Assistant inspector Tukaram Pawle clicks at the Opera House icon on his computer screen and zooms in on at the Opera House traffic junction. He sees three youngsters without helmets riding past the signal. Pawle immediately directs his deputy Umesh Sawant to call up the duty constable on his walkie talkie. The three are stopped at the next junction and booked for traffic violations. Sub inspector Aundkar calls up the Haji Ali traffic chowky as a red Sumo gets into a no-entry road and turns towards Tardeo. The vehicle is stopped 50 feet from the junction. Constable Sachin Chorge checks at CST junction near Capital cinema and finds a long queue of pedestrians waiting impatiently to cross the road. He realises the signals are not working and calls up the traffic cop to stop the zooming vehicles. Mumbai on Tuesday became the first city in the country to get a system to monitor traffic through CCTV cameras and an underground loop system, as is done in the UK and the US. Introduced for now in the island city, the underground loops or cables emit beams that help judge vehicular density at each junction while the CCTVs send visual data. Accordingly, signal systems can be modified and adapted on a daily if not hourly basis. “We will now have real-time data on vehicular movement as the loops will beam in the numbers of vehicles passing through each junction and vehicular density during peak and nonpeak hours. We will also have data on traffic movement during festivals and at other times,’’ Sanjay Barve, JCP(traffic) said. He added that a few months ago, the department had sent a team of traffic officers and constables to Spain where they were trained by the Barcelona traffic police. “Now they are wellequipped to handle these hi-tech devices,’’ Barve said. Policemen operating the hitech Area Traffic Control (ATC) system installed at the traffic police headquarters in Worli peered at the giant 7 ft by 14 ft video wall which flashed digital inputs from the 99 CCTV cameras perched atop the traffic signals. A click of the mouse was all it took to tilt the cameras and get an all-round view of the traffic flowing from all directions, as they zoomed in or froze frames on spotting a major traffic block or violation. Officials said the ATC has facilities like 167 traffic plans (signal timings) that can be adopted at any given situation. “We can send messages to the 36 variable message boards installed at traffic junctions in case of a block ahead,’’ Barve said.
Cost of the ATC project Rs 52 cr
Agencies involved: Traffic police, MMRDA, BMC
How It Works :A team of 12 traffic cops monitor the visual inputs beamed by the CCTVs installed at 99 traffic junctions in the island city. Alternatively, the underground loops laid down at roads leading to the traffic junction also beam in the number of vehicles passing through the road. The traffic cops then alert the duty constable on the road on possible traffic violations and congestion on the road