Friday, December 26, 2008

Elevation to Electronics City in April

Elevation to Electronics City in April

Sridhar Vivan & Sameer Ranjan Bakshi
Posted On Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 01:03:08 AM

Model of the elevated expressway on Hosur Road
Four months from now, techies driving to Electronics City can look forward to a ride that matches their glitzy workplaces. The nine km-long Electronics City elevated expressway, scheduled to open in April-May 2009, will have a number of hi-tech features, including a highway traffic management system (HTMS), e-toll, emergency call boxes, CCTVs, a variable message service (VMS) and reversible lanes.

When the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway was opened to traffic earlier this year, vehicles had to queue up for kilometres to pay the toll. The spectre of toll plaza congestion has now begun to worry Bangaloreans as the city gets ready for tolled roads (NICE, Hosur Road, Devanahalli Road and Tumkur Road). However, the Electronics City elevated road’s e-toll service should nix such concerns.

As one NHAI official told Bangalore Mirror, “You won’t need to stop at the toll plazas. The Bangalore Elevated Tollway Limited (BETL), a special purpose vehicle executing the Electronics City elevated road project, will be introducing electronic toll collection (ETC) alongside manual toll booths. ETC can handle 1,200 vehicles per hour as against 350 at manual plazas.”

The new system has not come a day too soon as the stretch presently has a density of 1.5 lakh PCUs (passenger car units) per day, a figure that is likely to increase by 10 per cent annually.

Toll on the move
ETC uses vehicle-to-roadside communication technology to perform an electronic monetary transaction between a vehicle passing through a toll plaza and the collection agency. Significantly, ETC allows transactions to be performed while vehicles travel at near-highway cruising speeds and is a great substitute for manual systems that cause toll leakages, time loss through queues, unnecessary oil consumption and pollution of the environment.

“ETC is a combination of completely automated toll collection (requiring no manual operation of toll barriers or collection of toll) and semi-automatic lanes. Various traffic and payment data are collected and stored by the system as vehicles pass through. Other benefits of e-toll collection include flexible database searches, easy data storage and configurable archive management. Fully automatic tolling includes multiple payment options (cash, smart card, debit card). Lanes at the toll plaza can be configured for optimal traffic management, including some which are restricted to pure electronic tolling and others which use manual fare collection,” explained the NHAI official.

Delhi-GURGAON Expressway: We don’t want a repeat
Amenities aplenty
Other facilities on the stretch include automatic fee collection, pedestrian safety guard rails, toilets, paved parking locations for trucks, highway patrolling, ambulances, and cranes for quick removal of vehicles after accidents, according to NHAI officials.

Reversible lanes
As the traffic flow in the morning peak hours is towards Electronics City, and in the reverse direction in the evening, NHAI is going in for a reversible lane system. Five lanes will be reserved in the direction of Electronics City in the morning, while in the evening five lanes will be reserved in the opposite direction.

Big brother
According to NHAI officials, CCTVs will be installed along the elevated road. The cameras will keep tabs on vehicular movement and will be of assistance to various departments like the police, excise and sales tax. While two CCTVs will be installed at either end of the nine-km elevated stretch, seven CCTVs will be installed at Bommanahalli, Garvebavipalya, Kudlu junction, Singasandara, Naganathapura, HP Gate and Electronics City.

VMS assistance
If you are on Hosur road and confused over which road to take (the ground-level stretch or the elevated one), VMS will come to your assistance. As the NHAI officials explained, “Probably for the first time in India, VMS will make its debut on Hosur Road. VMS comprises programmable traffic control devices which display messages composed of letters, symbols or both. It provides real-time information on the traffic situation to motorists with the objective of improving operations and reducing accidents. It also guides drivers in changing travel speed, lanes or routes.”

How it works
When a vehicle with an OBU (on board unit — an electronic tag that is fixed to the windshield) approaches a toll entry gate, the OBU receives a request from the RSU (road side unit — equipment that is mounted at the top of a gantry) and responds by sending back information such as the registration number and type of the vehicle. At the exit gate, the same process is repeated and the information collected by the RSU is sent to the central processing system, which calculates the toll amount and forwards the result to the RSU. After getting the information, the RSU deducts the requisite amount from the balance recorded in the OBU.

Emergency call boxes
There will be 24 emergency call boxes (12 on either side) along the Hosur Road stretch from Silk Board junction to Attibele (near the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border). The boxes are activated the moment someone opens the door and presses a button inside. The caller is immediately connected to the HTMS, which works 24x7. The system can identify the location of the caller even if there is no verbal communication. The call boxes will have important numbers and will prove invaluable in emergencies related to accidents, fire and crime


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