ONCE upon a time, Cebu City boasted of state-of- the-art traffic lights.
That 30-year-old Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (Scats), wherein road sensors that detected the volume of vehicles at intersections managed traffic flow, now needs an upgrade.
At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, the traffic lights at 14 major intersections in Cebu City suddenly shut down, stalling vehicles at rush hour and worsening traffic that had already been confronting motorists.
Part of the digital board that synchronizes traffic lights bogged down, Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) spokesperson Ronie Nadera said.
It took time to fix it. The traffic lights were back on at 2 p.m.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said the traffic system in Cebu City needs to be modernized.
“We will have to modernize our traffic equipment as soon as possible.... The City needs to work with the neighboring cities because it’s saddening to know that the other local government units adjacent to us have already upgraded their traffic system,” Labella said in a phone interview with SunStar Cebu.
The adjacent cities of Mandaue and Talisay are already using fixed-time signals that produce routine gaps in traffic. The lights are timed.
Labella said that as soon as possible, Cebu City will adopt the traffic light system being adopted by Mandaue and Talisay cities.
The areas affected by the sudden traffic lights shudtdown were the busy intersections of Gorordo-Escario, M.J Cuenco-J. Luna, V. Rama-B. Rodriguez, Legaspi-V.Gullas, M.J. Cuenco-T. Padilla, P. Lopez-Borromeo, J. Luna-A. Soriano, Katipunan-Salvador, Colon-Mabini, Osmeña Blvd.-R.R. Landon, Leon Kilat-Magallanes, Gorordo-Cardinal Rosales, Archbishop Reyes-Gorordo, and Osmeña Blvd.-D. Jakosalem Street.
Traffic enforcers were immediately deployed to these intersections, Nadera said.
Talisay City and Mandaue City had spent P14 million and P39.9 million for the modernization of their traffic lights system.
The system is equipped with digital timers, sensors, fiber optics to transmit images to the command center, and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
Labella said Cebu City’s traffic light system will be made part of Mega Cebu’s integrated intermodal transport system.
The City already has set a budget to modernize its traffic system. The next step is to hold a bidding on its procurement, Labella said.
Aside from the modernization of the traffic system, Labella said, the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system by the end of 2019 will also help mitigate the traffic problems in the city.
The LRT will be the backbone of the transport system, he said.
Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on transportation during the 14th Council, plans to reintroduce the non-contact apprehension of traffic violators in Cebu City.
Guardo said this technology was piloted at a portion of M.J. Cuenco Ave. in November 2018.
Guardo is expecting Leotek Electronics Corp., a subsidiary of Lite-On Technology Corp., the supplier, to give the City an assessment after a month-long dry run of its system product.
He said Leotek has not given the City feedback.
The technology installed on M.J. Cuenco Ave. was equipped with CCTV cameras with built-in computers capable of capturing and recording videos of traffic violators. (JJL)