Cebu City hit by horrendous traffic jam caused by malfunctioning SCATS

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio August 13,2019 - 08:52 PM

Traffic jams are now a daily occurrence in Cebu City, particularly during morning and afternoon peak hours. It worsened on Tuesday, Aug. 13 2019, when 14 traffic lights in key intersections malfunctioned. |CDN Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines —  Major streets in Cebu went through over seven hours of traffic jam from early morning to early afternoon today, August 13, 2019,  after traffic lights in 14 street junctions in Cebu City broke down shortly after 7 a.m.

With the horrendous traffic congestion caused by malfunctioning traffic lights,  the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) said it is now time for the city government to seriously consider a  system upgrade of its 30-year-old Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS).

Ronei Nadera, the spokesperson of CCTO, told CDN Digital that in the past three years, the Scats would have at least one major breakdown, similar to the malfunctioning of 14 sets of traffic lights on Tuesday.

The digital board, which serves as both database and main control of the traffic system of the city, occasionally breaks down because of worn-out parts and an outdated system, he said.

Many chiefs of CCTO have repeatedly asked the city government for upgrades on the traffic light controls and a better digital system.

However, these requests gathered dust in the mayor’s office as the Scats remained to be the primary and only traffic system of Cebu City since the 1990s.

“That is always the priority of every head of CCTO, to upgrade the system,” said Nadera.

Nadera said that CCTO chief Ricardo Barandog plans to send a letter to Mayor Edgardo Labella to request for upgrades of the SCATS.


The malfunctioning traffic lights were repaired at 2 p.m., seven hours after the discrepancy was noticed at 7 a.m., when the traffic lights of fourteen junctions stopped being synchronized.

Nadera said that the traffic lights in the city are synchronized by street and intersection to make sure the volume of cars are not concentrated in any junction.

The malfunctioning of the traffic lights caused heavy traffic at the junctions of Gorordo and Escario; M.J. Cuenco and J. Luna; V. Rama and B. Rodriguez; Legaspi and V. Gullas; M.J. Cuenco and T. Padilla; P. Lopez and Borromeo; Katipunan and Salvador; Colon and Mabini; Osmeña Boulevard and R. Landon; Gorordo and Cardinal Rosales; Archbishop Reyes and Gorordo; and Osmeña Boulevard and Jakosalem.

Traffic enforcers were deployed to man the streets in these fourteen junctions.

The results of the malfunction can be felt even hours later, as CCTO reported heavy traffic  in these streets at 5 p.m., the reason for which was the massive volume of cars that have accumulated for hours.

Nadera said that although the systems are already up and running, the traffic congestion is expected to last until the end of the peak hours at around 10 p.m. today.

He urged the public to report to the CCTO any kind of traffic light problem they notice so a traffic enforcer or a barangay tanod (village watcmen) can immediately be deployed in the area to man the traffic. /elb


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