EVEN WITH THE INCREASING number of vehicles plying Edsa, traveling on one of Metro Manila?s busiest thoroughfare has become faster on the average.
As of May this year, the average speed of vehicles on Edsa was clocked at 36.24 kilometers per hour (kph), an improvement over 32.78 kph in 2008, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Robert Nacianceno.
In 2003, the average speed on Edsa was 23.11 kph.
Nacianceno, speaking during yesterday?s hearing conducted by the House oversight committee, said the faster average speed was clocked despite an increase in traffic volume?from 272,389 vehicles in 2008 to 316,345 this year.
However, committee chair Rep. Danilo Suarez asked the MMDA to clarify at what time of the day motorists could travel at such a speed.
He noted that although traffic on Edsa has become more manageable due to the MMDA?s efforts, he was certain that vehicles traveling on the thoroughfare move slower than 36 kph during rush hour.
In response to the point raised by Suarez, Nacianceno promised to submit a breakdown of the average speed of vehicles on Edsa at specific times of the day.
The MMDA has introduced various changes on the thoroughfare such as reserving the rightmost lanes for passenger buses. It has also done away with left turns and installed more U-turn slots.
The construction of additional pedestrian walkways on Edsa has also reduced the number of accidents involving pedestrians.
Meanwhile, another lawmaker said the heavy traffic on the South Luzon Expressway and the Skyway in southern Metro Manila may run into staggering social costs.
Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, who has a house in Alabang, said the costs include the wear and tear on vehicles, in addition to the lost time and possibly lost income of people caught in snail-paced traffic. He said the social cost could be pegged at about P50 per hour.
If the travel time of people increases by about two hours due to traffic, and 200 to 250,000 vehicles with 1.2 to 1.5 million people a day use the SLEX and Skyway, then the costs could easily run into billions of pesos a month, he added.
At the same time, Daza expressed support for his colleagues? call for the Toll Regulatory Board to give motorists using SLEX and Skyway a toll discount for as long as traffic on the expressway remains snarled due to an ongoing rehabilitation project.
Daza said the budget for the ongoing Skyway project, which is causing the traffic jam, includes a traffic mitigation fund that runs to about P200 million.
He said officials should slash the toll rates and charge the loss to the fund in order to ease the plight of suffering motorists.