MMDA stoplights

Motorists have recently raised their concerns about the removal of countdown timers for certain stoplights in areas covered by the new noncontact apprehension system. Without the timers, this has caused multiple drivers to step over the yellow line or worse end up in the yellow box of an intersection thus leading to a more hefty penalty.

MMDA new traffic-sensing system

With this in mind, the Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) has begun to shift to a newer technology called the adaptive response traffic signal system. It uses a sensor to determine when it will change between Green, Yellow, and Red. If the system detects no passing vehicles within three to five seconds, it will change the lights. As the system is smart enough to detect such things it can easily adjust itself on the fly in order to increase the traffic flow. Conversely, it can also be manually overridden in special case events where human intervention is needed. 

According to the government organization, about 50 to 60 percent of all traffic lights in the National Capital Region (NCR) will be included in the system. This means that stoplights included in that percentage will already have lost their countdown timers. 

When asked, if it was possible to retain the countdown timers, the MMDA stated that it will interfere with and disrupt the operation of the new system. As per why some stoplights still have their countdown timers but aren’t functional, the government organization stated that these are still part of the budget allocated by the Commission on Audit, as such the total decommissioning of the timers will lead to an investigation and probably an audit.

While the new system itself is a good thing, it may take some time for motorists to get used to it, especially older drivers who aren't familiar with the new technology as the timers give drivers a visual representation of how much time they will have left to cross an intersection.

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