July 11, 2014
NEW DELHI: Generous funding in this year’s Budget could turn around the capital’s traffic infrastructure. Against just Rs 4 crore last year for installation of traffic signals and related infrastructure, there’s Rs 11.5 crore this time. Another Rs 11.4 crore has been allocated for developing traffic and communication networks, taking the total to Rs 22.9 crore. Funds for modernization projects have also doubled-from Rs 34.9 crore to Rs 67.9 crore.In total, Delhi Police has got 13% more funds-Rs 5,030.5 crore against Rs 4,455.2 crore last year. There’s Rs 67.9 crore under the plan head and Rs 4,585.3 crore for non-plan expenditure. An additional Rs 377.3 crore has been provided for housing infrastructure.
Sources at police headquarters said the allocation is in line with their demand and the department will not face a financial crunch this year. Important projects like the city surveillance system and intelligent traffic system, which are part of the Safe City Project and pending for years, could be implemented this fiscal.
The two projects have already gained pace with police officers visiting Surat in this connection and studying the setup there. The higher allocation will enable police to fill up vacancies and acquire more vehicles for patrolling. The department is also hopeful of starting to pay back the Rs 760 crore it owes other states.
The budget has also paid heed to the city’s demands for sensitizing Delhi Police. Funds under the head of training have been increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 4 crore. This will give a fillip to the planned training programmes, some of which are going on in central Delhi.
However, the allocation for induction of latest technology is below police’s expectations. While it had demanded Rs 2 crore, it has been given Rs 44 lakh. A senior officer said that adequate funds are available for implementing other projects and the department will make do with the smaller amount for new technology this financial year.
The allocation for the Nirbhaya fund remains unchanged at Rs 3 crore this fiscal year.
July 8, 2014
The traffic trial run on Raja Street and Oppanakara Street, initiated by the traffic wing of the Coimbatore City Police from Wednesday, continued with a few modifications.
ModificationsThe Traffic police personnel said that the pattern would be made as a regular route if the existing modifications in the trial proved to be fruitful in the next few days.
Heavy vehicles“When the trial run began four days ago all the vehicles heading to the city from Perur – through Raja Street – were diverted to Oppanakara Street, through Karuppa Gounder (KG) Street and Vysial Street, without entering Raja Street. This burdened KG Street with thousands of two-wheeler, four-wheelers and heavy vehicles”, the police said.
Two-wheelersThey added that this also affected business on the KG Street.
“From Friday, we have allowed two-wheelers and four-wheelers from Perur till Porikara Lane on Raja Street from where they can reach the city through Thomas Street.
The stretch from Porikara Lane to Oppanakara Street continued to be one-way, police added.
The police said that this had enabled easy movement of more than 10,000 two and four-wheelers enter the city from Perur at ease without going all the way through KG Street and Vysial Street to reach Oppanakara Street.
However, buses and other heavy vehicles have to go through KG Street to reach Oppanakara Street, they said.
April 16, 2014
Hindustan Times (Delhi)
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Traffic Police had mooted a grand plan of installing speed cameras at the city’s busy intersections to nab motorists flouting rules as well as bringing down the number of fatal accidents on the roads.
SONU MEHTA / HT -Delhi traffic police want to set up 8 high-speed cameras in two accident prone zones to track and nab offenders.Three years on, however, the plan continues to remain on paper with the traffic police force once again missing the March deadline for implementation of the project.
Sources said in 2012 that the traffic police had come up with a plan to install 70 infrared-based speed cameras at the busy city intersections in order to identify and nab speeding motorists.
The plan, however, was later scrapped as the ministry of home affairs did not approve it.
Later, due to a ‘funds crunch’, the traffic police had scaled down their demand and come up with a fresh plan to instead eight such high-speed cameras and install them at the city’s two accident-prone zones at Kingsway Camp and Aurobindo Marg by March 2014.
However, the ` 2.25 crore project again got stuck during its technical evaluation phase.
“We had plans to install the cameras by the last financial year but the tender process got stuck during the technical evaluation. The whole process of finalising the bidder may take a few more months,” stated Taj Hassan, special commissioner of police (traffic).
Sources however, claimed that the project this time too failed to take off again due to non-allocation of funds by the ministry.
“With the fund allocated to us, we could only purchase 78 breath analysers in the last financial year,” said a senior traffic police officer.
In 2013, more than 1,700 people were killed in road accidents. During an analysis, traffic police found out that many of them were killed due to speeding. This year also, over 400 people were killed on the roads of the city during the first three months.
The cops also had plans to buy 10 Innova cars mounted with automatic speed violation detection system, which would intercept vehicles speeding beyond permissible limits, both during day and night and in all kinds of weather conditions.
This project too is yet to be cleared.
April 7, 2014
Nitasha Natu & Somit Sen,TNN
There is little doubt that the disorder that passes off as Mumbai’s traffic flow needs to be addressed urgently. The vehicular population has grown annually by an average of 8% and stood at 2 crore in March last year. From 15.2 lakh in 2012, traffic offences rose sharply to 20.5 lakh in 2013. And still, there are just 3,493 traffic police personnel to monitor the city’s 1,940-km network of roads.
Transportation experts assert that no number of fresh recruits will comprehensively regulate traffic in a city as large and disregarding of road laws as Mumbai. For that the authorities must embrace technology. Like in major metropolises around the world, there is a need here to install a grid of CCTV cameras that will automatically detect traffic violations, help penalize offenders and create a deterrent.
“The traffic police cannot watch every stretch of road. Manpower constraints make it even more imperative to put CCTVs to better use,” says Ashok Datar, chairman of the Mumbai Environment Social Network and a transportation expert. “Existing cameras need to be replaced with high-resolution ones.”
The traffic police incidentally agree. Joint commissioner (traffic) Dr B K Upadhyaya says a proposal for the procurement of superior enforcement cameras was sent to the Maharashtra government around seven months ago. The request is still pending.
If and when the new system is mounted, Upadhyaya says, “the pressure on the force will reduce. We will not have to deploy personnel at all junctions.” For a start, he adds, the cameras can be fitted at key junctions and the police provided updated RTO data on vehicle owners.
Datar says the advanced system will work not only as a rule enforcer but also as a deterrent . “People will realize they are being watched. The system particularly curbs offences of lane cutting, speeding, signal jumping , and halting on pedestrian signal.”
Such CCTV systems are common in British cities and elsewhere. A majority of them use the Automatic Number Plate Recognition software , in which the cameras take pictures of travelling vehicles and automatically detect traffic violations. The software then enhances the picture of the offending vehicle’s number plate and extracts the alphanumeric characters.
To be sure, Mumbai has a small web of traffic cameras but, by all accounts, it is obsolete. Zicom Electronic Security Systems, which set up the network in 2006, says the objective then was “surveillance, not catching offenders” . “No new cameras were added thereafter. The state tried to get 5,000 state-of-the-art cameras in a Rs 1,000 crore project. Tenders were floated. But the project got stuck,” says Pramoud Rao, managing director of the company. Datar blames the state government for not showing urgency in procuring the advanced CCTV system for Mumbai: “it lacks interest”.
Present in Mumbai
118 CCTV cameras are installed at strategic locations, mainly busy traffic junctions The cameras are normally used to track congestion, regulate traffic flow and to decide diversions during VIP/VVIP movement. Personnel from local traffic outposts are directed to the spots where snarl-ups are detected with the cameras The system is not sufficiently advanced to detect traffic offenders automatically with the CCTV footage. Besides, a few cameras are not even functioning
Needed in Mumbai
Two or three high-resolution enforcement cameras should be fitted at busy junctions to capture images from various angles Challans should be sent by email or snail mail to the traffic offenders spotted by the cameras. Online payment of fines should be encouraged If the fine remains unpaid, the offender should be summoned by the traffic police, or the challan should be forwarded to the court, which can send the summons
Digital surveillance will soon cover all key B’lore junctions
Bangalore has the most robust automated traffic enforcement system in the country. Called B-TRAC , it was conceptualised in 2006 and initiated with the introduction of Blackberry phones for traffic officers. Within a year, records on these phones were linked to the transport department’s database and manual issuance of challans was discontinued. Surveillance cameras were added to the equation later. Today, the city has 173 surveillance cameras, 5 static enforcement cameras and 500 portable digital cameras. “When a violation is found, our cameras zoom in on the number plate. The number is checked with the transport department’s database and a notice is issued with the photo of the violation,” says B Dayananda, additional commissioner of police (traffic). “We have finalised the tender for 105 more cameras. With this, all key junctions will be covered.” A 10ft by 72ft video wall for monitoring was recently installed at the traffic management centre. Last year, the police turned Bangaloreans too into traffic enforcers by launching a mobile app. “We call it Public Eye. If any citizen sees a violation, he can take a photo and, using the app, upload it to our server. If the evidence is found solid, the violator is booked,” says Dayananda.
— Arun Dev
Three lakh challans issued in Chandigarh with 19 cameras
Traffic police in Chandigarh are known for strict enforcement of road laws. To assist them, they have installed 19 CCTV cameras at the city’s busiest roads. In the last four years, more than 3 lakh traffic challans have been issued with this technology. The 19 cameras are linked to a control centre and their feed is monitored by an inspector. “So far, jaywalking was the commonest offence for which challans were issued. But now we are adopting new CCTV technology that will help detect violations such as signal jumping and speeding,” says SSP (traffic) Maneesh Chaudhary. The police also encourage citizens to upload photographs of traffic violations on their Facebook page; alongside it should be mentioned the place, date and time of the offence.
March 6, 2014
5 March 2014
The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT) has announced the start of work on a new adaptive traffic control central system project.
The AED33m ($8.9m) project comprises deploying and implementing the new ‘SCOOT’ traffic control central system.
Currently used in more than 120 cities across the world, the system offers improved flexibility and interactivity to respond to varying traffic conditions through data generated by vehicle counting and classification sensors.
It also coordinates traffic movement with nearby intersections facilitating integrated management of traffic on Abu Dhabi road networks.
The project will replaceme the present central control and field control systems with this new central control system on the emirate’s 125 intersections via around 20 sensors at each intersection.
The system comprises built-in capabilities to prioritise public transport vehicles, while leveraging instant response levels to traffic incidents.
It also helps provide traffic data and information required for study and analysis by monitoring and reporting on level of service (LoS) at the controlled corridors.
This information helps in making adjustments to the traffic signal timings on the road network, and will also used to alert motorists on traffic congestion.
The project is in line with the surface transport master plan (STMP) to build world-class integrated and sustainable transport infrastructure, and is expected to be completed by early 2015.
DoT integrated intelligent transportation systems director Salah Al Marzouqi said: “This project is considered one of the key projects of the intelligent transport systems (ITS) strategy launched by the DoT in 2010.
“It will ensure better management of the road traffic network and less congestion whilst boosting the levels of vehicle safety and movement within Abu Dhabi.”
Image: The new system provides information to help alert motorists on traffic congestion. Photo: courtesy of Matthew Shiroma.
November 25, 2013
KOCHI: Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has blamed Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) for the delay in widening the road connecting CP Ummer Road to the bus depot and A L Jacob railway overbridge (ROB). Three months ago, the development authority had approached the transport corporation and then submitted a request to take up road widening works.
“To begin work, GCDA requires a written request from the managing director of KSRTC or its senior engineer. Despite repeated requests, the transport corporation has ignored our request,” said GCDA chairman N Venugopal. Though Kochi corporation opened the newly-constructed A L Jacob ROB to reduce traffic congestion, the narrow approach road at the entry point of the bus depot has worsened the situation.
On completing a seven-metre wide two-lane road envisaged around the Ambedkar stadium, a new link can be provided to CP Ummer Road and the KSRTC bus depot. This will facilitate the introduction of a one-way system and state transport buses state coming from Rajaji Road can go around the stadium and enter the depot. And buses leaving the depot can use the other road near the approach road of the ROB.
Agency may revoke contract
In another development, GCDA said that the contractor, entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the old stretch of Marine Drive walkway, has failed to execute his duties.
The authority had signed a five-year contract with the private contractor.
“It has been brought to the authority’s attention that the benches remain broken and lights are not functioning properly. Such activities mount to the violation of contract and GCDA is keen on terminating it,” said the chairman. He added that the income from advertisements placed at the walkway went to the contractor.
The authority will hold further discussions with the officials and the contractor and announce a final decision .
October 9, 2013
Manthan K Mehta, TNN |
“The bypass is being proposed on the land where the PWD offices are located. Enough space can be created on this portion of the land to build the road,” said a senior MMRDA official. As the land belongs to a government agency, the MMRDA does not anticipate any hurdle in acquiring the land to build the bypass road.
For the last few years, the MMRDA has been struggling to reduce traffic snarls at Kalanagar junction—one of the busiest intersections in the city. It connects the island city to both the western suburbs and the eastern suburbs via the Sion-Dharavi Road. As a short-term measure, MMRDA has also decided to implement, albeit partially, suggestions mooted by the Mumbai Environmental Social Network (MESN) to ease traffic congestion at Kalanagar junction.
“The median on the Western Express Highway at Kalanagar will be pushed back slightly. Vehicles coming from the sea link direction can directly drive to Bandra-Kurla Complex. At present, these vehicles have to take a sharp U-turn below the flyover to come on to the Sion-Dharavi Road and then take a left turn to enter BKC,” said the senior MMRDA official.
Also, the width of the two bus stops will be reduced thus, creating an additional lane for a bus-bay. “This will ensure that BEST buses halting at these stops will not block the traffic coming toward Dharavi T-junction from the northern direction,” said the official. “The other solution to cover the drains along the north-bound carriageway of the Western Express Highway (WEH) is not being undertaken yet as this will require the municipal corporation’s approval.” Civic officials may disapprove this plan as they would prefer the drains to remain accessible to ensure regular cleaning.
September 9, 2013
It is now a known fact that the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway and the associated phenomena — jams, holdups, broken service roads and unending queues at the two toll plazas — have made life difficult for commuters, but the devil, as the saying goes, is in the details.
Absence of pedestrian walkways, near absence of cross-over facilities like foot-overbridges and underpasses, and messy and uncoordinated intersections are some of the design flaws that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), in its defence against catechism from the Parliament and the CAG, said it did not anticipate while planning the expressway.
“The Gurgaon authorities did not coordinate with the NHAI. They saw that development along the highway was easy and profitable, and did not develop their internal traffic mechanism, putting the entire pressure on the highway.
“There was lack of planning from the beginning. The volume of traffic was 10 times the figure estimated on the very first day of operations. The authorities, clearly, did not take into account population growth, rise in number of vehicles, the expected rate of industrial growth in new Gurgaon, and migration from Delhi,” said urban planning expert Sarika Panda Bhat.
Bhat also suggests constructing a bypass to avoid the traffic muddle created due to the expressway and the toll plazas.
After Seoul removed the Cheonggyecheon highway, the average price for apartments in the area rose by almost 25% as compared to only 10% in the neighborhoods farther away. Rents for commercial office spaces rose, too. Who knows the case might be the same for Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
September 5, 2013
Hindustan Times (Delhi) /Vibha Sharma MANOJ KUMAR / HT PHOTOS
Narendra Yadav, estate officer, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), visited Sector 27 recently. The residents raised the matter of installing barriers and a traffic signal on the main road of Sectors 27 and 28 with him at that time.
(( (There is a demand to install a traffic signal and barriers at this point.)
Considering that the main road of Sectors 27 and 28 and the main road of Sector 43 are one way, vehicles go past at a high speed. It is very difficult for pedestrians to cross these roads. People also find it difficult to take a turn towards their colony or come out of it. The circumstances also increase the chance of accidents. To overcome these problems the RWA members requested Yadav to arrange for the installation of barriers on the road and also a traffic signal.
Says Harish Ahuja, secretary of the Sector 27 RWA, “There was a major accident here last month. Installing barriers is important to avoid accidents.”
Yadav spoke to Arun Dhankar, executive engineer, electric wing, HUDA, for the installation of barriers in the next one week. He asked for two months time for the installation of a traffic signal on this stretch. The residents also demanded installation of signboards in the area. “Ideally, signboards mentioning the sectors on this road and mentioning it as one way road should be installed at the beginning of the road. But the absence of such signboards causes a lot of inconvenience to a person coming here for the first time,” adds Ahuja.
The residents also raised the matter of poor maintenance of the parks in the area. “In a majority of the parks, the trees have been planted haphazardly. These have been planted in the middle of the parks leaving no space for the children to play and visitors to sit. There is absolutely no planning. The bushes and the plants are overgrown and need pruning. No one ever comes for maintenance. Similarly, the infrastructure facilities in the parks are not up to the mark. The water valve is missing in some places,” adds MC Gulati, RWA member. The residents have suggested that the parks be developed as model parks. After discussing the matter with the officials of the horticulture wing, HUDA, Yadav agreed to develop one park as a model park.
Says VK Nirala, executive engineer, horticulture department, HUDA, “We have received the instructions and soon we will be developing one park as a model park. We will do the designing and beautification work by setting stones at the entrance and inside as well. Since the maintenance of a model park is an issue as we have to arrange for guards as well, plans are on to convert one park into a model park as if now.”
Nirala accepted the fact that the parks have no space for people to sit and children to play. “I agree that trees are planted unevenly in the middle of the parks and this causes inconvenience to the visitors. But we can’t do anything or cut the trees. These have been planted like this since the establishment of sector,” he adds.
Regarding the regular cleaning of sewerlines, Yadav also instructed the concerned officials to arrange for proactive cleaning. “Rather than waiting for the residents’ complaints about the overflowing of sewerlines, it is important for officials to arrange regular cleaning,” said Yadav.
August 19, 2013
(Photograph by Greg Girard, For National Geographic Thomas K. Grose \For National Geographic )
Bus Rapid Transit lanes in Guangzhou, China, have helped that city manage traffic congestion. A new IEA report rounds up strategies that cities around the world can use to increase energy efficiency as urban populations grow and transit demand increases.
City dwellers accustomed to regular traffic jams and road rage may shudder at the prospect of the world’s urban areas getting even more crowded.
Nonetheless, such growth is assured: The percentage of people living in cities is expected to reach 70 percent by 2050, and roadway occupancy levels could increase sixfold in some countries, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The energy needed to move all of those people around will double, the agency says in a report released Wednesday, and managing the negative environmental and economic effects of this growth could cost countries billions of dollars.
There is, however, another way forward. The IEA report, titled “A Tale of Renewed Cities,” recommends several proven strategies for enhancing the energy efficiency of metropolitan transport systems. Drawing from examples in more than 30 cities around the world, the report details a three-pronged approach to managing transit amid ever-growing urban populations.
“Avoid, Shift, and Improve”
Global transportation accounts for 20 percent of the world’s energy use, and 40 percent of that consumption occurs in cities. “The need for efficient, affordable, safe and high-capacity transport solutions will become more acute,” Maria van der Hoeven, IEA director, said at a press conference that was webcast live from the Paris office of the agency, which was created in 1974 to promote energy security. “Urgent steps to improve the efficiency of urban transport systems are needed not only for energy security reasons, but also to mitigate the numerous negative climate, noise, air pollution, congestion and economic impacts of rising urban transport volumes.”
The IEA report calls for incentives to reduce regular travel, increase use of non-motorized or mass transit, and boost the use of cleaner, energy-efficient vehicles. This “avoid, shift, and improve” strategy could, between now and 2050, help cities save at least $70 trillion because of reduced spending on petroleum, roadway infrastructure, and vehicles.
Walter Hook, director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), a New York think tank that promotes environmentally sustainable transportation, said the IEA report’s recommendations were similar to the ITDP’s. “We agree with the ‘avoid, switch, improve’ approach, also,” he said. While the $70 trillion savings figure might be somewhat “volatile,” Hook added, “if anybody knows the fuel ramifications [of urbanization] it would be the International Energy Agency, because of what they do.”
The IEA report highlights the fact that urban travel has become overly reliant on automobiles. In 2000, there were around 625 million passenger cars on the world’s roads; as of 2010, that number had grown to 850 million. The growth in car ownership has, according to the report, “led to significant shifts away from non-motorized transport and public-transport modes, even in dense areas.”
That trend is continuing. The IEA projects that the world’s stock of motorized vehicles will double by 2050, stoking roadway occupancy levels. Beyond the high economic costs of time spent not moving in traffic jams, the IEA said, the growing number of cars is negatively affecting the environment and the health and safety of city residents. For instance, the World Health Organization says that road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds. Overall, traffic mishaps cause 1.3 million deaths a year and cost more than $500 billion. (See related pictures:
Policies designed to help residents avoid inefficient travel include the promotion of telecommuting and carpooling, and construction of high-density, mixed-use developments that enable residents to live, work, and indulge in leisure pursuits in one area. The “shift” part of the strategy involves policies that promote affordable and efficient mass-transit systems, parking restrictions, congestion-zone charges, and dedicated lanes for buses and bicycles, all to encourage a switch away from private cars.
To improve the use of cars still on the road, the IEA argues for tougher fuel-economy standards, fiscal incentives to encourage greater use of hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles (EVs), and planning for EV charging stations. (See related story
No Magic Bullets
The report, however, noted that while policies aimed at getting more fuel-efficient cars on roads can cut energy consumption and emissions, they’re not terribly effective when applied by themselves, because they can also encourage more travel and car ownership. “Consequently, it is preferable to pair ‘improve’ policies with ‘avoid’ and ‘shift’ measures to ensure that gains from vehicle and fuel improvements are not lost to increased motorized travel,” it said.
The IEA report largely takes a best-practices approach, and includes a large number of successful policies that have been implemented in cities ranging from Nashville to Shanghai to Lagos, Nigeria.
New York City introduced express bus services that within a year cut travel times by 11 minutes, which helped increase ridership.
Seoul reformed a bus system that had rewarded drivers who allowed overcrowded buses and drove recklessly. The improvements led to increased ridership, and faster and safer journeys.
Belgrade, Serbia, tripled its urban rail system’s passenger numbers within six months of a major overhaul of the network.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, which use bus networks that are akin to light-rail systems but at a fraction of the cost, have proved to be big hits in cities such as Lagos, Buenos Aires, and Guangzhou, China.
Bus-only lanes have helped ease congestion in many cities, too, including Buenos Aires and Shanghai.
San Francisco implemented in 2011 a digital, real-time pilot parking management system to ease congestion. It’s being tested on 7,000 metered spaces. SFpark, as it’s called, tells motorists where parking is available, and uses demand-responsive pricing to cut demand in crowded areas.
The report also stressed that there are few one-size-fits-all solutions, and placed cities into four different categories—developing, sprawling, congested, and multi-modal—each requiring a different mix of remedies. What works in New York City would not necessarily work in Seoul, Didier Houssin, IEA director of sustainable technology policy, told the press conference.
How likely is it that the world’s city planners will heed the report’s recommendations? ITDP’s Hook said that the chances are good. “Most cities are moving in this direction anyway, though not necessarily for fuel reasons. Most do not want people to live in traffic-congested, air-polluted cities,” he said.
And even though too many fast-growing cities in India, China, and Africa are still headed the wrong way, toward the old car-oriented paradigm, Hook said, “some are trying to respond intelligently” by overhauling creaky mass-transit systems or building new, improved ones.