The Philippines recently signed a deal with the United States government for a technical assistance grant worth roughly $700,000 aimed at implementing an intelligent transportation system. This assistance is set to take place until December 2022. An intelligent transport system consists of a series of digital applications which are intended to improve transport services. These systems are essential for a city’s evolution into a ‘smart city’, in other words one supported by holistically-integrated digital mechanisms with the goal of optimising daily life. Efficient mobility is at the crux of a city remaining liveable and competitive. Intelligent transportation systems harness automatised data collection and precise location information to save city inhabitants’ time and improve their journey experience. System users gain insight into data points including traffic flow, real-time running information and seat availability. Thus transport networks are used in a smarter way. Glasgow is an example of a city which has implemented this type of system with success: daily commuters on public buses are furnished with regular information regarding timings, seat availability, location of buses and density of bus passengers.
These systems not only improve user experience but also are environmentally friendly, since vehicle energy consumption can be reduced. This is particularly beneficial to Metro Cebu, where rapid growth has led to an accelerating urban sprawl. According to an OECD study, the absence of an integrated, high-capacity transport system has led to increasingly high levels of private vehicle ownership. This creates both further congestion and urban pollution. Hence efficient, clean transport options will be extremely valuable.
This grant will be principally aimed at the Cebu transportation department’s Cebu Bus Rapid Transport project, which is already enjoying financial support from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the World Bank (WB). This project is one of many that are part of
President Rodrigo Duterte's ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. It is clear that Metro Cebu’s digital transformation is advancing at a strong pace.