Sunday, August 7, 2011

Metro Manila Traffic Navigator launches - with more to come

Last August 1, 2011, the Metro Manila Traffic Navigator (a web-based, real-time traffic situationer) was formally introduced to the riding public by executives from both the MMDA and TV5 present, as well as media and bloggers. When I last blogged about the Metro Manila Traffic Navigator last June 29, the first day its beta version was opened to the public, I was delighted to find the page so easy to read, clean and as real-time as you can get (with updates every 5 to 15 minutes).

The Traffic Navigator was a personal savior for me. While MMDA was already doing a good job of announcing traffic situations in the Metro via their Twitter account, it was still difficult to filter the timeline. For example, in the case of Tropical Storm Falcon, I was attending a despedida for a friend and it was raining cats and dogs outside. I went online before going home and checked MMDA's Twitter timeline to see if the route I was taking was going to be flooded. I did find out but not after some amount of scrolling through the timeline searching for the tweet specific to what I needed.

With the Traffic Navigator, you get a visual image of the initial 6 lines that are up (EDSA, Quezon Avenue, Espana, C5, Roxas Blvd and SLEX), the various points along each line and the traffic situation in any of 3 colors - red, yellow and green. Just on the homepage alone, it's easy to check the red (heavy traffic) points and make plans for an alternate route. The Traffic Navigator has a system view, line view, and a Google Map view so you get the situation from a macro or micro level.

At the formal launch, MMDA Chairman, Atty. Francis Tolentino; TV5's Chief of News and Information Division, Ms. Luchi Valdes;  and TV5's editor-in-chief, Mr. Roby Alampay, talked about how the idea of Traffic Navigator was born and what they hoped it would achieve in terms of upping public service levels. MMDA's Yves Gonzalez also explained how the app was being updated to reflect real-time traffic situations. Since it began operations, about 6,000 drivers and commuters have already consulted the Traffic Navigator.

The Traffic Navigator is so versatile that it will run on, and is optimized for, any PC-based or mobile browser. It has been tested to run smoothly on Wintel computers, Macs, Linux machines, iPhones, iPod Touches, iPads, Android phones, Windows Mobile, Opera, and any web browser currently installed on mobile gadgets.

Watch this short video to get a bird's-eye view of Traffic Navigator:

Here's more good news. While version 1.0 currently has 96 points and 6 lines, version 1.1 will have 140 points and 9 lines (plus an extended C5 line). Here are the additions:

* The C5 Line #4 which currently stops with Libis Flyover will be extended to include the following points: Bonny Serrano, P. Tuazon, Aurora Boulevard, Xavierville, Ateneo de Manila University, Miriam College, C.P. Garcia, UP, Capitol Hills and Tandang Sora.

* An Ortigas line will be added to include (from point to point): C5 Flyover, Greenmeadows Ave., Lanuza Ave., Medical City, Meralco Ave., San Miguel Ave., EDSA Shrine, POEA, La Salle Greenhills, Connecticut, Wilson, Club Filipino, Roosevelt, Madison, and Santolan.

* A Commonwealth line will be added to include (from point to point): Batasan, St. Peter's Church, Ever Gotesco, Diliman Preparatory School, Zuzuaregi, Gen. Malvar Hospital, Tandang Sora Eastside, Tandang Sora Westside, Central AVe., Magsaysay Ave., University Ave., and PhilCOA.

* A Marcos Highway line will be added to include (from point to point): San Benildo School, Robinson's Metro East, F. Mariano Ave., Amang Rodriguez, Dona Juana, LRT-2 Station and SM City Marikina.

Carlo Ople then announced another new thing coming soon: Traffic Navigator will soon become a native app for the iPad and iPhone. This means you can fire it up directly without having to open up a browser. Analysis shows that about 14% of those who use Traffic Navigator do so via a mobile device. It makes sense then to make a native app.

The app will contain TV5 news, TV5 tweets and Traffic Navigator. Social media features are included, allowing you to share the traffic situation on Twitter and Facebook for friends who may not have the same access.

First view upon firing iPad app are top stories from TV5 as well as its tweets.
Each row can scroll left-right to reveal even more news.

How the Traffic Navigator renders on an iPad

How the app renders on an iPhone

Of course, while the team behind Traffic Navigator tries their best to keep the data accurate, there will be instances when information may be inaccurate. MMDA calls on us to help them keep the information accurate by tweeting them at @MMDANavigator or texting them at 0933-7401258.

Metro Manila Traffic Navigator


Mom-Friday said...

this is so cool! what an innovation!
Too bad I missed the launch event :( Thanks for sharing the highlights, will share this!

Jane said...

Thanks, Mom-Friday! Missed you at the launch but hope to see you soon.