March 18, 2019
Two Japanese professors visited the Philippines recently to share their studies on automated driving and smart city development with Filipinos looking to study in Japan and explore new solutions to the Philippines' development challenges.
The knowledge sharing is part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) efforts to build the capacity of young Filipinos through its Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development Scholarship or JDS. JICA has been supporting human resource development in the Philippines through this grant that has attracted over 300 Filipinos to Japan's leading universities.
Professor Toru Hagiwara of Hokkaido University presented his study "Self-driving Vehicles on the Highway" specifically on level 2 automated driving that could work in the Philippines. Level 2 automation refers to a system assisting a human driver in steering, speeding up, or slowing down. The study experiment was done in Hokkaido where road conditions are harsh due to snowy or icy road surface.
"This kind of automation could apply to the Philippines because system-assisted automated driving can help reduce driver distraction, lessen traffic congestion by shorter head distance and increased expressway travel speeds, and enable people with disabilities more access to open roads," Hagiwara said.
Hagiwara said the crash protection and post-crash response system from partial automated driving are also some of the advantages.
In the Philippines, traffic congestion remains a problem with JICA's Follow Up Survey on the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Greater Capital Region (2017) pointing to the rise of transportation costs in Metro Manila to P5.4 billion a day by 2035 without intervention. The study has since suggested, other than a polycentric approach to development, the need to introduce intelligent transport systems to mitigate traffic.
The study of Hagiwara showed that automated driving is the "trend of the future" allowing human drivers to be more conscious of their behavior with lesser driver workload especially in congested areas like Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, Dr. Shunsuke Kimura of Meiji University presented his study "Smart City in Japan (New Community Renovation in Declining Population)" that tackled how Japan is developing so-called smart or compact cities where facilities are concentrated to address needs of the nation's greying population.
Kimura said the compact city strategy is "part of Japan's regional revitalization efforts to achieve equilibrium in the moving in and out of populations." His study showed how Japan is optimizing its resources by restructuring its transport system making it more accessible to residents, as well as increasing access to daily life needs, including medical and commercial needs.
He cited the case of Toyama City in Japan where residential spots are along transport routes and Hachinohe City where inter-municipal cooperation community bus services are given to those living in the peripheries. This way, residents can also easily access railways, schools, and hospitals.
"Developing compact cities from Japan's experience is also about building communication with communities and creativity of public-private sector initiatives," said Kimura. With the compact city approach, the study showed that daily conveniences are enhanced, consumption and investments rise, public service costs are lower, and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.
Japan has been sharing its knowledge with countries like the Philippines through its JDS program and other related initiatives.
Professor Hagiwara (left photo) and Dr. Kimura (right photo) discuss the potential applications of their studies to the Philippines