Note: Anyone still here? The operative word, as far as work is concerned, is "tuliro" -- and I've been running around like a headless chicken working to close several projects.
I wrote this sitting in a DC airport, waiting for a flight that was delayed for three hours. rather than working on my projects, I squeaked in some-not-so-quality blog time.
I wound up in wifi hell on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, so I missed both the news and the blog posts.
I hope you're all ok.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the bombing in G2: A good friend of mine was a mere hundred feet away from the explosion. I'm glad he's ok. Another friend is on the front lines for ALI helping the victims and their families. Strength and endurance for her.
Further on rethinking public transport, here's a quick work-up on why our roads are so congested.
An average bus, carrying full capacity, can seat about 70 passengers. An average car, about 4. (Five, if you want to squeeze people in.)
Let's do a side by side comparison. Assume the bus is not full to capacity and carries only 60 people. (Of course, rush hour buses in Metro Manila probably carry close to 100). Then, assume 4 passengers per car. What effect does that have on our roads?
Here are the numbers:
You'll need 15 cars to transport as many people as one bus. You'll need 30 full cars to be on par withtwo buses (120 passengers).
How much road space do these vehicles take up? The two buses will take up 38 meters (124.6 feet) of road space. Bumper to bumper, the 30 cars will take up 152 meters (498.6 feet). Even if you double up on two lanes, the cars will still stretch to 76 meters -twice the road space of the two buses.
What does this mean as far as road capacity? Take two lanes on EDSA's 23 kilometers, fill it up with buses -and you can theoretically move 145,440 people. Fill those same two lanes with cars instead and you will only carry 36,360 people. Barely a fourth of the bus capacity.
You will need at least 8 lanes of road, with bumper to bumper cars, to even come close to what the buses can carry!
If two lanes of cars can only carry a fourth of one lane of buses, the cars will have to move at 4 times the speed of the buses to transport as many people. And that's under perfect (read: unreal) conditions -where the cars drive almost bumper to bumper and traffic flows smoothly.
Which is why the logic of counting the number of vehicles that move on a road (traffic flow), instead of counting the number of people you can transport (people flow) to measure performance only leads to more congestion.
To increase carrying capacity, you will try to try to speed up traffic. You will be forced to widen the road (and eat up sidewalks) to add more lanes and increase throughput. You will think of building flyovers and underpasses and overhead highways to keep traffic flowing.
Then there's the emissions equation. Eight lanes of EDSA will carry 36,360 cars. Two lanes of EDSA will carry 2,424 buses. Even if you assume that each bus generates 10 times more GHGs than each car, two lanes of buses will still generate 30% less GHGs than 8 lanes of cars. (And it's way easier to equip buses with CNG engines, which can theoretically produce just 7% of the emissions that the 8 lanes of cars will produce.)
The logic is clear. You want to move people more efficiently? Move more buses.*
You want to clean up the air and take care of our environment? (Not to mention, contribute to GHG reduction)? Reduce car use, increase bus use.
What about bad driving?
This all looks good on paper, you say. But with the way metro manila's bus drivers drive, we can throw all those efficiency gains out the window.
If you've kept up with this blog long enough, you'll know that I'm convinced we won't solve bad (PUV) driver behavior with increased traffic enforcement, we have to change the economic model of our public transportation system.
p.s. -taking the train to Ottawa later today - will use the time (and the onboard wifi) to answer all the great comments I've been neglecting.
* Don't we have the OBR, you ask. Isn't that a bus priority lane? I though it would be a precursor to a BRT system, but it sadly, the OBR seems to be more about driver discipline rather than transit efficiency. It's a traffic management solution, not a public transportation solution.
(So what if you used FXs instead of cars? You can assume 10 passengers, including the driver, and assume the chassis length. Two lanes of FXs will only carry 60% vs. two lanes of buses. And, of course, you'll still be generating more GHGs with the FXs than the buses.)