Sunday, March 26

Kolkata: In a first, traffic signal posts change colours

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In a bid to make commuters as well as pedestrians in the city more aware of road rules, the traffic department has come up with an innovation with signal lights.

Since the past month, the two T-shaped traffic signal posts located at the Deshapriya Park crossing have been wrapped with LED lights in such a way that when the lights change colour, the entire posts turn red, amber or green, making it easier for motorists to see the signals, even from a distance. These two T-shaped signal posts are on two sides of the road between Lansdown and Southern Avenue. Another 10-15 major intersections will be chosen, based on the traffic and pedestrian volume at the spot, to instal such signalling systems in the next fortnight.

“We have put the LED lights on the entire signal posts at the Deshapriya crossing on an experimental basis,” said joint CP (traffic) Murlidhar Sharma. Elaborating on the advantages that the new system is likely to have, Sharma said, “The lights will be visible from a distance. Also obstructions, like trees and billboards, can be overcome.” The feedback from commuters, motorists and pedestrians has so far been positive. “If we get satisfying reviews, we will implement similar traffic signalling systems at several more major intersections in the city,” the joint CP (traffic) added.

Sharma pointed out that this system would be especially helpful for pedestrians and more so, at night as they would not have to keep checking the lights while crossing roads. Those walking would automatically understand if the lights were green or red. “For daytime, however, we are improving the effectiveness and quality for motorists,” Sharma said.

The JCP said the review of the manner in which accidents took place prompted the Kolkata Police to introduce such an innovative traffic signal system. “Also, we delved into the engineering aspects of traffic and examined the ways we could improve the system. During discussions, it came up several times that signals were sometimes not visible from far and also that pedestrians often complained that they would have to keep checking the lights while crossing roads,” Sharma told TOI.

To reach a solution, several agencies were approached. “The agency that introduced embedded traffic signal on Hyderabad roads had also presented their proposal to us. But we dismissed it because we felt only vehicles in the front would benefit from lights embedded on roads and those 100 meters away or more would not be ab;e to see the signals. We felt this might actually lead to more accidents. So, when another agency came up with the proposal to wrap the entire post with LED lights, we accepted it,” a source said.

For now, the new system might be introduced at those intersections, where vehicles moving from north to south and east to west. “Regarding more complex intersections, we may have to use a combination of traditional signals and the new one,” said Sharma.

Commuters were visibly impressed with the traffic department innovation. Amit Kayal, an executive consultant living near Rashbehari Avenue, came across the signal on Saturday. “It will definitely reduce the number of accidents. Also, vehicles moving fast will be able to control their speed from far,” said Kayal.

Ashish Ghosh, who crossed the signal while driving his car, was surprised. “This is quite innovative. We have been watching a viral video on social media that shows traffic lights being embedded on Hyderabad roads. Here it is different, but I find it perfect for a city with such heavy traffic flow. This will help motorists locate signals from a distance, which is often not the case, if bigger vehicles are in front,” Ghosh said.


Source: Times of India

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