Focus on junctions, tech to ease jams: Bengaluru traffic top cop
He pointed out that prioritisation of traffic regulation instead of enforcement will play a huge role to address congestion issues
Bengaluru special commissioner for traffic MA Saleem said four interventions are under focus for traffic management in the city -- restricting cargo vehicles at peak hour, focus on specific junctions which are causing bottlenecks, using traffic policemen to regulate rather than enforce, and using technology for enforcement.
In a tete-a-tete with the public at the Bengaluru International Centre on Friday, Saleem said his department has identified 10 junctions which are not in the Central Business District (CBD) area to ease congestion.
“In central Bangalore there is not much congestion. Areas on the outskirts like Hebbal flyover, Goraguntepalya, Silk Board junction, Iblur flyover, KR Puram Muthumariamman Temple side, KS Layout, Banashankari temple junction, and Bannerghatta Road are witnessing jams. If we can fix areas to some extent, then the travel time may be reduced,” Saleem said.
“First, we segregated the main traffic coming from the airport side and traffic coming from the side roads. Then we observed that 20-25 per cent of that traffic was due to small and medium goods vehicles. By restricting their movement in the morning peak hours, we removed 25 per cent of traffic,” he said.
He pointed out that prioritisation of traffic regulation instead of enforcement will play a huge role to address congestion issues. “Generally, traffic police do both enforcement and regulation. We have changed our priority from enforcement to regulation. That is from booking of cases to ensuring all traffic policemen will regulate the traffic so that vehicles can move quickly.”
Saleem stressed that technology will a significant role in moving from enforcement to regulation of traffic. Last week, the Bengaluru traffic police introduced an Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS), where artificial intelligence-enabled cameras will detect traffic violations and issue challans through SMSes to mobile phones.
The objective was to automatically detect traffic violations in a contactless manner and send auto-generated challans to the violators with minimum human intervention. The ITMS has been implemented at 50 important traffic junctions across the city.
“Through this we can book a lot of cases automatically through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and cameras installed. This will help in bringing down about 20-25 percent of traffic. Beyond this some engineering solution needs to be done,” Saleem said.
Saleem said that while booking cases though technology is an ambitious plan, the focus right now should be sustain it, and use most of the manpower for regulation. However, he pointed out two challenges to implement this.
“We have started booking 30,000 cases a day through online and physical challans. But many times people ignore those notices. The challenge is to ensure compliance for those challans. They should accept the challans and pay the fines. Though fine collect is not our priority here. But at the same time there should be some deterrence,” Saleem said.
Saleem said the first remedy is to make sure that all yellow board vehicles need fitness certificate every year. “We are now tying up with the transport department, for their cooperation to see that all the vehicles coming in for fitness certification should pay up all their pending fines before the vehicle is taken for fitness certification. If this happens, we can have almost 100 percent compliance as far as the transport vehicles are concerned,” Saleem said.
“Secondly, for other vehicles, every year they have to renew their insurance. The insurance companies should take the matter in such a way that all fines have to be paid before the insurance policy is renewed.”
Saleem said that if these two things are implemented then there will be 100 percent compliance regarding challans and this way the traffic police can focus more on traffic regulation.
Special Commissioner for Traffic also said that the desirable outcome that citizens should shoot for in the area of traffic improvement, and what the systems need to deliver, is a robust and economical public transport.
“The work is going on for metro phase 2 and phase 3. The work for the suburban rail is also going on. If these things are completed, and if we could also a few more thousand buses, then I think we can have a good public transport network,” Saleem said
“This will definitely go a long way in determining whether Citizen’s use their personal vehicles. This is the ideal outcome for the city. Automatically, traffic problem will be solved to a large extent. Right now, we only do marginal improvements. We will have substantial improvement with a robust public transport,” he added.