MMDA proposes making EDSA lanes smaller to improve safety

Will this work?
by Drei Laurel | Dec 27, 2018

It isn’t even 2019 yet, but it looks like the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is already hard at work planning for the upcoming year. Its latest pitch to improve road safety? Making lanes smaller.

According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, the traffic agency is proposing that lanes on EDSA be shrunk down to just 2.8 meters in width from the current 3.4 meters. The proposal has already made its way to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“It is our proposal submitted to DPWH,” she says. “We patterned it to the study of World Resources Institute (WRI) stating that roads with max speed of 60kph should have 2.8 meters width per lane/per direction while highways with max speed of 80kph can have 3.4 meters width per lane.”

Data from the 2016 WRI study shows that cities that use lanes 2.8 to 3.25 meters in width have fewer recorded crash fatalities per 100,000 residents (just 1.3 to 3.2) compared to cities with wider lanes. This includes Amsterdam, Tokyo, Paris, Toronto, Berlin, and Copenhagen.

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In contrast, places like New Delhi, Mumbai, New York, and Sao Paulo—which use lanes 3.25 to 3.6 meters wide—have higher crash fatality rates of 6.11 to 11.8 per 100,000 residents. Again, EDSA’s lanes are currently 3.4 meters in width.

“For decades, transport engineers and planners have considered wider lanes safer, as they provided higher maneuvering space within the lane and were said to help prevent sideswipes among cars,” the WRI study says. “Yet, in an urban setting, this means cars may go faster, and, when cars go faster, the likelihood of crashes and injuries increases.”

Can this measure be successfully applied in a Philippine setting? What do you think?

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