With the worsening traffic situation in the metro, various sectors banded together to address the problem and came up with solutions to declog metro roads. At the same time, the solutions are geared to make the cityscape greener, and more livable and conducive to healthy living.

Launched this Sunday, February 7, 2016, the multi-agency campaign called  Bayanihan sa Daan (Road Sharing) Movement encourages commuters to reduce their dependence on cars and opt for healthier alternatives like walking, biking and the use of an efficient, eco-friendly mass transportation system.

On the latter, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) formally introduced to commuters its Hybrid Electric Road Train (HERT), a Filipino-developed mass transport system ideal for Metro Manila and other key cities in the country.

The Bayanihan sa Daan Movement launched the campaign together with the DOST and other government agencies like MMDA, DILG, DOTC and DPWH, among others. During the event, the Road Train traversed the 5.5 kilometer stretch of Roxas Boulevard, from the SM Mall of Asia Complex (Sunrise Drive) in Pasay City as the starting point up to the Luneta Grandstand in Manila.

The hybrid road train, developed by Filipino engineers from DOST-Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), is a 40-meter long system of five interlinked and air conditioned coaches. The front coach contains the pilot chamber while last coach holds the fuel and power generation system composed of 260 ordinary motor vehicle batteries. The three remaining coaches can accommodate as much as 60 passengers each for a total of 240 per trip or an estimate of 650,000 passengers in a day. 

The train can run at a top speed of 50kph on a dedicated lane in the existing major thoroughfare in Metro Manila. To be fully utilized, existing road infrastructures need to be modified to provide designated stops or platforms that will complement the specifications for the train’s unique features.

The road train weighs about 10 metric tons in full capacity and uses ordinary rubber tires instead of steel rails, thus making it more economical. It is also equipped with dual braking system for efficient braking.

“The Hybrid Electric Road Train designed and developed by the DOST through MIRDC is environment friendly because it can run on electric power batteries instead of solely diesel fuel, therefore creating lesser carbon emission compared with vehicles that run purely on gasoline,” DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said.

Moreover, Montejo stressed that this innovation will provide private investors an opportunity to engage in a more efficient and viable enterprise because it is cost-effective. Most of its parts are locally sourced, particularly the coaches which are fabricated here in the Philippines.

“The Hybrid Electric Road Train is in fact a very practical mass transport solution that can augment existing systems because it can move a big number of passengers in any given time just like the LRT and MRT,” Montejo further stressed.

The road train project is part of the three-component project of DOST’s Advanced Transport Program under the Makina at Teknolohiya Para Sa Bayan Program or MakiBayan.

The road train is an ideal mode of transport for the Bayanihan sa Daan’s advocacy for a more efficient and environment-friendly mass transport  system in big cities across the country. Bayanihan sa Daan pushes for equal sharing of the road to non-motorized means of transportation like bicycles and those who simply chose to walk.

The road train has already been adopted by the Clark Development Corporation, with some modifications, to serve the employees of its 1,000 business locators covering 4,400 hectares of industrial land.

Showcasing the road train in Clark enabled DOST to validate the innovations it introduced to make the technology more responsive to the needs of the transport sector, Montejo said. The innovations depend on the characteristics of each location like that of Clark and other cities like Cebu or Davao, he added.

Dr. Rio S. Pagtalunan, chief of the analysis and testing division of DOST-MIRDC, said that the DOST developed the road train because the train is still the most efficient public mass transportation system in the world.

Dr. Pagtalunan further assured the public that DOST is conducting regular tests and performing trial runs to ensure that the road train’s road worthiness meets standards prior to its complete rollout.

The road train made its own history as it completed three demo trips from SM Mall of Asia grounds to Luneta and back and ferried commuters with simulated stops in front of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Rizal Park, two historical landmarks in the country.

The Bayanihan sa Daan campaign was attended by hundreds of advocates and supporters of healthy cities through environment friendly modes of transportation like biker groups, weekend walkers, and joggers who showed their enthusiasm for the road train as they plied Roxas Boulevard side by side.

Also present during the occasion were DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, MMDA Chair Atty. Emerson Carlos, MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez, Presidential Adviser for Environment Protection Dr. Neric Acosta, Bayanihan sa Daan consultant Atty. Antonio Oposa Jr., DOST Assistant Secretaries Raymund E. Liboro and Roberto O. Dizon and Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Medical Association.  

DOST Hybrid Electric Road Train. The eco-friendly Hybrid Electric Road Train, developed by the Department of Science and Technology -Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) as an alternative mass transport system, is envisioned to help ease traffic congestion in metropolitan cities and ferry more commuters at any given time. The road train is composed of five  interlinked airconditioned coaches that run on both diesel fuel and electricity powered by a generator with 260 batteries. The road train went on a demo ride along Roxas Boulevard alongside cyclists and joggers, showcasing the concept of road sharing as advocated by the Bayanihan sa Daan Movement on February 7, 2016.