Davao to rerun new traffic system by January end

Celso Gempesaw, Traffic Management Center chief, said preparations are ongoing for the re-run with Abratique and Associates, the project's contractor, and other agencies involved.

The P140-million project, reportedly patterned after those used in some American cities, was implemented on Dec. 19. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, however, ordered its suspension days after, amid complaints of traffic jams and prolonged travel time.

Duterte met with the contractor and instructed them to work closely with TMC.

"This time it will be more coordinated, " Gempesaw said.

He said they will do away with turning the system in all intersections at the same time, which is believed to have caused the problem.

"We will not do the same this time," he said.

Speaking Sunday at the city government's television program "Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa" (From the masses, for the masses), Gempesaw said they will turn on in three to four intersections at a time. "This is to fine-tune the system if there is a problem," he said.

He said most of the traffic lights will be used already by February.

In December, Gempesaw told reporters the traffic lights were programmed with the same timing. He said it should not have been the case because each intersection is different.

He said the contractor has conducted vehicle counts in specific intersections as an input to the fine-tuning exercise.

Gempesaw did not specify the rerun's date but said it would be on a Thursday. He said there is less traffic volume on Thursdays based on inputs from motorists and mall sales volume.

Motorists have complained the system has failed to ease traffic in the city.

Conrad, 44, a jeepney driver plying a route where the project was implemented in December, said authorities should try it again.

"But they should make sure it works this time. We have to give them a chance to show the money spent is not wasted," he said.

Duterte earlier said he would rather go back to the old manual system if the new one is not fixed.

Gempesaw appealed Sunday for public understanding and cooperation in the re-run. He assured that personnel will be available to inform the public more about the new scheme.