The vehicular traffic situation in Davao City has significantly improved, being listed 5th on a recent list of Southeast Asian cities with the best managed traffic flow, from a rank of 27th in the same survey held three years ago. This improvement is attributed to the continuing education of drivers and the strict implementation of traffic laws. If moving to the city is in your immediate plans, here is information you can use as you decide.
There are, at least, 35,000 vehicles plying the routes of Davao City, plus 20% of the total number of vehicles coming from the rest of Region 11. Private automobiles that you will mostly see are sedans, pick-ups, vans, motorcycles and buses used for private purposes such as carpooling or servicing tourists. Public vehicles, however, comprise most of the city’s traffic, including jeeps,motorcycle taxis, taxicabs and tricycles in smaller roads. Public buses are also seen in the city’s streets, albeit sparingly, as they only ply out-of-town routes.Davao City Traffic Management Center
Davao’s Traffic Management Center is directly under the Office of the City Mayor and run based on 5 pillars of traffic management, namely, Enforcement for ensuring public safety and convenience, Engineering for installation of effective street signages, Education for public education, Economic Gain through an obstruction-free traffic scheme, and Environment for reducing traffic-related carbon emissions. TMC’s overall efforts aim to make the city compliant with the 1968 Vienna Convention on road safety and the development of a traffic-conscious public.
Davao’s Computerized Traffic System with CCTV
The city has a total of 82 routes which are managed with a computerized traffic system, making Davao the only place in the Philippines with a traffic light installed at nearly each intersection. It is said that the presence of too many traffic lights tends to make vehicles move slower. However, there is no question about the fact that the system performs when it comes to organizing traffic flow. The city’s roads are also managed with a CCTV system that has proven its usefulness in terms of resolving cases involving vehicular accidents, traffic violations and even the movement of criminals.
Traffic Patterns In Davao
The volume of traffic in Davao is generally dependent on certain factors such as the day, the time of day and miscellaneous issues, including ongoing road widening projects, rerouting experiments, etc. On weekends and holidays, traffic is usually free-flowing, but on a regular weekday, the situation can get tight during the hours of 7-10 in the morning, and 4-8 in the afternoon towards the evening. This pattern includes the larger roads such as Quimpo Boulevard, JP Laurel Avenue and Buhangin. However, for long-time Davao drivers, there are many shortcuts that could be taken.
Culture Shock When Driving In Davao
If you are used to driving in a Western city, you may experience culture shock as you drive in Davao. While the traffic situation has generally improved, there remain a few nasty habits by some drivers and pedestrians, such as people crossing streets indiscriminately and public utility vehicles stopping in the middle of the road to pick up passengers. Also, while the anti-smoke belching law is being strictly implemented, some drivers still find a way to bring their unfit vehicles to the road, although it will not be long before they are caught and penalized by the TMC.
Perfect is not a word to describe traffic in Davao, but it is generally manageable to get around the city, whether you are driving your own vehicle or taking public transportation. It also pays to be a responsible driver, commuter or pedestrian in making the city’s traffic situation more convenient for everyone.
Cheryl Ann is a contributing writer at living like a local in the Philippines. She is a local resident of Davao City and love to write about how to enjoy your visit to Davao. She also intends to let readers learn more about living like a local in that beautiful Southern city for those planning to move to the Philippines, specially in Davao.