The MMDA Traffic Navigator (TNAV) is a multi-platform program that provides users with updated data on Metro Manila traffic conditions and almost real-time reports on incidents happening on the road. Available either on the web or in mobile app form, the program indicates whether traffic on selected major thoroughfares is light, moderate, or heavy, as presented in either a System, Line, or Map view of Metro Manila.
Background and Problem
Metro Manila has one of the worst traffic situations in any major city in the world, with over 2,000,000 registered vehicles and a vehicle density higher than that of Singapore or Tokyo. This is compounded by limitations in the availability, scope, reliability, and safety of public transportation in the city, with the three main rail lines (LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3) consistently overworked and often breaking down, buses regularly cited as overloaded and breaking traffic laws, and high rates of commute-related crimes. The traffic situation has even led to the forecast that Metro Manila may become uninhabitable in the near future.
Solution and Impact
Though not providing a direct solution to traffic, the MMDA TNAV allows users to make informed decisions on how and when to traverse Metro Manila’s roads, especially at peak hours. The system relies primarily on the MMDA closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) to get the traffic situation in an area and, secondarily, by reports sent in by traffic enforcers in the field, especially in areas where there are no surveillance cameras. To date, four apps have been launched in line with MMDA TNAV. The first two applications, MMDA for Android and MMDA for iOS, enable users to view the traffic situation of major Metro Manila roads such as Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon Avenue, España Road, Circumferential Road No. 5 (C-5), Ortigas Avenue, Marcos Highway, Roxas Boulevard, and South Luzon Expressway (SLEX). The Navigator does not require Global Positioning System (GPS) for accurate data—users only need an Internet connection to access it.
Two other apps, MMDA Accident Alerts and MMDA Road User Assistance, provide more focused services to road users. The former provides updates on accidents in Metro Manila, allowing users to anticipate the congestion and detours that result from such accidents. MMDA Road User Assistance, on the other hand, allows those requiring MMDA assistance to request help to address their own possible road mishaps.
Beyond these mobile apps, MMDA now also has a dedicated website for the TNAV, in conjunction with the TV5 news platform Interaksyon. The traffic information is updated every 10-15 minutes and can be viewed in three ways: system view, line view and Google map. The website also provides direct updates to other media outlets, allowing radio and television stations to accurately report road conditions to their listeners and viewers. A dedicated Traffic Mirror website has also been launched, which allows users to access direct real-time video feeds of key junctions in Metro Manila.
Through the innovation, motorists and commuters are now empowered to avoid heavily congested roads and make informed decisions on where to pass to get to their final destination. It is also a useful tool for the public to plan their trips accordingly and to save fuel and time. Delays on the movement and turnover of goods for consumption and/or production purposes can also be avoided. More number of trips for public transport, delivery trucks, and shuttle services can also be catered.
Within the same year of its launching, the TNAV already bagged two awards namely the Bronze Boomerang for Innovation and the IT product of the Year, from the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines and the Cyberpress, also known as the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines, respectively. The following year, the innovation was recognized as the 2012 Best Design under the Interactive category bestowed by the Adobo Magazine. To date, the number of downloads of the app has reached over 1.2 million for both Android and iOS platforms, accounting for more than 20,000 daily users. After the successful implementation of the TNAV, MMDA created a team who is on duty 24/7 at the agency’s Command and Communications Center (Metrobase). The team operates and maintains the digitized traffic information database.
“A must-have and noteworthy app that can help any public transport commuter or private vehicle driver slip through Metro Manila traffic.” – Tech in Asia “MMDA Traffic Navigator FTW! A really good start and a good way to catch up with the times and employ some really usable online services.” – YugaTech “It is the first Philippine government agency mobile application. It allows you to view Metro Manila’s traffic situation in an easy to use and convenient app.” – TopGear