This weekly column will explore traffic, modes of transport and commuter requirements in Chennai

Ever wondered why the wait for the green signal is longer at some? It is because the Chennai traffic police keep changing the timing in accordance with the traffic flow on the respective stretches.

While the minimum waiting time at a signal can be anywhere around ten seconds, the maximum waiting time extends to nearly one-and-a-half minutes. The traffic planning wing studies the traffic density at different junctions every day, either manually or by using the cameras. “At any junction, the green signal is made to last for a longer time for the stretches with heavy traffic flow. The vehicles from the roads with lesser traffic will have to wait for a longer time at the signal,” a senior traffic police officer explained.

This is done mainly to prevent vehicle congestion on other connecting roads. “Sometimes, the traffic police officers regulate the vehicle flow manually. This way they will be able to manage the situation better and ensure that the waiting time does not cross a minute,” the officer added.

Motorists who find it difficult to wait at a signal and jump it end up paying Rs. 100 for the first time and Rs. 300 for consequent defaults. “Most motorists tend to jump signals three or four seconds before they change from red to green. This does not happen when the traffic police regulate the flow manually,” said a traffic enforcement inspector at Royapettah.

Experts feel the waiting time at a signal should not be more than 50 seconds. “It is high time that traffic signal synchronisation is done in the city. But for that, the ongoing Metro Rail work has to be completed,” a senior traffic police officer says.

Sick aviation sector to get a breather?

If you thought the Indian aviation sector was down in the doldrums, then think again. A whopping 60 million passengers are expected to be travelling within the country in 2014.

The source is actually aviation consultant Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), which predicts that the arrival of Air Asia India later this year may further push up the number.

The business for airlines had been rather depressing this last year. All airlines, put together, suffered a loss of $500 million in September 2013, with Jet Airways, among the private players, topping the list with a loss of $150 million, a CAPA report said.

Despite this, two major ventures of Tata group — a $30 million deal with Air Asia and a $100 million deal with Singapore Airlines — are expected to enter the Indian aviation scene soon. “Such a gloom in the aviation sector is short-term and may gradually improve. As things get better, the players may want to get a piece of action in this business. Moreover, the vacuum created by Kingfisher’s exit is yet to be filled up by the existing airlines; so, the new entrants may pick up easily,” a civil aviation ministry official said.

Not just that, it may trigger a price war that may prove to be beneficial for passengers, say officials of Airports Authority of India. “As such, we witness airlines offering very low rates to several destinations. When these two enter the field, passengers may get better deals,” an official said.

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