City authorities have an illuminating answer to frustrating traffic snarls in the national capital — large roadside LED boards that will display real-time updates about congestions ahead and suggest alternative routes.
Called variable messaging system (VMS), these boards are placed at 50 locations near congestion-prone crossroads, on arterial streets, and before flyovers that record large traffic volumes, which defeat their primary purpose of reducing jams.
At least 15 of these displays will be switched on by early March and the rest by another fortnight into the month, said Garima Bhatnagar, the joint commissioner of police (traffic).
“If these are found effective, we will alert motorists with the VMS along 100 road stretches that we have identified (as susceptible to jams).”
Motorists driving down Mathura Road, Sardar Patel Marg, Rao Tula Ram Marg, Dwarka Link Road, IGI Airport Road, the Ring Road near Moolchand flyover, and stretches of NH8 and NH24 should keep an eye for the early warning system from next month.
The boards will be hard to miss since they come in two sizes — 5mx2m and 3mx1.5m.
Text messages in red will alert commuters about congestions; those in green will suggest a jam-free detour that the motorists can take.
The boards are installed in spots where congestions are least likely to happen even if a motorist slows down to read the overhead message. In case of normal traffic, the boards will say so. “We have been putting traffic alerts for long on Twitter and Facebook. We are taking a step further to forewarn motorists,” Bhatnagar said.
A team at the traffic police headquarters in Todapur will feed updates to the displays through a 3G communication network.
The DMRC and the public works department have been asked to let the traffic police know about their constructions and repairs, or any new pothole that have sprung up on a particular stretch. At night, when the traffic volume shrinks, the boards will flash messages on road safety.
That’s one more appendage to beat a jam, but not a lasting solution to curb snarls which clog roads and bring traffic to a crawl.
According to Delhi Traffic Police, approximately 200,000 vehicles cross the Ashram intersection near Moolchand flyover during peak hours every day. Experts said unless immediate steps are taken to unclog its streets, Delhi may find itself crawling at 5kmph — the pace of a human walking — in the next 10 years.
A person travelling 40km in a car through rush-hour traffic spends an average 3.43 hours on the road, a 2016 study found.