Metro Manila is Asia’s most congested city, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which revealed research findings yesterday.
ADB’s 2019 urban outlook update has put Manila on the top of the congestion list of 278 “natural cities” (cities that have a population of more than 5 million people), with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia taking second place. Yangon, Myanmar rounds out the top three.
The graph below represents the cities with the highest congestion rates, with the red line showing the average congestion rate throughout the region, and the blue bar showing each city’s actual congestion rate.
In the 199 cities where public transport information was available, 25% of the trips made could not be completed using public transport. Additionally, the report added that the cost of commuting for an average urban resident in developing Asia is high.
According to ADB numbers, congestion in the Philippine capital is twice that of the average rate.
Abdul Abiad, director of ADB’s Macroeconomic Research Division told television show Business Nightly yesterday:
“For Manila, this particular measure is about 50% higher than your average [congestion]. Two particular findings are that a substantial portion of trips, you can’t even take public transport. And second, if you compare transit travel times using public transport versus via [private] cars, they are typically three times as long.”
Study findings also highlighted the need for a more efficient public transportation, sound urban planning, and affordable housing in order to ease congestion problems in urban areas, which would in turn, increase job prospects for residents and overall economic growth.
The Philippines government has previously addressed the issue, and launched several (albeit failed) efforts to solve EDSA and Metro Manila’s notorious traffic problems. Most recently, President Duterte ordered the national police to escort ambulances stuck in traffic, when it was reported that patients being transported in ambulances have died before reaching hospital due to road congestion.