With the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila (National Capital Region or NCR), various sectors have banded together to address the problem and came up with solutions to declog roads.
At the same time, the solutions were geared to make the cityscape greener, and more livable and conducive to healthy living.
Launched on February 7, the multi-agency campaign called Bayanihan sa Daan (Road Sharing) Movement encourages commuters to reduce their dependence on cars and opt for healthier alternatives like walking, biking and the use of an efficient, eco-friendly mass transportation system.
On the latter, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) formally introduced to commuters its Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT), a Filipino-developed mass transport system ideal for Metro Manila and key cities in the country.
The Bayanihan sa Daan Movement launched the campaign together with the DOST and other government agencies, including the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Interior, Transportation and Public Works departments.
During the event, the Road Train traversed the 5.5-kilometer stretch of Roxas Boulevard, from the SM Mall of Asia Complex (Sunrise Drive) in Pasay City as the starting point up to the Quirino Grandstand in Manila’s Rizal Park (Luneta).
The hybrid road train, developed by Filipino engineers from DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), is a 40-meter long system of five inter-linked and air-conditioned coaches.
The front coach contains the pilot chamber while last coach holds the fuel and power generation system composed of 260 ordinary motor vehicle batteries.
The three remaining coaches can accommodate as many as 60 passengers each for a total of 240 per trip or an estimate of 650,000 passengers in a day.
The train can run at a top speed of 50 kilometers per hour on a dedicated lane in the existing major thoroughfare in Metro Manila.
To be fully utilized, existing road infrastructure need to be modified to provide designated stops or platforms that will complement the specifications for the train’s unique features.
The road train weighs about 10 metric tons in full capacity and uses ordinary rubber tires instead of steel rails, thus making it more economical.
It is also equipped with dual braking system for efficient braking.
“The Hybrid Electric Road Train designed and developed by the DOST through MIRDC is environment-friendly because it can run on electric power batteries instead of solely diesel fuel, therefore creating lesser carbon emission compared with vehicles that run purely on gasoline,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said.
Moreover, Montejo added, this innovation will provide private investors an opportunity to engage in a more efficient and viable enterprise because it is cost-effective.
Most of its parts are locally sourced, particularly the coaches, which are fabricated here in the Philippines.
“The Hybrid Electric Road Train is in fact a very practical mass transport solution that can augment existing systems because it can move a big number of passengers in any given time just like the LRT [Light Rail Transit] and MRT [Metro Rail Transit],” Montejo said.
The road train project is part of the three-component project of DOST’s Advanced Transport Program under the Makina at Teknolohiya Para Sa Bayan Program or MakiBayan.
It is an ideal mode of transport for the Bayanihan sa Daan’s advocacy for a more efficient and environment-friendly mass transport system in big cities across the country.
Bayanihan sa Daan pushes for equal sharing of the road to non-motorized means of transportation like bicycles and those who simply chose to walk.
The road train has already been adopted by the Clark Development Corporation, with some modifications, to serve the employees of its 1,000 business locators covering 4,400 hectares of industrial land.
Showcasing the road train in Clark enabled DOST to validate the innovations it introduced to make the technology more responsive to the needs of the transport sector, Montejo said.
The innovations depend on the characteristics of each location like that of Clark and other cities like Cebu or Davao, he added.
Dr. Rio Pagtalunan, chief of the analysis and testing division of DOST-MIRDC, said that the DOST developed the road train because the train is still the most efficient public mass transportation system in the world.
Pagtalunan assured the public that DOST is conducting regular tests and performing trial runs to ensure that the road train’s road worthiness meets standards prior to its complete rollout.
Also present during the occasion were Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, MMDA Chaiman Emerson Carlos, MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez, Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection Dr. Neric Acosta, Bayanihan sa Daan consultant Antonio Oposa Jr., DOST Assistant Secretaries Raymund Liboro and Roberto Dizon and Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Medical Association.