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UPD tests new vehicle access system

University Avenue

(May 22)—Automated barrier gates, a new, technology-based vehicular access system to the UP Diliman campus, is currently being tested at the university’s secondary portals at Ylanan, Magsaysay, Velasquez and Jacinto Streets. The main entry, University Avenue, is not yet being tested.

The system, according to Dr. Wilson Garcia, consists of automated barriers on both the ingress and egress lanes of all five UPD portals, radio frequency (RF) card readers, metal detecting loops embedded into the pavement, photocells, and traffic management features such as road humps and bollards. To activate the gates, a portal access card must be detected by the card reader.

Garcia is a professor at the National Institute of Physics (NIP) and chairs the technical committee created by UPD Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma to implement the new access scheme. With  Garcia are faculty and administrative personnel selected for their specializations related to the project: NIP professor and UP Computer Center (UPCC) director Dr. Johnrob Bantang; Engr. Aileen Mappala of the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) ; College of Architecture faculty and UPD Information Office director Prof. Maureen Anne Araneta; Engr. Amador Rozul of the Office of the Campus Architect and Jason Chao of the UPCC.

Testing the new access scheme began in the first week of May and initially caused some traffic to build up, especially in the rush hours, as guards on duty familiarized the vehicle owners on the impending system. However, the new scheme is not changing the university’s policies regarding access to the campus.

“There is no policy change; only the technology interface is new. UP Diliman’s longstanding policy of No ID, No Entry is still being implemented in the secondary portals.  Regulating traffic through these portals is vital to campus safety since these gates protect UPD’s academic core. Those who wish to enter the University but do not have an ID or a car sticker can still pass through the University Avenue,” Saloma clarified.

For a long time, a sticker system regulated the entry and exit of vehicles to and from the campus. Vehicles without stickers were allowed access upon the driver’s “submission to security inspection  for the protection of the academic community.”

The new access scheme also seeks to enhance UPD as a model site for road safety practices, a project initiated by the NCTS with the Automotive Association of the Philippines and Toyota Motor Philippines in 2008. Separate but related activities by partner government institutions have contributed to the overall road safety initiatives on campus.  The Department of Public Works and Highways is currently undertaking the concrete re-pavement of Magsaysay Avenue and the various asphalting overlay projects around campus while the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority installed LED traffic lights with counters  at two sites: along the intersections of C.P. Garcia and University avenues and along Roces and Osmeña avenues.

The portal access cards, while at the same time replacing the stickers as a means of identification of UP Diliman-recognized vehicles, also provide additional applications. According to the Chancellor, the technology interface is a data collection point on the number of vehicles entering and leaving the campus. “Accurate data on vehicular traffic on campus provides a reliable information system with which to plan and regulate the use of the campus roads and parking spaces.” Saloma added that the new scheme will enhance the safety and welfare of UPD’s academic constituents and will act as a check  “against overuse of campus roads by motorists who use the University as a shortcut to other parts of Metro Manila.”

Meanwhile, the UPD Police reports that as of May 19, 11 incidents of minor damage to the barrier gates occured mostly due to accidental impacts. Motorists involved have committed to pay the University for damages.

In related developments, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OVCCA) announced on May 9 that application forms for the portal access cards are now available at their offices.  In the meantime, the UP sticker/UP ID system is still in effect until these are replaced by the portal access cards. —CAI