by Dr. Segundo Romero
Over the past few months, the Ateneo School of Government has worked with several partner institutions to promote New Mobility — a new way of looking at the transport needs of Metro Manilans where we think of moving people instead of moving vehicles, of meeting the needs of all, instead of concentrating on the needs of those who have private vehicles, of meeting the special needs and circumstances of those who are poor, vulnerable, and disabled.
The individuals and organizations that have participated in the various New Mobility Forums in various locations, undertaking different types of activities. These activities have ranged from mapping informal hubs and connections, sharing research and ideas on how to improve mobility in Metro Manila, to training local government officers on climate change impacts New Mobility Community.
The idea of all this activity is to awaken Metro Manilans to the challenge and opportunity to change the way we frame mobility difficulties in the city from essentially traffic problems to essentially transport modality and connectivity problems. Building more highways and skyways will only encourage more private vehicles to which the typical Metro Manilan thinks he is entitled to and will be able to possess, if not now then in the near future. This orientation of unbridled car ownership as far as the purchasing ability will allow, is not sustainable and warps public policy and resources away from public transport and non-motorized transport.
Metro Manilans must now develop new ways of convincing public officials, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and the public at large to shift to more sustainable and equitable transport modes, NOW, as postponing the real solution to the problem only diminishes the viable options available to us. Once the transport system gets increasingly criss-crossed with skyways, there is less freedom to provide for public transport and non-motorized transport modes that can provide mobility to all Metro Manilans.
What can New Mobility advocates do? New Mobility advocates must identify specific, actionable ways in which the Metro Manila transport system can be transformed to be safe and healthy, equitable and efficacious for all. These specific, actionable ideas should be beamed to neighborhoods and communities that can immediately resolve these transport problems and issues. They should also be beamed to local and national authorities who can provide policy support and coordination. They should also reach private sector companies who can provide counterpart resources and act within their own premises. These ideas should also be shared with non-government organizations who can link the New Mobility advocacy with their own advocacies, in the process strengthening all these advocacies towards a better society.
The tools for encoding all the transport issues and problems that need to be resolved to trigger the insights and ideas for resolving them are internet-based tools that are available to all — issue raisers and responders alike, anytime of the day. This tool must be sufficiently robust to enable issue raisers to describe their issues, point to the exact location of these issues on a map, and identify the appropriate community, organization, or authority that should respond to the issue. It should be robust enough to enable responders to acknowledge these issues, and state what actions they have done to resolve these issues. For both issue raisers and responders, it should be possible to agree that the issue has been satisfactorily been resolved and therefore marked as closed (an accomplishment!). The system must be robust enough to accommodate not only tens of issues, but thousands that ordinary Metro Manilans may identify, organized into prioritized checklists for action by responders.
The system should also be robust enough to provide a New Mobility Scorecard, where the responders are evaluated in terms of their responsiveness to these issues. Such as system will initiate a systematic process of ensuring that there are specific significant actions taken to incrementally but surely transform the Metro Manila transport system into a New Mobility system designed for all Metro Manilans. Such a system will enable the Metro Manilans and the media to track progress and encourage and prod the authorities as needed.
The ultimate power of this system, however, lies in enabling ordinary citizens in their own neighborhoods and communities to organize and take action themselves to solve some of these problems, such as — illegally parked vehicles, vehicles on sidewalks, open manholes, sewage spilling onto streets, unwalkable sidewalks, broken streetlights, ill-placed transport terminals, live electric wires dangling onto streets, flooded streets, unfinished diggings, poorly constructed intersections, broken traffic lights, unmanned intersections, location of kotong cops and traffic aides, and others. This system is not meant to overwhelm the authorities, but to enable local communities, neighborhoods, and civil society and private sector organizations to take action, made possible by very specific actionable issues that are generated by the public.
A tool that meets these specifications is a website — www.SeeClickFix.com. This is a global facility (originating from the United States) that allows citizens from any country to report neighborhood issues and see them through to being fixed by appropriate responders (communities or authorities). See Box for how the SeeClickFix creators describe how their facility works.
What should we do? How does each one work with SeeClickFix?
- Go to www.seeclickfix.com.
- Click on “Sign Up”
- Fill in info for Display Name (your full name); Email; and Password (new password for this site, Confirm);agree to terms, and click “Sign up”.
- Go to your email, find confirmation link from SeeClickFix, and confirm email.
- Alternatively, you can login using your Facebook credentials by clicking Login and then clicking on the Facebook connect button at the bottom.
- Log into www.SeeClickFix.com
- Click on “Watch Areas”‘
- Select Metro Manila Inclusive Mobility Now Network among watch areas listed.
- Click “Report an issue.”
- Follow the instructions: Drag the orange marker to the location of your issue.Your canzoom in deeper into a location by using the slider to the left. The Street Address is automatically written in the street address. Press “Next” for the next page. Give your issue a Title that is descriptive and short such as “Illegal Parking on Ramos St.” Put as accurate and objective a description of the issue and why it needs to be resolved by whom on the description window. If you have a photo of the issue on your computer, upload the image. Finish by pressing “Report your Issue.”
- Check to see if your issue is properly reported in seeclickfix. That’s all there is to it!
What’s next? When we have over a hundred or so issues encoded in seeclickfix, the NewMoNow Coalition (that’s you included!) will have a meeting at Ateneo School of Government to check and discuss the results and how we can bring the issues systematically before the authorities and communities concerned.
Meantime, reflect on your experience as a transport user in Metro Manila and enroll in SeeClickFix as many valid issues as you can remember. Tell your friends about SeeClickFix and let them join in on the enterprise to bring New Mobility to Metro Manila a citizen report at a time!
Visit the Metro Manila Inclusive Mobility Now Network page