Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The first batch of volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad

The first batch of volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad, a
Bangalore Mirror
initiative, gets a hands-on experience of the state-of the-art Traffic Management Centre, which monitors traffic infractions in the city 24/7. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Praveen Sood puts them through the paces

All the habitual traffic offenders take note. You are watched every minute of the day and you can’t escape all the 167 surveillance cameras in the city always. The first interactive session between the volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad and Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) Praveen Sood was an eye opener of sorts for all concerned. For the first time, these volunteers got a sneak peek of Traffic Management Centre at Ashok Nagar police station. The centre is a one-stop-shop that controls everything from the street lights to the cameras at the signals to spotting traffic offenders. It houses the best technology to keep our roads as safe as possible.
There were many in the first batch of the volunteers of Bangalore Traffic Squad who had no clue just how technologically advanced the cops really were. One message that really hit hard was just how much the people sitting in the control room could see. The eye in the sky was in fact very close to earth. The group watched as the camera at a traffic signal, that had seemed like a distant UFO, zoomed in on registration plates of people breaking rules. You got on the footpath and your number was noted; you had your helmet hanging on the handle bar, your number was noted, you picked your nose that just got recorded!
“If you think that the government does nothing in their offices, this is the right place for you to come,” said Sood as he took them through all the technical razzmataz. So impressed were the volunteers that they swore off any attempt to break rules- ever. “I think the best deterrent factor is get people here and have them take a look at how closely they are observed. We are on our best behaviour only when we know that people are watching,” said Mandeep Bhuthalia, one volunteer.
“It looks like a scene straight out of a James Bond movie, with multiple screens spread across the wall that tells you exactly what happens all over the city at the click of a mouse,” said Angika Sudarshan. While Sood explained how the centre functioned, the volunteers also pitched in with suggestions and questions about the roads. “What happens to the fines that we pay, how many people have been identified for driving on the footpath, how do we deal with auto drivers, why so we allow a U-turn on Airport Road... “ the questions were endless.
The volunteers will be working closely with the Traffic department to help keep problems in check in problematic junctions like Dairy Circle, Bannerghatta Road, Sarjapur Junction, Madivala Checkpost among others.
Nine LCD screens, 20 cops and 167 surveillance cameras: A synchronisation of these is what is behind the challan that you get for committing a traffic violation on the roads. The synchronisation happens at the Traffic Management Centre in Ashoknagar. Resultant effect: Over 1000traffic violators are caught on camera every day.
At the centre, there are several LCD screens that are mounted on the wall and they are connected to computers. These screens show a grid of nine small screens that air traffic movements captured through cameras that are installed at several junctions across the city. These are cameras that you get see at the traffic junctions —- all you have to do is to look up the signal lights to spot it. The cameras are of two types: Surveillance cameras and enforcement cameras.
All the cameras are connected to the centre through cables installed by BSNL. The cameras can zoom in and capture the number plates of the vehicles. The number is transmitted to the automation computer, which has a database of all vehicles. Subsequently, the address of the violator is ferreted and a challan is sent to him. The violator can pay the penalty at any of the Bangalore One centres.


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