Indian cities weren’t planned to deal with the present count of population and vehicles on its roads. But now when we have a traffic problem, coming up with innovative traffic management solutions seems like the best bet.Bangalore’s BTRAC is indeed a state of the art technology to deal with traffic woes.
At first look, Bangalore Traffic Improvement Project’s (BTRAC) headquarters looks like a miniature command centre of the US’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Large screens relay live images from junctions, while a geographic information system renders traffic-congestion levels into a map veined with red, yellow and green.
Traffic policemen at four-screen consoles monitor the 316 “signalized” junctions in the city, about half of which have Bosch Security System’s hi-tech, remotely operable, pan-tilt-zoom cameras.
The system makes use of “intelligent signalling”. There are sensors beneath the road-surface. If the traffic stops flowing before green time is up, the light automatically trips.
Junctions that do not have video cameras depend on a system developed by Mapunity. It uses data from Bharti Airtel Ltd’s cellphone network and global positioning systems (GPS) deployed on 600 buses to estimate traffic speeds. While Airtel feeds data about density of cellphones in an area, GPS relays information about bus speeds and location. The data is analysed to spot areas of congestion. A map at BTRAC’s centre then translates this data into visual codes.
Further challenges were posed by Indian conditions. For instance, US products for reading license plates cannot be used here because of the difference in US and Indian licence plate standards. So Delhi-based Kritikal Solutions Pvt. Ltd was roped in to read numbers off licence plates using a camera. Kritikal has its own algorithm for pattern-recognition programmes.
The implementation of BTRAC,which started in 2008 and completed in 2010 , has resulted in effective traffic enforcement, traffic regulations, and prevention of accidents. e-Governance Award of the Union Government has been given to the BTRAC project. last year.