December 10, 2014

In a modern busy metropolis, traffic congestion is a major hurdle in our journey to create a Smart City that everyone is talking about. A congestion management plan must take into consideration all relevant factors like the ever-exploding vehicle population on the road, geometry of the city roads, travel needs of citizens, and the needs of various administering authorities having jurisdiction in parts or whole of the city.

No single approach can be best-suited for managing congestion. In event of mismatch or clash of jurisdictions, divergent or conflicting visions of the decision-making authorities, or ideological differences between and the availability and conditioning of external funds, a consensus-based approach scores over the conventional vision or plan-based approach, effective stakeholder-collaboration often delivers.

It is important to bear in mind that a consensus-based approach often leads to delay and inaction unless such consensus can be reached quickly and in a sustainable manner. By contrast, a plan-based approach is heavily dependent on professional planners, and the needs of some stakeholders including bureaucrats and politicians could have been missed or ignored. This approach is also subjective in that the absence from the office of the person with the vision could derail the process altogether.

A key enabler in a consensus-based approach is the formulation of the strategy through consensus, commitment and public support for a better understanding of congestion problems, and must lead to creation of innovative solutions with public support and acceptability. Taking concerns and objections of the public into account early in the implementation phase often proves cost-effective in the long run. Such an approach can effectively stem breakdowns in the process.
To be honest to ourselves, we must accept that there are no “miracle” solutions – long-term congestion outcomes will only be delivered through a well-framed process that addresses congestion in all its aspects at the metropolitan level in ways that include:
• Understanding what congestion is and how it affects the urban region.
• Developing and monitoring relevant congestion indicators.
• Releasing existing capacity or creating additional capacity using new infrastructure
• Managing demand for road and parking space consistent with a shared vision on how the city should develop.

The success or failure that cities experience in tackling congestion will ultimately depend on how well they organize themselves to carry out the task they set for themselves. The ability of policy makers and their collaborators to define correct objectives is thus fundamental for congestion management, and is a critical stepping stone for achieving a Smart City status

By Sudipto Chakarvaty

Traffic penalties in mobile app

August 27, 2014

The Gurgaon Police on Monday added the traffic penalties feature to its Mobile App in a bid to increase public transparency. It is the third feature added to the App.

Speaking on the occasion, Police Commissioner Alok Mittal said it was aimed at helping the masses know about various traffic offences, fines associated with them and relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Mr. Mittal said offenders could now know the penalty for a violation within a few seconds with the help of this feature. This meant that police personnel could not fool or seek bribe from motorists. The aim is to empower the motorists, said Mr. Mittal.

“For example, if someone is caught not using a seat belt or wearing a helmet, one can now know the fine amount. If a cop is demanding a higher fine, the commuter cannot be fooled,” said Mr. Mittal.

The App was launched by the Gurgaon Police three months ago in a bid to bridge the gap between citizens and the police. Launched across major platforms like Android, iOS and Windows Phone, it is simple and many features do not need Internet access.

Source:The HIndu

Delhi to have 8,000 CCTV cameras by 2015

August 4, 2014

By the end of 2015, the city will be placed under the watch of 8,000 cameras, announced Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi on Sunday.

At present, the Delhi Police have just over 4,000 cameras which are installed mainly in busy market areas, traffic intersections and borders for round-the-clock surveillance. The footage captured by these is monitored at the district control rooms by the traffic wing and at the Delhi Police’s Command, Control, Communication, Computing and Intelligence (C4i) centre.

Mr. Bassi was speaking while inaugurating a CCTV Camera Project at Civil Lines under the Delhi Police Neighbourhood Watch Scheme at Shah Auditorium here. Under the project, funded by Residents’ Welfare Association Club Class, 67 CCTV cameras have been installed at various places including the market area, all the entry and exit gates of Civil Lines, and other important points.

What makes this project the first of its kind in Delhi is that the footage captured in these cameras can be viewed at a control room in Civil Lines police station in real time. In all other localities where RWAs have placed cameras, the footage is first recorded and then the recordings are made available to the police on request.

The total cost of the project is around Rs.20 lakh.

Mr. Bassi said the technology used by the Delhi Police is far more advanced and a similar project, if taken up by the Delhi Police, would have cost between Rs.70 lakh to Rs.80 lakh. He also acknowledged that in the past, funds sanctioned for such purposes have never been enough to cover entire Delhi under CCTV surveillance.

He said: “It is good that city residents are coming up with surveillance projects fully funded by themselves. It will be of great help to the police in combating crime in the Capital.”

Source:The Hindu

Traffic woes as city grows

July 17, 2014

Experts feel that a lot needs to be done for traffic management in Chennai, including better lane management and seamless transit between lanes. Photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu Experts feel that a lot needs to be done for traffic management in Chennai, including better lane management and seamless transit between lanes. Photo: M. Vedhan
Though the traffic police have made arrangements to ease vehicle movement, residents of Anna Nagar, P.H. Road and Broadway, among others, feel the measures are inadequate

Travelling on certain arterial stretches in the city has become an ordeal especially during peak hours, thanks to the one-ways, traffic diversions and narrowing down of roads for ongoing Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) work.

During the rush hours in the morning and evening, the city’s traffic moves at snail’s pace. The honking of vehicles and the wail of ambulances that struggle to find a way through hordes of motorists, on some stretches, resonate for a long time.

Though the Chennai traffic police claim to have made arrangements, including one-way routes and traffic diversions, to ease vehicle movement, residents feel the measures are inadequate. “For travelling a few hundred meters, we take a detour of four kilometres. Every resident of Anna Nagar and Kilpauk has harrowing experiences,” said S. Arvind, a medical representative and resident of Anna Nagar.

V. Nagasundaram, secretary of Anna Nagar Welfare Association, says the locality lacks pedestrian crossing, traffic signals and traffic personnel at the main junctions. Shanthi Colony Main Road and Thirteenth Main Road present a classic example. “Crossing the roads is a nightmare, especially for senior citizens and children, because of one-ways,” he said. Moreover, the construction of a flyover near Thirumangalam junction has thrown traffic off gear.

The problem is not particular to Anna Nagar. Traffic policemen on Poonamallee High Road, too, complain that the problem gets aggravated during peak hours, especially near Chennai Central Railway station and Kilpauk Medical College. “There has been an increase in awareness to pave way for ambulances. Otherwise, it would have been difficult for the vehicles to get to the hospitals on time,” said a policeman.

Another location where traffic is chaotic is Broadway as the road has become narrow. “The presence of the market worsens the situation. It is becoming increasingly difficult to enter Madras High Court,” said V.S. Suresh, an advocate.

Traffic experts feel that a lot needs to be done for traffic management in Chennai. In Delhi, during the CMRL construction, though there were disruptions, an efficient traffic management plan helped ease congestion in some areas, said Rohit Baluja, president of Indian Road Traffic Education.

“In Chennai, they should have good lane management that would make transit between lanes well tapered and seamless. For instance, they could put the two- and three-wheelers in one lane and the four-wheelers in the other,” he said.

Establishing traffic engineering centres and training people is crucial to conducting surveys and providing better solutions for traffic congestion,he added.

Meanwhile, officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited said they intimate the traffic police about any change in their work one month in advance. “They then work out routes for diversions on the concerned road. In some areas, we employ more than two workers to control traffic,” an official said.

Source: The Hindu

Banglore Police gearing up to go Hi-Tech

July 15, 2014

A state-of-the-art system, similar to the Traffic Management Centre, is to be set up at the Police Commissioner’s office

After helping the traffic police keep an eye on violators, technology is again to be put to good use in maintaining law and order.

A ‘state-of-the-art’ system, similar to the Traffic Management Centre, is expected to be set up at the Police Commissioner’s office in Banglore.

Speaking at a press conference  on Monday, Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar said that 18 police stations in the central business district are to be covered in the first phase under the system. A budget of Rs. 8.5 crore is allotted for this phase. Funds from the Mega City Policing Plan (MCPP) would be utilised for this purpose, he said. Mr. Auradkar was responding to Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw’s suggestion of extending CCTV cameras installed at traffic junctions to keep track of crimes in addition to traffic violations.

Mr. Auradkar said the State government, at the behest of the city police, had sought an increase in the penalty for traffic violations. “The fine for parking violation is only Rs.100. Many people prefer paying this instead of paying the parking fee of Rs. 150 an hour at a mall,” he said.

A decision on this will have to come from the Centre by amending the Motor Vehicles Act, he said.

source:The Hindu

Project to install high-speed traffic cameras fails to take off

April 16, 2014

Hindustan Times (Delhi)

Subhendu Ray

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.

Source -

Road widening jams Sgr-Jmu highway

October 31, 2013

Jammu,  : The ongoing widening work along the Jammu-Udhampur road stretch of 286-km-long Jammu-Srinagar highway is triggering daily traffic chaos, giving tough time to commuters.A number of narrow diversions and ongoing digging at short distances, starting right from the last stop of Udhampur city onward to Jammu, slow down the traffic and cause frequent jams.

Pertinently widening of Jammu-Udhampur road is part of the National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI’s) flagship project of four-laning of Jammu-Srinagar Highway.

“In view of ongoing work, it takes three to four hours to reach Jammu from Udhampur,” said a commuter.

The situation is worst from Tirkri to Jajjarkotly as many stretches along the road have been reduced to a single lane.

The NHAI has divided the Jammu-Srinagar Highway four-laning project into six sub-projects,  including Jammu-Udhampur road (65 kms),  construction of Chenani-Nashri tunnel (12 kms), Udhampur- Ramban  road (43 kms)  Ramban –Banihal  road (36 kms), Banihal- Qazigund- road (15.25 kms) and Qazigund – Srinagar road (67.7 kms).

The widening work along the Udhampur-Jammu road stretch includes four tunnels besides equal number of flyovers and bridges. The longest tunnel is of 540 meters length while others three are of 330 meters, 300 meters and 210 meters. The NHAI has fixed May 2016 as deadline for completion of the project.


Amidst uncertainty over utility, AMC inaugurates skywalk

September 17, 2013

Niraj Chinchkhede, TNN

AURANGABAD: Amidst doubts over the feasibility of the skywalk built by the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) near the central bus stand, the authorities threw it open for the general public on Tuesday. MLA Pradeep Jaiswal inaugurated the facility in presence of mayor Kala Oza, deputy mayor Sanjay Joshi and others.

The city’s first skywalk, built across the busy road near the central bus stand, was completed around 15-20 days back but was rarely being used by commuters. It has been pointed out by many that the climb on the ‘faulty’ steps of the bridge was a steep one. Nevertheless, speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Oza claimed that the skywalk would be of great use to senior citizens, ladies and kids. “They can now cross the road with ease,” she said.

Deputy mayor Sanjay Joshi said that the municipal body had spent Rs 50 lakh to build the skywalk to streamline the flow of traffic near the bus stand. He appealed to citizens to avoid ‘risky’ method of road crossing and use the skywalk instead. However, when asked whether the authorities would penalise those skipping the skywalk and crossing the road on foot, Joshi said, “We are not in favour of imposing penalty. But we will definitely create awareness in this regard.”

Commenting on the pattern of the skywalk, Joshi said the designed was approved by technical experts and refused to accept that commuters were not making use of it.

“It is a newly introduced system that will take some time to click. Looking at the growing traffic in the area, people will surly use the facility,” he said.

Earlier, expressing doubts over it, member of Marathwada Development Board Vijay Diwan had said that the planners should have designed the steps keeping in mind the old and the disabled. “There should have been more landing space between the steps,” he said. He felt escalators would have been the best option but would have been a costly affair for the AMC.

Corporator Krishna Bankar has also expressed his dissatisfaction over the construction of the facility.

He appealed to the municipal administration to consider installation of automatic steps while designing such facilities at other locations in the city.

PMC to survey parking trends on main city roads

September 13, 2013

Ajay Khape : Pune,

Overcrowding of roads by private vehicles and parking problems have prompted the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to undertake a survey of parking trends on main city roads.

The city has been facing serious traffic problems owing to inefficient public transport system, forcing citizens to use private vehicles.

“The civic administration will carry out a survey of parking trends on main city roads. This data will help us solve various traffic and parking-related problems,” said Additional City Engineer Srinivas Bonala.

The survey would be carried out through a private agency, which will gather information on vehicles parked every hour during peak hours from 8 am to noon and 6 pm to 10 pm. The agency will also have to provide details of parking space on city roads. “Once the data is compiled, it will be easier to analyse the number of private vehicles on city roads. It will also help find whether there is sufficient parking space available on main roads,” said a civic officer.

He said the data will help the civic administration in framing a policy to address the traffic and parking issue.


MKCL to undertake online recruitment of civic employees

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) standing committee on Wednesday approved the proposal seeking appointment of Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Ltd (MKCL) to implement the online recruitment for the civic body. The civic administration had proposed that MKCL be allowed to carry out the recruitment of civic staff through its special online service. “The committee members felt the civic body should allow MKCL to operate for six months and assess their performance,” said Vishal Tambe, Chairperson, Standing Committee. He said MKCL will not carry out the recruitment Class I officers. As per the requirement, the civic body will float tenders after six months.



source -

Congestion charge for improved mobility faces feasibility question

September 10, 2013

Manish Umbrajkar, TNN


PUNE: During his visit to the city last week, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had said Puneites should be prepared to cough up a congestion charge for better traffic management, in tune with a union government suggestion asking cities to explore imposing a congestion charge to decongest central business areas and improve mobility of people.

But traffic officials in Pune point out that the idea is impractical to implement and one which the municipal corporation has to take a decision on. Civic officials say it’s a “difficult charge” to impose.


 The Union ministry of urban development had in January this year urged state governments to consider introducing congestion charges. This month the ministry has once again asked the authorities to get a proper study done on various aspects of congestion charging system as per the city’s requirement. The ministry has even offered to bear 80% of the study’s cost.

“Mobility in medium and big cities is a huge challenge due to congestion during peak hours, which is mainly due to excessive use of private vehicles. There is a need to resolve the congestion issues urgently for improving mobility of people,” secretary of the Union ministry of urban development, Sudhir Krishna, stated in a letter addressed to all chief secretaries.


‘Excessive use of private vehicles’ on limited road space available is inefficient use of precious urban land. There is a need to discourage the use of private vehicles in select core areas of the city to increase the mobility of people at large, so that they can reach their workplaces, business centres and shops in time, without losing valuable working man hours, Krishna said in his letter. The congestion charge is premised on a basic concept – “charge a price in order to allocate a scarce resource to its most valuable use”. However, before introducing the congestion charge, the pre-condition is that there should be a good public transport system in place in the concerned city and proper facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, Krishna said.


The ministry has also cited case studies of congestion charging in central London and Singapore. “There are several cities the world over where congestion charges in one form or the other area being charged from private vehicles for many years. It is desirable to study the congestion pricing system in these cities in detail, and devise our own method. The results of congestion pricing in foreign cities have been impressive. Traffic in central London went down by about 21% and traffic speeds went up by about 10%,” Krishna wrote.


Municipal commissioner Mahesh Pathak wasn’t convinced with the road congestion tax suggestion for Pune. “It would be very difficult to implement. There are multiple entry or exit points. Moreover, there is no city in the country where such a tax is being collected,” said Pathak.

Senior traffic officials say such a tax should be ideally implemented, since it will help reduce traffic congestion. However, it is for the municipal corporation to decide on levying such a tax, the traffic officials said.


PMC and traffic police proposals on congestion tax

** In August 2007, the then municipal commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi had floated the idea of levying a new vehicle tax to arrest the growth of vehicular traffic. The proposed tax was proposed in addition to the registration charges and taxes paid to the Regional Transport Office, and if implemented, it would have been calculated based on the number of vehicles owned by a family. “We need to discourage the number of personal vehicles in the city, which are growing at an alarming speed,” he had said. The proposal did not work out, with staunch political opposition.

** The comprehensive mobility plan of the Pune Municipal Corporation has suggested introduction of both “physical and fiscal measures to discourage use of personal motor vehicles”

** The Pune traffic police in November 2009 sent a proposal to levy congestion charges on some of the busy city roads passing through the central peth areas of the city for reducing traffic. Besides proposing congestion charges, the traffic police had also stressed on the need to ban four-wheelers and two-wheelers on some busy roads, and turn them into walkways for citizens. The proposal also said that heavy parking charges should be collected from vehicle owners in the congested areas




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