Solving Manila’s Transport Congestion – A Rail Subway Solution | transportation

IntroductionManila is one of Asia’s great metropolises. It is a city of some sixteen million people that has some very serious transportation challenges. In the past, extensive transportation studies by experienced planners have concluded that Metro Manila required a mass transit system to resolve its congestion. As of 2008, three Elevated Rail Transport Systems (ERTS) have been constructed, but these systems are not truly integrated, and do not serve the primary business district of Makati, nor its satellite business and residential district of Fort Bonifacio. What is needed is an integrated system that will allow easy passenger movement between the Philippine National Railway (PNR) services and with at least two of the ERT systems, whilst providing a mass transport system for Makati, Fort Bonifacio and adjacent commercial and residential areas. In short, the Rail Subway system that is being proposed will create good transport connectivity for Metro Manila.Other possible solutions that include an extension of the massive elevated structures that characterise the present ERTs or an extension of the high cost and polluting expressway systems are too expensive. What is needed is an innovative and unique subway mass transit system.The ProposalSubway systems are not new. London, New York and Paris have long existing, efficient systems. Bangkok has a new subway system that is interconnected to that city’s ERT system, and to the Thai National Railways. For Manila, the proposed interconnected transport system will in some aspects mimic that which has been created in Bangkok.The subway system will connect Makati, and its residential villages, Fort Bonifacio, Mandaluyong, Pateros, Pasig/Ortigas and San Juan, an area of some twelve square kilometres. It will provide quick access between the major business, commercial and new and established residential areas of Metro Manila, and give ready access to the combined CBD for the population of Manila, and adjoining regions (through a revamped PNR).The proposal includes the provision of pedestrian interconnectivity with ERTS 2 and 3, and to the PNR’s north/south rail system. The PNR interconnection will provide access to depot yards and maintenance facilities, and later to an electrified rail system to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga. A link can be created from the subway to the Nino Aquino International and Domestic Airport terminals.EngineeringMany recent subway systems have been constructed using high technology Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs). For Manila, the unique geology suggests that a second approach to tunnelling be used, this being the use of medium technology road-header machines with semi-integrated safe and efficient tunnel lining. (Note: The volcanic tuff that exists in the Manila basin, should be easily handled by the road-headers, and provide for safe and efficient rapidly progressing tunnel lining.)The use of road-headers with underground mine conveyors will allow for efficient tunnelling waste movement with the extraction of broken rock occurring where the underground tunnels ‘daylight’ adjacent to the Passig River bridge crossings. With respect to rolling stock, modern and skilled designers of the all-new subway alignment can take maximum economic and environmental advantage of the favourable features of advanced electric traction systems that will include regenerative breaking with low cost traction maintenance.FinancingAlthough Manila is a major Asian metropolis with a large portion of the population having good incomes, there is a percentage of the population that is ‘low income’. To make the integrated mass-transport system affordable to low income earners, the fare structure of the entire system will need to be carefully set. The pursuit of non-fare revenue streams from along the railway corridor, such as connection of stations to commercial enterprises that will include shopping precincts, will be sought for their revenue potentials. The development of commercial and new residential areas along the subway route should be taken into account in the creation of partnerships for the subway construction and thence operation.It is proposed that the project require no cash disbursements by the Government. The financing scheme will be of the Build Operate Own (BOO), Build Operate Own Transfer (BOOT), or similar.Progressing the Subway ProjectThe undertaking of a detailed feasibility study inclusive of project engineering and management, transport technology options, societal implications and financial models is required to understand if and how the Manila Subway Project can become a reality. Confirming the geology of the proposed route will be required as a major initial engineering contribution. This geological investigation will assist in determining the route, in selecting the excavation equipment and in providing an indication of the expected rate of progress of excavation.The project engineering will also consider the provision of underground sidings, connection to a surface rail depot, interconnection with the PNR, the form of ‘People Movers’ required for allowing passenger movement between the subway and the ERTS 2 and 3, and choosing a rail system with excellent environmental credentials and energy efficiency.Regarding the societal implications of the Subway Project, the feasibility study will look at the cost of the project in terms of traffic disruption during construction (to be kept to a minimal through underground tunnelling), the benefits of the project in terms of adding to Manila’s functionality, and the direct and indirect job and income opportunities created by the Subway. Financial models will be developed that will clearly show the costs and the income streams during construction and operation of the Subway, with appropriate financing schemes being developed.The feasibility study is expected to last for 26 weeks and result in a decision to undertake (or not undertake) the project. A ‘Bankable Document’ will be the deliverable if a decision is made to proceed.ConclusionIt is a great challenge to provide Metro Manila with a clean, efficient and non-polluting mass transport system. To provide riding passengers with an all-weather protected first class mass transport system at affordable fares is part of the challenge.The affordability will be ensured by creating a subway system that will require minimum purchase of real property, which will make best use of the favourable geology during construction, and will allow for the maximisation of non-fare revenues. The bringing together of sound engineering practice that takes into account the physical nature of the geology and terrain, the opportunities for transport system integration and good environmental engineering principles, whilst taking into account local social and economic factors, along with strong business and governmental support, will be required to make the Manila Rail Subway project a reality.Click here to view a diagram of the proposed route of the Manila Subway System

Travel Insurance Can Help Save the Day | Travel vacation

If you are thinking about taking a trip with the family, you can do yourself a big favor by investing in some travel insurance. This insurance is designed to help you throughout the vacation. Not only will this policy help you with the travel and accommodations during your trip, you will also enjoy the luxury of protection for your luggage and money abroad. This means that you will not have to worry if you lose your luggage, or if you are in one place and the airline has your clothes in another.The same can be said for money as well. If you lose your travelers checks you will not be left stranded without money. This is when the travel insurance will be most appreciated. You will have the peace of mind in knowing that you will not be left alone in a foreign land.Easy To PurchasePerhaps the best aspect about this type of vacation insurance is that it is very easy to purchase. There are many travel insurance brokers around these days and they are all looking to gain new business. This help that they can offer is critical if you are trying to ensure that you never have an issue when you are travelling. A trip without a hitch is something that everyone dreams about. This is because it is so easy for something to go wrong. Taking your family with you outside the country is something that you want to have protection for.Most times you can find this type of insurance at a common insurance company. A company that you would buy into home or life insurance would be the best place to start when looking for travel insurance.Extended PoliciesThere are many different types of travel insurance available today. You can have a policy that not only deals with the trip you are about to take, it can deal with an entire year. This means you will have the coverage that you need if you are a frequent traveler. This could be very useful if you do a lot of travelling with a company or even if you love to explore new places. This travel insurance is available for you to have continued coverage for all of your trips planned or not.Most of the large insurance companies today have divisions that deal specifically with travel insurance. This allows them to spend the time with your policy that you deserve.Covers Illness And Medical Needs As WellPerhaps the brightest spot on the travel insurance policy is that it can also help you when you are ill or even injured abroad. This can be one the most difficult things to deal with as each and every country has its own policy on dealing with outsiders. When you have a global travel insurance policy, you will not have to worry about being refused medical treatment. This is because the insurance policy is going to cover the costs of the care you need.