HEAVY TRAFFIC. Baguio City hopes to ease the worsening situation in this summer capital with its Smart Mobility project, which is similar to the traffic management system in Singapore. The city government hopes to fully implement the project by the middle of next year after being delayed with the imposition of a temporary restraining order against the no-contact apprehension policy, a key component of the project. (PNA file photo)

BAGUIO CITY – Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Friday said the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the no-contact apprehension policy (NCAP) has delayed the full implementation of a program being eyed as a long-term solution to address the worsening traffic congestion in this summer capital.

"The only way to address the traffic congestion is through the Smart Mobility project. The delay in its full implementation came with the Court's issuance of a TRO against the NCAP, which is one of the five components of the smart mobility program," he said in a media interview.

Magalong made the statement when asked about the possible imposition of new traffic schemes following repeated traffic standstills along the city road network, especially during the holidays and weekends.

The city tourism office had earlier reported that Baguio receives about 100,000 to 120,000 visitors a month, or about 25,000 to 40,000 a week, with most of them arriving during weekends.

"It can be safely said that the city has breached the pre-pandemic numbers, thus the traffic congestion,” Magalong admitted.

According to Magalong, the key components of the Smart Mobility project include artificial intelligence (AI)-managed traffic system, parking management, road users management, public transport management, and law enforcement under NCAP.

"As you can see, the NCAP plays an important role under the Smart Mobility system," he said.

He added that the program, which is similar to the traffic management system in Singapore, is ready for implementation with the help of a consultant that implemented the Singapore program, along with the city's partner company, Manila North Toll Corporation.

With the SC deciding to expedite the resolution of its TRO that stopped the implementation of the NCAP, the local chief executive expressed optimism over the possible lifting of the TRO, paving the way for the city to fully implement the Smart Mobility program.

“We hope to have the full implementation of the program by the middle of 2023,” Magalong said. (PNA)