moment the traffic violation is committed, the CCTV would have taken a picture of the vehicle committing the violation and that the act has been recorded with the photo of the violation as evidence.
If the MMDA will be able to increase the number of CCTVs in strategic areas of the entire road network of the NCR, this program will have a major impact on driver discipline because it will force all drivers to behave even if there are no traffic enforcers around.
This has the potential of drastically reducing the uncontrolled traffic violations happening every day in Metro streets that are not manned by traffic enforcers and can also reduce vehicular accidents.
As we all know it is impossible for MMDA to put a traffic enforcer in every road intersection to watch every vehicle passing. The CCTV acts as the enforcement multiplier.
This MMDA plan is nothing new. It is being done by so many countries all over the world.
For those of us who have gone to the United States, for example, the drivers there appear to be so disciplined even in the absence of traffic policemen.
One reason is that there is a CCTV camera in almost every road intersection. With so many CCTV cameras on the road, motorists are forced to follow traffic rules.
We should, therefore, welcome this program instead of putting a lot of stumbling blocks to prevent its implementation because if implemented properly road discipline will improve big time.
There should also be no exemptions. Once exemptions are granted, the whole rationale of the exercise becomes pointless and the value of the program will significantly be reduced.
It is, therefore, important that before MMDA will embark on the full implementation of NCAP, that everything is in place.
This includes coordinating with the Land Transportation Office because the LTO data base is crucial if MMDA wants to maximize the benefits of the program by being able to collect all the administrative fines.
We must bear in mind that there are many vehicles running in the Metro area every day that are from the provinces.
When the drivers of these vehicles commit traffic violations and return to their provinces the fines will be difficult to collect unless the LTO gets somehow involved in the program.
I would think that LTO’s involvement in this NCAP program is indispensable for it to work and achieve maximum results.
But with the Supreme Court issuing a temporary restraining order the NCAP may be up in smoke. Good luck to the MMDA.