Thursday, April 30, 2009

Traffic lights go on the blink

Traffic lights go on the blink
Commuters Left Confused In Many Parts Of The City
Aarthi R | TNN

Bangalore: ‘Stop’ says red, ‘Get ready’ says amber and ‘Go’ says green. But, when all three lights come on or off at the same time at a traffic signal, what does it mean?
“Very confusing,’’ say commuters across the city who are seeing this happen too often at a few junctions. Signals at South End Circle don’t work; at Hosakerehalli Cross and parts of Ring Road, all the three lights glow simultaneously. Near Jyothi School on Hennur Main Road, the lights operate at erratic intervals, causing frequent jams during peak hours.
Nearly invisible poles is another problem. “No signal, grey poles by the roadside and a hardly noticeable traffic policeman standing in a corner, trying to tame late evening traffic — I almost met with an accident a couple of days back,’’ complains a commuter from Jayanagar.
As per specifications set by the Indian Roads Congress (IRC), all traffic signal poles need to be painted yellow for greater visibility, especially during the night. But, almost all new poles in the city are bluish-grey. “The grey poles might violate the IRC norms and also cause problems to night traffic. Even the old signals we had were painted yellow. Why change of colour all of a sudden?’’ asks traffic expert M N Sreehari.
The erratic signals at places might be due to improper survey done at the time of erecting the poles. “While setting up these traffic signals, one needs to take into account the traffic count, volume count and the saturation flow at the junctions. But, considering that close to 300 new signals have hit the city recently, I doubt if they had time to look into all these parameters at every junction’’ he said.
Additional commissioner of police (traffic & security) Praveen Sood, however, says the new signals are all according to IRC norms. “The IRC says poles must be preferably painted yellow, but it is not mandatory. Before the B-TRAC came in, even the 160 old signals were not uniformly yellow. Many of them were also blue and so we chose to retain the same,’’ he explains. Apart
from the
colour, all other IRC norms have been checked on. This includes height and width of the signal panels, he said.
For the past week, commuters in many parts of South Bangalore were taken by surprise seeing traffic being manually controlled by policemen. “No fuss or error, just a simple shift for Namma Metro,’’ says the traffic department. Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has identified about 10 signals along the southern corridor which could be shifted due to work on the project. These include prominent junctions like South End Circle, R V College Teacher’s Circle and a few other junctions in Jayanagar. Work on shifting the signals is now in
progress and might take another week to be complete in all aspects.
With work on Metro now started on almost all reaches, it’s possible that at any given point, at least 5-6 existing traffic signals along the 33-km track may be in the process of being shifted. And we might not be able to shift a few of them back till the work is complete. For example, the signal at South End Circle has not been working for at least a month now and it might take time to be re-located, says Praveen Sood.
On any day, it’s possible that 5% of the signals might go defective due to various reasons. A majority is due to snapped cables and power cuts. None of them fuse as all of them have been fitted with LED panels. Time taken to rectify them depends on nature of defect. Apart from a helpline, we are also working on a system where a software can detect defective signals automatically.

Help at hand Bangalore now has 303 signals. Till 2008, the number was just 160
Setting up one traffic signal costs anywhere between Rs 5-6 lakh
Spot a signal that makes you blink on the road? Just call 22942926


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