Teddy’s typical drive to work starts from Espana Boulevard all the way to Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. During inclement weather, he would drive through various streets of Manila, dodging floods and traffic, only to be stalled in a gridlock due to knee-high floodwater.

In times like this, Teddy wishes for off-the-shelf solutions to help him navigate through the floods and the traffic on the streets.

Luckily, science and technology might just be the solution to his problem.

Currently on exhibit at the ongoing 2015 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City is a program for motorists and commuters called Philippine Metro Advanced Traveler Information System or PhilMATIS.

A project of UP Diliman’s Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, Computer Science Department, and the National Center for Transportation Studies, PhilMATIS is an integrated and science-based traffic and inundation decision making system for determining traffic volume and flood warning in real-time.

It has two component projects, Urban Flood and the vehicle traffic reporting system.

Using data from the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute, Urban Flood determines, in real-time, the height of inundation in a certain area after a relatively heavy downpour. It has ultrasonic sensor installed in a 3.2 meter post at the center island along San Diego up to Earnshaw Street in Espana, Manila. This sensor calculates the distance of the floodwater and bounces its signals in the form of echoes into its transceiver. It also possesses a data logger, which sends GPRS and SMS to its website in a three-minute interval. Close to achieving real-time data transmission, the Urban Flood monitoring system is estimated to be 95 percent accurate in determining flood height.

Urban Flood also has a 2 megapixel weatherproof camera for visual surveillance of floodwater. Eventually, 50 units of the Urban Flood system will be rolled out in various cities in Metro Manila through a partnership with the MMDA.

Meanwhile, the vehicle traffic reporting system sends out data and information on the volume, street capacity and vehicle speed in several streets in Metro Manila. “The algorithms used in determining the volume and vehicle speed were done by our local experts,” said Dr. Adrian Roy Valdez of UP College of Engineering.

The vehicle traffic reporting system is installed at the gantry of a traffic light and consists of a standard-definition camera with infrared technology for night visuals and small computers. The camera captures the vehicle passing through the specific area while the computer measures the speed, street volume and traffic capacity. The data is then sent to a central base or a website which enables the end-user to monitor in real-time the traffic and vehicle volume in a specific time and area.

Both the Urban Flood and vehicle traffic reporting system are in their development and testing stages. (S&T Media Service)