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Metro Manila Dream Plan

The Metro Manila Dream Plan, formally titled the Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas,[1][2] refers to an integrated plan for improving the transport system[3][4] in Metro Manila, Philippines, with the hope of turning it into a focal point for addressing Metro Manila's interlinked problems in the areas of transportation, land use, and environment.[2][5]

Consisting of a list of short term priority projects and medium to long term projects lasting up to 2030,[1][4] the Dream Plan was created on the basis of recommendations from a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)[5] and was approved the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board in June 2014.[6][7] The roadmap is thus sometimes also referred to as the "JICA Dream Plan", or the "NEDA Dream Plan".

Strategies and goals

Problems to be addressed

The Dream Plan identified three interrelated problems development in Metro Manila would have to address:[1][2][4]

  • Traffic congestion,
  • Land use, specifically the lack of affordable housing and the presence of slum/squatter areas, and
  • Environmental risks to urban settlements in areas prone to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, etc.

Core philosophies

The Dream Plan identifies three core philosophies, which it expresses as: sector integration; spatial integration; and institutional integration.[1]

Sector integration refers to an approach that views various problematic aspects of Metro Manila's urban development as interrelated, and addressing them as such. The plan identifies critical sectors as traffic flow, settlement in hazardous areas, and overpopulation, and thus it seeks integrated approaches for "accomodat[ing] people in need of affordable housing free from hazard risks and traffic congestion."[1]

Spatial integration refers to an approach that expands the search for solutions to Metro Manila's problems to integrate areas outside its current boundaries - looking towards creating new centers of urban growth and linking them efficiently, allowing for the management of population growth and urban expansion in a sustainable manner. Specifically, the dream plan seeks to create new growth areas in Central Luzon, with the new Clark Green City at its core, and CALABARZON, with the Batangas and Lucena port areas as core focal points.[1]

Finally, institutional integration, refers to the need for strengthen and coordinate actions among local government units and regions.[1]

Objectives, or "Five Nos"

The Dream Plan expresses its goals in terms of five key problems which it aims to definitively address, which it calls "5 Nos":[1][2]

  • No Traffic Congestion;
  • No Households Living in Hazardous Conditions;
  • No Barriers for Seamless Mobility;
  • No Excessive Cost Burden for Low Income Groups; and
  • No Air Pollution.

Regional Integration Strategy

A significant philosophical approach of the Dream Plan is to redirect the Manila-centered spatial orientation of the metropolitan area and turn it into a network of carefully planned urban centers arranged on a north-south axis.[1] This hopes to correct the current radial pattern of metropolitan development, which encourages settlement in the high flood-risk zones on the east and west and in the high quake-risk zones on the east of the present metropolis.[2]

Specifically, this means[1]

  • Restricting further urban expansion in the Marikina Valley, defining the mountains of Rizal and the shore of Laguna de Bay as an eco-zone on the east side of the Greater Capital Region;
  • Restricting further urban expansion along the northern and southern coasts of manila bay, retaining only the existing port area as a transportation hub, effectively making Manila bay another eco-zone, this time on the west side of the Greater Capital Region;
  • Controlling urban expansion using careful planning of new urban centers to the south of Manila, with a hierarchical development strategy in mind.

All this would have to be connected via highly efficient transport backbones - envisioned by the dream plan as a "ladder form" structure, which would overlay high capacity expressway and railway networks over the existing radial-circumferential highway system of the current metropolitan area.[1]

Greater Capital Region

This strategy expands the metropolitan area into what the plan refers to as a "Greater Capital Region" (GCR), which would incorporate the present National Capital Region (NCR), Region III (Central Luzon), and Region IV-A (CALABARZON).[4]

Controlled creation of new urban centers

Instead of being centered solely on the City of Manila, the Dream Plan proposes that the new system move towards new centers of economic growth connected via an efficient high capacity high quality transport backbone. This would be defined by five growth center clusters: The existing Metro Manila cluster, a North Regional Growth Center based on gateway sea and airports in Region III, a South Regional Growth Center based on gateway seaports in Region IV-A, a two sub-regional growth centers to the immediate north and immediate south of the Manila cluster, respectively.[1]

Metro Manila

The Metro Manila cluster would be formed by the existing NCR,[1] plus nearby urban centers such as Antipolo, Bacoor, and Imus.[2] Efforts in this particular cluster would focus on inner city redevelopment or revitalization, and the rehabilitation of disaster prone areas.[2]

North Regional Growth Center (Subic-Clark-Tarlac)

The North Regional Growth Center cluster would be formed primarily by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac urban areas to the west,[1] and then secondarily by urban centers of Cabanatuan and Gapan to the east.[1]

Development in this cluster would be centered on the new Clark Green City, the gateway seaport at Subic, and the Clark airport. Additional urban centers identified in this cluster include Tarlac City in Tarlac, San Fernando and Lubao in Pampanga, Cabanatuan and Gapan in Nueva Ecija.[2]

South Regional Growth Center Region (Batangas and Lucena)

The South Regional Growth Center cluster would be formed by the urban centers of Batangas City and Lucena.[1]

Development in this cluster would be centered on gateway seaports at Batangas and Lucena. Additional urban centers identified in this cluster include Lipa and Tanauan in Batangas, and Tayabas in Quezon.[2]

North Sub-regional Growth Center (Bulacan)

The North Sub-regional Growth Center cluster would be formed by new urban development in Bulacan.[1]

Development efforts in this area would be focused on planned urban expansion in the form of affordable housing for informal settlers.[2] Malolos is projected to be the major urban core area in the Bulacan Sub-regional Growth Center, with other identified urban centers including Baliuag, San Jose del Monte, and Meycauayan.[2]

South Sub-regional Growth Center (Cavite-Laguna)

The South Sub-regional Growth Center cluster would be formed by new urban development[1] in Cavite, Laguna, and some parts of Batangas.[2]

Development efforts in this area would be focused on planned urban expansion in the form of affordable housing for informal settlers.[2] Calamba is projected to be the major urban core area in this sub-regional growth cluster, with other identified urban centers including San Pedro, Sta. Rosa, Biñan, Cabuyao, and San Pablo in Laguna, and Trece Martires and Tagaytay in Cavite.[2]

Development of new gateway ports

Subic, Batangas, and Lucena Seaports

When the transport backbones are in place, the dream plan calls for the cargo-handling function of Metro Manila's ports to be shifted to Subic and Batangas,[1] which would be achieved by limiting the future expansion of the existing Manila ports and then providing incentives for shipping companies to use the Subic and Batangas ports. The dream plan also calls for the expansion of the Lucena seaport, complimenting the load of the Batangas seaport.

NAIA, Clark, and New NAIA Airports

The dream plan also proposes the development of two new gateway airports[1] - one in Clark which would serve as a gateway airport for the central and northern cluster, and a "New NAIA" which would be based outside of the existing urban area.

Before this "New NAIA" is in place, it proposes the improvement of the existing NAIA and the utilization of the Sangley point Runway. It also suggests the improvement of Clark, which would serve as an alternative to NAIA.[1]

Once the New NAIA is in place, it suggests that the current NAIA could be converted into a new central business district.[1]

Reorienting Mega Manila's road network structure

Evolving from a plan first developed in the late 1970s,[2] Metro Manila's transport system currently follows a radial-circumferential system, with the City of Manila at its center and with Circumferential Road 5 (C-5) and Circumferential Road 6 (C-6) at its outer boundaries.[1] The Dream Plan takes the existing radial-circumferential system and proposes a ladder-form structure connecting the existing urban core with new urban centers along a north-south axis.[4]

Existing Radial-Circumferential System

The plan calls for the rehabilitation of the existing radial-circumferential system, and the completion of links in that system which for different reasons have never been built. Connections in need of completion most notably include the Pasig River connections of C3 and the southern linkages of C5 towards Cavite and the South Skyway. Major renovations most notably include those on EDSA.

Connector expressways as a north-south transport backbone

The plan also calls for a transport backbone in the form of intra-city expressways that would connect NLEx with SLEx, decongesting traffic on non-toll highways in the existing metropolitan area by allowing north-south travel without having to pass through Manila streets, and by creating alternative routes for travelers who are willing to pay for faster flow of traffic. Also critical is the connection these expressways would create between the new gateway ports of the North and South Regional Growth centers proposed by the plan.[2]

Suburban railways as a north-south transport backbone

The plan also calls for a transport backbone in the form of suburban railways, which would become the primary connector between Regional Growth Centers (Metro Manila, North, and South) and the Sub-Regional Growth Centers defined by peri-urban development north and south of Manila.

2030 Dream Plan Main Components

The plan is organized into five components:[1][2][4] at-grade urban roads; main roads/expressways network; urban and suburban rail network; road-based public transport; and traffic management strengthening.

At-grade urban roads

The at-grade roads component of the dream plan calls for the systematic expansion of Manila's main roads network, including:[2][4]

  • The completion of missing links such as bridges or unfinished stretches of roads in the existing road networks, most notably the middle portion Circumferential Road 3 across the Pasig river, and the south portion Circumferential Road 5 connecting to the Metro Manila Skyway and to Cavite Coastal Road.[1]
  • The creation of 137 km of new roads,
  • Flyovers,
  • Sidewalks and pedestrian facilities, and
  • the expansion of secondary roads in periurban areas.

Toll Expressways

The plan defines[5] highways as the "main roads" that facilitate travel within the metro for the majority of residents, and distinguishes them from "Expressways", which will charge a toll.[1]

The plan intends for these toll expressways to decongest traffic on the main roads by providing an option to those road users willing to pay a toll fee in exchange for faster travel time.[4]

The plan calls for the construction of 426 km ofIntercity expressway, and 78 km of Urban expressway.[2]

Urban/Suburban Rail

The plan calls for the expansion of Manila's urban and suburban rail network.[4]

It proposes[2] a 246 km main rail network consisting of 6 lines, and a 72 km secondary rail network made up of 5 lines.

Another important aspect of this component of the dream plan is integrated lines and improved accessibility.[2]

Prominent projects under this component include:[1]

North-South Commuter Rail (Clark-Calamba)

The North-South Commuter Rail proposed by the dream plan will be a 91 kilometer elevated railway with high capacity trains serving a route from intitially from Malolos City, Bulacan in Central Luzon to Calamba City, Laguna, in CALABARZON.[2] The Northern segment of the commuter rail is subdivided into two phases which are PNR North 1 or Tutuban-Malolos and PNR North 2 or Malolos-Clark.[2]

The plan calls for the rail to have no level crossings at main roads, and for at-grade freight long-haul trains be developed beneath the elevated railway.[2] It is expected that the creation of this rail line will promote urban growth along a north-south axis, further promoting the development of the North and South Regional Growth Centers.[2]

Metro Manila Subway (Mindanao Avenue NLEX – Taguig ITX - NAIA)

The Metro Manila Subway proposed by the dream plan will be a 58 km subway which will serve as a second north-south mass transit backbone for the newly expanded Greater Capital Region.[2]

Since its path hews close to much of EDSA, it is expected to dramatically improve mobility and accessibility along that critical route.[2] It is also expected that the creation of this subway line will promote urban growth along a north-south axis, further promoting the development of the North and South Regional Growth Centers.[2]

A preliminary study for the Metro Manila Subway was done during the course of the main Roadmap Study from 2013-2014, and the DPWH has announced that it expects to complete a master plan for the subway within 2015.[8]

The first 25-kilometer railway will have 12 stations, namely, Mindanao Avenue (Baesa area), Tandang Sora, North Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Anonas, Katipunan, Ortigas North, Ortigas South, Kalayaan Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, FTI and NAIA. [9]

Road-based public transport

The "road-based public transport" component of the dream plan concerns itself mostly with Buses and Jeepneys. It proposes:[2]

  • The modernization of the vehicles and the system by which they are operated,
  • A rationalization of the public transport route structure, and
  • Improved terminals and interchange facilities

Traffic management

The traffic management component of the dream plan calls for[1] the modernization of:

  • traffic engineering,
  • traffic enforcement, and
  • traffic education.

It also calls for the use of Intelligent Transport Services (ITS) such as Mobile navigation systems for commuters, Multi-story parking facilities, Park & Ride Facilities at rail stations, Community Use Bicycle Sharing, and so on.[2]

Short Term Program (2014-2016)

At-grade urban roads network

Projects under the short term program (2014-2016) of the dream plan's at-grade urban roads component include highways and secondary urban roads. A number of the projects identified in the short term program were actually already ongoing when the plan was approved by the NEDA, having already previously been identified as critical infrastructure projects.[4]


Location Project Name / Description Start Point (North-South) End Point (North-South) Status Additional Notes
NCR; along the San Juan River Metro Manila Skybridge[10] San Juan Makati/Santa Ana Oval Proposed Completion of missing link that make up the Circumferencial Road 3 (C-3)
NCR Rehabilitation of EDSA Ongoing
NCR EDSA-Taft-Roxas Boulevard Flyover[11] EDSA Roxas Boulevard Proposed Approved in April 2014 but deferred in September 2014 because resulting traffic congestion could not be sufficiently mitigated.[12]
NCR Bonifacio Global CityOrtigas Center Link Road[13][14] Sta. Monica-Lawton Bridge (Phase 1)[13] Near Makati Park and Garden, J.P. Rizal Street, Makati Lawton, Bonifacio Global City Under-construction Bank-to-bank bridge across the Pasig River[14]Started construction in 2018, to be finished by 2020.[15]
NCR[16] Lawton-BGC Viaduct (Phase 2a) Lawton, Bonifacio Global City Pre-construction Bank-to-bank bridge across the Pasig River[14]
NCR Skyway-C-5 link C-5 SLEx Intersection Metro Manila Skyway Proposed Via the FTI Property
NCR C-5 South Link Expressway C-5 SLEx Intersection Manila–Cavite Expressway Under-construction Circumferential Road 5 (C-5) link to CAVITEX
NCR Metro Manila Interchange Project[17] EDSA-North Avenue-West Avenue-Mindanao Avenue Interchange[18] Phase VI approved by NEDA in October 2014.[18] Proposed
NCR Circumferential Road 5 (C-5)-Greenmeadows-Calle Industria-Eastwood Interchange[18] Proposed
NCR EDSA-Roosevelt Avenue-Congressional Avenue Interchange[18] Proposed
Region 3 Plaridel Bypass Road (Package 3 and 4) Brgy. Bonga Manor, Bustos, Bulacan Maharlika Highway, Brgy. Maginao, San Rafael, Bulacan[19] Completed

Other Roads

  • Secondary Road Packages
  • Preparatory Studies for Several Projects
  • Other Central Luzon Road Projects (Ongoing)
  • Other Southern Luzon Road Projects (Ongoing)

Toll Expressway Network

Projects under the short term program (2014-2016) of the dream plan's expressways include:[4]

Location Project Name / Description Start Point End Point Status Additional Notes
Region 3 Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase I La Paz, Tarlac Cabanatuan Under-construction
NCR NLEX Segment 8.2 NLEx-Mindanao Avenue cloverleaf, Valenzuela City Commonwealth Avenue Proposed
NCR; Along the existing PNR alignment NLEx-SLEx Connectors NLEx-SLEx Link Expressway [20] Manila North Harbor, Manila (end of NLEx Segment 10) Quirino Avenue, Manila[21] Pre-construction
NCR NLEx Segments 9 & 10 NLEx Mindanao Avenue Exit, Valenzuela (Northernmost point of Segment 9) Manila North Harbor, Manila (Southernmost point of Segment 10) Under-construction
NCR Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 [22] Balintawak, Quezon City SLEx Buendia Exit Ramp, Makati Under-construction extension of the Metro Manila Skyway system
NCR NAIA Expressway Phase 2 NAIA Expressway Exit 2B (NAIA 3 Exit; End of NAIA Expressway Phase 1) Manila-Cavite Expressway and Entertainment City in Parañaque Completed
Laguna de Bay Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike C-6; Bicutan Bayog, Los Baños, Laguna Proposed C-6 Extension
Region IV-A Muntinlupa–Cavite Expressway[23] Daang Hari-Daang Reyna Junction in Bacoor, Cavite SLEx Susana Heights Interchange, Muntinlupa Completed
Region IV-A Cavite–Laguna Expressway Stages 1 and 2[24] CAVITEx in Kawit, Cavite SLEx Greenfield City Unilab/LIIP (Mamplasan) Exit, Santa Rosa, Laguna Under-construction
Region IV-A Calamba–Los Baños Expressway[25] SLEX Calamba Exit in Calamba Bay, Laguna Proposed
Region IV-A Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) Tollway Redevelopment South Luzon Expressway in Santo Tomas, Batangas Batangas City Completed

Urban and suburban rail network

Project Description Status
Line 1 South Extension Phase 1 Pre-construction
Line 6 (Line 1 South Extension Phase 2) Proposed
Line 2 East Extension Project Under-construction
Line 2 West Extension Project Pre-construction
Line 3 Capacity Expansion Project Ongoing
Line 7 Under-construction
Automated Fare Collection System Common ticketing system for all the mass rapid transit lines except for the Philippine National Railways Completed
Line 1 Rehabilitation Ongoing
Line 2 Rehabilitation Ongoing
Line 3 Rehabilitation Ongoing
North South Commuter Rail Includes construction of Manila-Clark line, rehabilitation of the Manila-Calamba-Los Baños line, and the reconstruction of the Calamba-Batangas City line. Pre-construction
Line 9 (Metro Manila Subway) (Phase 1) Groundbreaking was held on February 27, 2019. First three stations to be operational by 2022 and the rest of the line in 2025. Under-construction

It also calls for a "Metro Manila Central Business District Transit System Study."

Road-based public transport network

Projects under the short term program (2014-2016) of the dream plan's road-based public transport component include:[4]

  • Three Integrated Provincial Bus Terminals (IPBTs);
  • Public Road Passenger Transport Reform Study;
  • Bus Rapid Transit System 1; and
  • Bus and Jeepney Modernization Programs

Traffic management strengthening

Specific aspects to be improved under the short term program (2014-2016) of the dream plan's traffic management strengthening component include intersection capacity, traffic control centers, pedestrian crossings, intelligent parking, incident detection, signal control systems, travel time prediction, road maintenance schedule and monitoring, transport priority, bus schedule assistance.[4]

The plan recommends a comprehensive traffic management study to cover these interconnected aspects of traffic management.[4]

Action Plan for Gateway Seaports and Airports

The dram plan also includes[2] a short term action plan for the development of seaports and airports, which includes:

  • The implementation of already-committed improvement packages for NAIA and Clark;
  • The placement of a cap for the expansion of Manila seaports;
  • The creation of an incentives system for diverting port activities to Batangas and Subic seaports; and
  • The conduct of studies for
    • the development of a "New NAIA" and
    • the redevelopment of the Manila Port Area

JICA Study

The original study which came up with the dream plan was conducted by JICA at the request of the NEDA and was conducted from March 2013 to March 2014. Stakeholders consulted included the NEDA, the DPWH, the DOTC, the MMDA, and the Private Sector, among others.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab (The Philippines) MEGA MANILA INFRASTRUCTURE ROADMAP (Long Ver.). JICAChannel02: The Official Global Channel of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Republic of the Philippines National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). June 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Main Points of the Roadmap (PDF) (Report). Japan International Cooperation Agency. September 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-11.
  3. ^ "Philippines Government Adopts Manila Transport Plan Based on JICA Study:Plan aims to cut traffic congestion, air pollution and excessive burden on the poor" (Press release). Japan International Cooperation Agency. September 25, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The Dream Plan for Mega Manila 2013. Japan International Cooperation Agency; Republic of the Philippines National Economic Development Authority; Department of Transportation and Communications; Department of Public Works and Highways; Metro Manila Development Authority. June 24, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Dela Paz, C. J. V. (September 2, 2014). "Plan seeks to untangle gridlock". Business World. New Manila, Quezon City, Philippines: BusinessWorld Publishing Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Gov't OKs JICA 'dream plan' to reduce traffic: Traffic seen to worsen by 2030". Quezon City, Philippines: ABS-CBN Interactive. September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  7. ^ "NEDA approves Mega Manila transport roadmap". Manila Bulletin. Intramuros, Manila. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  8. ^ []
  9. ^ []
  10. ^ "MMDA Resolution No. 12-06 Series of 2012 Authorizing the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to endorse the Metro Manila Skybridge project to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for funding and implementation" (Press release). Metropolitan Manila Development Authority - Metro Manila Council. January 26, 2012. Archived from the original on July 10, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2014.
  11. ^ []
  12. ^ []
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-09-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) retrieved September 27, 2014
  14. ^ a b c Frialde, Mike (January 21, 2014). "DPWH plans bridge, underpass to connect BGC, Makati and Ortigas". The Philippine Star. Mandaluyong City Philippines: STAR Group of Publications. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  15. ^ "Bridge linking Makati, Mandaluyong under construction". Manila Bulletin News. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2014-09-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ []
  18. ^ a b c d []
  19. ^ []
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-09. Retrieved 2014-09-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ []
  22. ^ []
  23. ^ []
  24. ^ "Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX)". PPP Center.
  25. ^ Private-Public Partnership Service - Calamba – Los Baños Expressway Archived 2012-06-16 at the Wayback Machine