Key proposal in traffic safety plan of road safety authority

Citizens may soon be able to hire registered taxis by calling a toll-free number, which will be linked to a cellphone-based closed user group network of government-accredited cab drivers.

T.P. Senkumar, Additional Director-General of Police and Transport Commissioner, says the proposed “Taxi Net” is a key proposal in the Kerala State Road Safety Authority's traffic safety action plan.

He says the main aim of “Taxi Net” is to discourage taxi drivers from parking their vehicles on the sides of congested urban roads. A final decision in the matter will be taken after considering the opinions of all stakeholders.

At present, the traffic volume in major cities already exceeds their available road space by 200 per cent. He says there are more than 55 lakh vehicles in the State. The number is expected to increase to 1.5 crore by 2020.

Haphazard parking of vehicles on roadsides, particularly in front of marriage halls and cinemas, is a major cause for traffic congestion. The authority has proposed construction of multi-tier parking lots and introduction of paid parking at all commercial centres.

It has proposed staggering of school time to reduce rush-hour traffic in the three main cities of the State. In Thiruvananthapuram, there are more than 1,400 schools with a total of 5.5 lakh enrolled students.

In future, motorists will have to pay a small fee for using selected urban roads during peak hours.

More immediately, Metro Traffic Viewer (MTV) systems, comprising scores of surveillance and security cameras linked to a centralised control room through a secure fibre-optic cable network, will be installed in Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

The auto focus cameras can track and capture fast-moving objects with “exceptional clarity” up to a distance of 500 m at night, including the registration number plates of speeding vehicles.

The system will bring important junctions, bus stops, roads and shopping localities in cities under non-stop police surveillance.

The police say the expansive security camera network will work as a “force multiplier” and enhance their ability to detect and apprehend criminals (chiefly drug peddlers, pickpockets, chain snatchers and those who harass women in public places).

Law enforcers say the cameras will instil a sense of security among law-abiding citizens, chiefly women and children travelling alone. They say that potential offenders will feel a higher risk of getting caught.

The MTV will be further augmented by scores of automatic cameras linked to speed sensors to take snapshots of vehicles which speed and jump traffic signal lights.

The gadget integrates vehicle speed detection radars, night-vision-enabled cameras with zoom-in capability, powerful flash lights, and traffic signal violation sensors in a single device.