CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government finally unveiled its new Intelligent Traffic Light System, which was allotted P250 million from the city’s coffers. The new traffic lights upgraded the previous traffic system that has run unchanged for 30 years.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella led the late afternoon ceremony on Friday, March 26, 2021, which was the ceremonial blessing of the traffic lights at P. Del Rosario Street in Cebu City.
Labella said it was high time for the city to have its traffic lights upgraded after three decades of using the analog to guide the stoplights.
In the new traffic system, everything is digitized, with motorists and pedestrians seeing the amount of time needed at stops and gos, and an easier and faster way of customizing the lights from the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) command center.
“(It has been) Three decades since it was changed. This is the first time that we have included a digital system, and I think there will be an additional artificial intelligence system that will track all activities on the streets,” said Labella.
The mayor said that when artificial intelligence would be installed, the city could now analyze the traffic behavior in most streets and draft the best plan to address issues.
The city plans to put in a total of P500 million for the traffic system upgrades although the council has decided to allot P250 million at a time.
The mayor said he hoped that a better traffic system would help reduce the incidents of traffic jams due to broken traffic lights and prevent accidents caused by dysfunctional pedestrian signs.
However, many netizens criticized the event after traffic jams were experienced during the rerouting of traffic during the ceremony.
Netizens posted online saying there was no necessity to hold such fanfare for the traffic lights because this only caused additional traffic jams.
“Gadala-dala ni silag traffic. Kinahanglan gyod diay magseremonya kung naay bag ong traffic lights?” said a netizen who said she was inconvenienced by the event.
(The activity only caused traffic. Was it necessary to hold a ceremony to launch new traffic lights?)
Lawyer Amando Virgil Ligutan; legal counsel of the opposition party, Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK); said the event was ironically causing traffic jams in the city instead of solving it.
“It’s ironic that in announcing the installation of the traffic lights, the city government had to block major thoroughfares on rush hour, and caused massive traffic in the area. You don’t announce the installation of traffic lights by causing more traffic. You could have done that elsewhere. Or you need not announce it at all like our neighboring cities who have more advanced traffic lights system,” said Ligutan.
The hour-long activity caused a temporary closure of the P. Del Rosario Street, but the road was immediately opened after.