Regulating the flow of traffic at night

Last Updated 19 March 2014, 13:35 IST

Many Bangaloreans have embraced the extended nightlife deadline and are soaking in every bit of that extra pint or two. No wonder the Bangalore Traffic Police is contemplating ways to deal with the increased traffic movement at night.

The Bangalore Traffic Police will soon reset the signal lights at prominent junctions to regulate the flow of traffic till late in the night. Instead of blinkers, one will find signal lights flashing in red, green and yellow just like they do during the day.

However, the resetting of signal lights raises an important question of whether people will follow traffic rules in the absence of a traffic cop? Will this lead to more accidents and cases of overspeeding and signal jumping?

Bangaloreans are certainly unhappy with the proposition of signal lights compensating for the lack of traffic personnel and think that only the presence of a cop will instill fear in people to comply with the rules.

Metrolife interacted with the traffic police and citizens to understand if resetting signal lights is a good option and the repercussions of the same.

Additional commissioner of police (traffic), B Dayananda, explains that every signal in the City is set according to the vehicular density of that particular stretch. There are more than 330 signals and each of these change at least six times a day and are set to different timings on different days of the week. Every signal can be operated and changed from the Traffic Management Centre (TMC).

“Every signal light is tuned to change colour within a certain number of seconds. This is to facilitate a smooth flow of traffic from all four directions. If we allow traffic to flow continuously from only one direction, the other sides will suffer,” he explains. Talking specifically about resetting signal lights on weekends, Dayananda says, “We have to first study the situation and analyse the flow of traffic after 11 pm. In some places, the signal lights are set to 60 seconds while in others with a huge traffic flow, the timings are altered accordingly.”

Does Dayananda think that people will follow traffic rules in the absence of a cop? “People must follow traffic rules at all times. The TMC receives real-time data from the field which can be viewed on the monitor and the changes in the timing of signal lights are made accordingly. The changes are then communicated to the local police officers on the field through a wireless system and fines are slapped,” reasons Dayananda.
  The ordinary commuters are peeved with the traffic police. They are doubtful about their claim that the signals are timed after a thorough study and insist that only the presence of a cop will compel people to follow rules. Raja, an employee with TCS, feels that cops are not present at all junctions after 11 pm.

“Resetting the signal lights will not help monitor the flow of traffic unless there are policemen to keep a watch on people who may be tempted to jump signals or even overspeed,” he feels.
 Satavisa Chaudhary, a researcher, fears that anything could happen on the roads in the dead of the night in the absence of cops. “Personally, I am not in favour of an extended deadline for nightlife but now that it has come into effect, I think there must be enough cops late at night,” explains Satavisa.

Pooja Sampath, another working professional, observes, “People are tempted to jump signals and not follow the rules when cops go missing. There’s some discipline in the presence of a policeman. Resetting signal lights is of no use.” 

(Published 19 March 2014, 13:35 IST)

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