Nearly 1,500 vehicles are added to Bangalore’s roads every day, making daily commuting an ordeal.
The Hindu caught up with Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) B.S. Lokesh Kumar to discuss the present mess and the way out.
Q. Why are the city roads bursting with vehicles? A. A recent study carried out by the Bangalore traffic police found that city roads, in their present condition, can accommodate only 15 lakh vehicles against the staggering 46 lakh that ply on the roads. There is little scope for road-widening. The addition of 1,500 vehicles every day is worsening the problem. Also, 40 per cent of the road network in the city is not motorable owing to various development works that are going on.
With vehicle numbers growing, what is the alternative for the city traffic police?
The 4,000-strong traffic police force is woefully inadequate to handle 46 lakh vehicles. However, we plan to employ technology as a solution. We will soon have a ‘video wall’ that is coming up under B-TRAC at a cost of Rs. 20 crore. Under it, traffic movement will be monitored online. The existing traffic automation centre which has several TV screens to manage traffic will be replaced by a gigantic screen. Traffic movement in the entire city can be monitored on a single screen. This will ease the pressure on the traffic police who can do real-time traffic management along with recording violations. This will help us make better use of human resources.
Around 175 traffic junctions have surveillance cameras. At present, the footage is watched live on 12 5” LCD monitors at the Traffic Automation Centre. After relocation, surveillance camera footage will be displayed on the video wall that will be 10ft in height and 72ft wide. The video wall will facilitate real-time viewing of footage from the surveillance cameras.
In addition to this, the traffic police are also adding 100 more CCTV cameras at major traffic junctions.
There are many hurdles to ensuring smooth flow of traffic on roads where work is going on. How do the traffic police cope?
Traffic congestion occurs owing to various reasons such as roadworks, bad roads, footpath encroachment, flooding and felling of trees. Though the civic agencies should help, they rarely turn up on time. Any delay by them worsens the traffic situation. Hence, we have set up Garuda, a traffic police vehicle that is equipped with motor to pump out water, implements to chop branches, cut uprooted trees that disrupt traffic movement, and even clear unscientific speed-breakers.