In a bid to reduce the time people waste waiting to cross busy roads, the civic body has installed pedestrian-controlled signal systems at 22 major junctions in the island city.
Over the last two months, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) installed telephone box-sized instruments on traffic signal poles at these locations. The instruments have now been operationalised and will allow walkers to change traffic lights with a push of a button.
Civic officials said that the junctions where the system has been installed do not have heavy pedestrian traffic through the day. During the day, the 'walk' signal turns green on its own at regular intervals. “However, the signal stays on for a short duration and the interval between two pedestrian signals is longer,” said an official from the civic traffic department. With the new system, once the button is pressed, the 'walk' signal turns green within a few seconds.
The signal stays green for 12 seconds, allowing people sufficient time to cross. Importantly, between 10pm to 7am, one will compulsorily have to press the button to activate the pedestrian crossing signal.
The signaling cycle at these junctions is of 90 seconds, and the pedestrian-controlled system will help save at least 12 seconds of waiting time for both, pedestrians as well as motorists. Some of the junctions where the system has been installed are the ones at Bhatia Hospital, Bandra-Worli Sea Link (AG Khan Road), Poddar Hospital, Dr E Moses Road, Citylight junction and Sitaladevi temple.
These boxes have cost the BMC Rs6,000 apiece. They were earlier programmed to emit a loud hoot when the signal changed. However, the hoots were silenced following complaints from people living near these junctions.
“Recently, we have made a few innovations in the signalling system. The traffic police will be giving us feedback on how this controlled crossing system fares. We will then decide whether or not to install the system at other locations in the city,” said Satish Badve, chief engineer, roads.