Friday, August 21, 2009

Check signal timings, ride cool

Check signal timings, ride cool

Junction timing maps can help you to sit cool behind the wheel at intersections and also plan your travel time to reach the destination on time. City traffic police are optimising the signal timings to cut traffic congestion, Soumya Menon reports

Soumya Menon



WHILE driving to office every morning, you pass through the same junctions. And, every time, a red traffic signal forces you wait in a long line of cars. The green signals never seem to stay long. Before you reach the next junction, another red signal halts you. The signals change colours but traffic never seems to move ahead. It is very frustrating for motorists.
You may be the victim of poor traffic signal timing. Or you may not be aware of the different timings programmed for traffic lights standing at various junctions across Bangalore. Don't worry. There is an easy solution just a few clicks away.
The Bangalore City Traffic Police have devised junction timing maps for 301 intersections across the city. This will help a motorist to calculate the signal timings and plan the day accordingly to go to work, to attend a meeting or reach the airport. Although travel time may not be exact as indicated at the site, it will work easier.
Updating traffic signal timing is a cost effective way to streamline traffic flow on arterial roads and to minimise road chaos. Most of the traffic signals in Bangalore could operate more efficiently by adjusting their timing plans, coordinating adjacent signals, or updating equipment. Optimising signal timing is considered a low-cost approach to cut traffic congestion.
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praveen Sood, aware of this, said the junction timing map was drawn after the department received several email questions and suggestions from commuters.
"We've been receiving queries from people about signal timings and how they differed at various junctions. To make it easier for the public, we've made the website more user-friendly. Working people, who pass through the same junctions daily, can now take a look at their junctions on the website,'' he said.
The maps show the roads at a particular junction, one ways, U-turns, pedestrian crossings and other signals along with signal timings for each road at the junction.
"For example if a person is travelling from Hosur Road to MG Road, he or she can calculate the number of junctions on that stretch and the timings, which will show the actual travel time, also keeping in view the possible traffic congestions. The person will at least know how long he will have to wait at junctions and can set out from home a little early to reach the destination on time. The only time we will change the signal timings from the traffic management centre will be when there is a congestion. We'll have to release traffic on that road and the other side will have to wait a little longer,'' Sood said.
All you have to do is log on to www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in and click on to BTRAC 2010, and go to 'Traffic Signals' to find the police stations and junctions.
About the constant problems with traffic signals which stop working due to technical snags, Sood said at least 15 such cases are recorded every day.
"The signal is usually repaired within a couple of days, depending on the problem. Sometimes, the transmission between the TMC and signals disconnects, which results in such a problem. But these are temporary problems which can be solved,'' he said.
He said the entire traffic management system would be automated by 2012 with almost all elements of the BTRAC project moving from the pilot stage to the implementation stage.
On the glitches in the automated system, he said the variable message signboards (VMS) system was taking time to be set up.
"We've been trying to work it out at various junctions especially on Bellary Road towards Devanahalli BIA. We're facing some technical problems but will work them out soon,'' he said.

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