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Sunday, June 30, 2013

DOTC to Make Commuting in Metro Manila More Convenient


Wazzup Pilipinas!

An exhaustive, two (2)-year effort to gather and organize previously-unavailable data on buses, jeepneys, and trains in Metro Manila has been completed by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), now making it possible for commuters to plan their trips more efficiently and conveniently.

The initiative of building the Philippine Transit Information Service (PTIS) began in 2011, at a time when the Transport agency could not immediately provide certain essential information to commuters, such as the best route to take at a particular time, as well as the travel times involved.

“The need to gather reliable data at that time in order to deliver convenient and efficient services to the public was immediately recognized and pursued,” explained DOTC spokesperson Migs Sagcal.

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, the DOTC gathered data on more than nine hundred (900) bus, train, and jeepney routes. It also collected useful information such as the fares and amounts of time required to take these various modes of transport.

Following this, the data was organized and analyzed by the DOTC along with other concerned offices such as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Land Transportation Franchising & Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), and the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC).

As a result, it will now be possible to find out what a commuter’s options are to get from one point to another in Metro Manila, what types of transportation and how many transfers will be involved, and how much money and time each option will require.

“Our next step is to make the PTIS accessible to the public. The intention has always been to use modern technology in empowering people to make well-informed decisions on their commute,” added Sagcal.

The two (2)-year data gathering and analysis effort was made possible by a grant from the World Bank, which also funded a similar project of the Cebu City Government to make its traffic management efforts more advanced.

The DOTC, MMDA, and the Cebu City Government will be hosting a three month-long competition called the Philippine Transit App Challenge along with other government agencies beginning this month, where individuals and groups mainly from the Information Technology (IT) industry will compete to develop applications using the PTIS database, which the public may then use to choose their best routes at any given time.
Participants will be invited to develop applications based on two new kinds of publically available data - regularly updated geographic location and service information for all bus, jeepney, and rail routes in Metro Manila, as well as live traffic incident data streams in Manila and Cebu. currently being tested under a pilot scheme.

The competition will be held on July 2 at the University of the Philippines Asia Learning Center Toyota Auditorium from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm and is open to everyone and all platforms.

The launch will be followed by a 3-month development period, where participants can work with volunteer mentors to build their entries. The finalist will be selected through a combination of online voting and the decisions of a judging panel, and a formal awards ceremony where finalists can pitch their entries, will be held in October.

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