Lessons Learned

Traffic congestion is a public policy issue and requires effective policies that can form a balance between urbanization and urban mobility. We learned a few lessons by examining the traffic congestion issue in Manila. As we identified and explored the causes of the problem, we have come up with three tips on how to manage heavy traffic better in megacities.

  1. Improving Infrastructure

There are specific areas in cities which build up traffic congestion. Thus, locating the hot spots is necessary as a first step. For example, EDSA road in Manila is one of the busiest roads that always experiences high volume of traffic, so improving the road condition and road capacity in order to manage the traffic can be a possible solution.

Photo of Manila Traffic Congestion

(Source of Photo: CreativeCommons)

2. Law Enforcement

It is important to create fair traffic price mechanism to manage an excessive vehicle demand on urban streets. For instance, mega-cities must implement vehicle tax and license plate restrictions in traffic aiming to reduce traffic flow.  Manila, for instance, adopted a Vehicular Volume Reduction Programme, which prevented car mobility on specified days and areas throughout the city. Also, strict enforcement of the law must be present in order to maximize the efficiency of such programs in place.

Photo of Rio de Janeiro Traffic Congestion

(Source of Photo: CreativeCommons)

3. Development of Business Centres

As megacities face this problem, it is necessary to expand the city spatially and develop sub-urban and even rural areas that are on the outskirts of the city in order to diffuse the population and traffic concentration. As in the case of Manila, the problem of traffic congestion is intensified because there was a clear divide between the business district and suburbs where residential areas are heavily located. If megacities scatter and plant a number of business centres throughout the city and in the outskirts, there would definitely be less traffic congestion.

Photo of Delhi Traffic Congestion 

(Source of Photo: CreativeCommons)


This video suggests how Manila is planning to create more bike friendly lanes across the city as a solution to reduce traffic congestion and number of vehicles in Metro Manila.



Al Jazeera English (2016) Carmageddon: Manila traffic worst in the world. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u2mrF6YPF8 (Accessed: 4 March 2017).

Economist, T. (2016) Traffic in the Philippines’ capital Slowly does it. Available at: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21693631-rising-car-ownership-and-appalling-transport-policies-block-roads-slowly-does-it (Accessed: 2 March 2017)

Vergel, K.B. and Tiglao, N.C.C., 2005. Assessment of integrated environmental strategies for Metro Manila. Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, 6, pp.3105-3120.

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