The city has the highest vehicle density in India, according to the state’s transport department.
Case in point: Compared to the National Capital Region (NCR), which has almost 30,000 kilometre of roads, Mumbai has only 1,941 kilometre. There are 87 lakh vehicles in the NCR, while Mumbai has 28 lakh vehicles plying on its streets , with an additional two lakh vehicles coming from Thane and Navi Mumbai. The length of NCR’s roads is 15 times more than Mumbai’s, but it has only three times more vehicles than Mumbai.
For the Mumbai traffic police, which has to also deal with 770 new vehicles registered at four regional transport offices (RTOs) every day, only around 1,200 of its 3,000-strong workforce are on duty per shift to man the 1,250 major junctions across the city.
Safe to say, traffic management cannot get more difficult. But now, the Mumbai traffic police have opened its doors to citizens who want to help crack down on traffic offenders.
Speaking at the panel discussion on road safety at the Hindustan Times office, the city’s traffic police chief, Milind Bharambe, said citizens can join hands with the police in making the CCTV-challan system more effective.
Bharambe said unless the authorities rope in civilians into the government machinery as support system, the city cannot excel.
“If some resident is concerned that motorists are flouting traffic rules , they should work with us. Let those citizen representatives step forward and participate. Sit with us, work with us and generate challans. We will authorise that,” Bharambe said.
The Mumbai traffic police started issuing challans using the city’s CCTV system from October last year. This was made possible with the help of 4,762 CCTV cameras installed across the city .
“We intend to involve the public in traffic policing. If we have to generate more challans to instill a sense of discipline, it will only be done through public participation,” added Bharambe. The CCTV cameras live stream footage from roads to the traffic police control room at Worli headquarters, where a team of police personnel detect violations. The superior-quality cameras provide clean footage allowing the police to zoom in and read the vehicle’s registration number plate.
After verifying the vehicle’s ownership details, a challan is generated and the offender immediately receives an SMS. As of now, the traffic department said they are issuing at least 10,000 challans using CCTVs a day.
The department’s internet application, MTP, also supports a feature to report traffic violations. Civilians have to only take a picture of the violation and send it on the application. After the traffic officials receive the data, it is verified and a challan is issued to the motorist violating norms.