Small lights too have a role

Meera Srinivasan

Non-conventional energy tapped for street, traffic lights

CHENNAI: Several agencies such as the Chennai Corporation and the city police are tapping non-conventional energy sources for street and traffic lights.

The Chennai Corporation proposes to install 60 solar streetlights. Energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) would be used in the streetlights, which would run on a photovoltaic cell that converts solar energy into electrical energy.

Traffic road studs, known as ‘Cat’s Eye’ installed in some areas in the city, including Cathedral Road, near Raj Bhavan, parts of Nungambakkam, Egmore and Kamaraj Salai, have caught the attention of the motorists. These small lights have been installed along the medians and in some areas, near the pavements to improve the road safety.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sunil Kumar said the Cat’s Eye installed in the city was of two varieties: those that operate on solar energy and others with reflective paints.

“As of now, we have Cat’s Eye using solar power only along Radhakrishnan Salai,” he said.

Since the ones with reflective paints came cheaper (for about one-third the price of solar power-based road studs), they were used in more areas.

“We have them installed after obtaining clearance from the [Chennai] Corporation, State and National Highways Departments, depending on whose charge the road is in. If they plan to take up road laying work, we wait till they finish and then install them,” Mr. Sunil Kumar said.

The studs helped in the demarcation of lanes for commuters, he added.

“These small lights may not illuminate the road itself, but I find them useful while driving as it is easier to keep an eye on the median, even when oncoming vehicles use bright headlights,” said P. Karthikeyan, a commuter on Radhakrishnan Salai.

Some road-users feel that the blinking lights lend a sophisticated touch to the roads.

“I think the stretches with these lights look really nice in the nights,” said Shalini Pasupathy, a motorist who uses Cathedral Road everyday.

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