(First of two parts)

First, we should find out why we have this huge traffic problem in Metro Manila nowadays if we want to know what possible solutions we can offer. What we have here is a network of problematic causes that needs a network of sound solutions. In this post, I will not focus on outdated public infrastructures and civil engineering works. Those will be my next topic–underground subway, road widening, freeway, skyway system, walkway zone, park and ride terminal, etc.


1) Population Increase

When population increases, commuters and car riders also increase. More commuters and car riders mean more vehicles on the roads that have not been significantly expanded or widened to accommodate them. You will also see many delivery trucks transporting supplies and products because the demand for them increases too.

2) High Employment

More workers, either commuting or driving their own cars to work, also cause traffic especially before the beginning (8 a.m.) and after the end (5 p.m.) of their normal working day. There can be traffic during lunch time too when workers go out to eat.

EDSA traffic 2015
The excessive number of vehicles is one of the main reasons behind the traffic congestion in Metro Manila (Credits: Nino Jesus Orbeta / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

3) Discretionary Income

When discretionary income–the amount that is left after bills, personal necessities, and taxes are paid and can be used to buy a car, for example–is high, many can afford to buy cars. More cars on the streets mean more traffic. Also, the higher the discretionary income a household has, the more vehicles a family can buy.

4) Flashy Lifestyle

Owning a car in the Philippines is a status symbol. Driving them around is to show that they have one. That is especially the case among those who own expensive cars. Some car owners are too lazy to walk. They drive even short distances, perhaps to show off.

5) Provincial Commuters

Living in cities is becoming expensive. There are people whose jobs are in cities, but they live in provinces and bear long commutes. What we have for provincial transportation are usually buses. Buses occupy more road space and worsen the traffic congestion.

(UP NEXT: What steps can be undertaken to mitigate this lingering problem?)





  1. Population increase and high employment are signs of progress. The government must consider constructing subways. Learn from London and New York which operates the best subway system in the world. Mass transportation vehicles will solve Metro Manila’s traffic problem.

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