₹891cr solution for Mumbai’s traffic woes

The Maharashtra cabinet has approved a Rs.891-crore Integrated Traffic Management System for Mumbai. One of the key highlights of the system is that motorists won’t have to unnecessarily wait at traffic signals on empty roads. Traffic signals will be refurbished in such a way that they re-time themselves depending on the congestion on the corridor. The software will use artificial intelligence to set signal durations and put an end to manual traffic management, said officials.

“At present, signal timings are fixed and that leads to unnecessary wastage of time and fuel. There was a need to upgrade the system,” said an official. Also, pedestrians often complain that green signal duration dedicated for walking is very short at key junctions and they end up waiting for a long time. “ITMS will equip signals to take intelligent decisions. The system will maximise safety and minimise congestion,” said a traffic police official.

Data shows that for every 1,000 people, there are 216 vehicles in the city; and there are a total of 34 lakh vehicles in Mumbai. According to a NITI aayog report, in Mumbai commuting time is at least 1.5 times more time than what it should be on a congestion-free road.

Officials said the existing system for traffic signal programming is obsolete. “The new system will use multiple technologies like 4D radars, CCTV cameras, sensors for better traffic management. The system will also help collate data on traffic density and detect violations,” said a senior official from the home department.

The ITMS will also be able to handle traffic during VIP movement or for green corridor. “The software will pass a message to all traffic signals on the route needed for VIP movement or green corridors for medical emergencies and disaster relief. The time and the route can be fed and the signals will re-time to free the stretch of traffic,” added the official.

“This is a total solution for traffic management. We have floated an expression of interest to call for bidders. The current network of CCTV cameras will be merged with ITMS,” said Amitabh Gupta, principal secretary, home department. A high-powered panel under the chief secretary will decide on the technology to be used and other details.

Once the ITMS is functional, the city traffic police plan to link it to the existing e-challan system as it will detect violations like speeding and signal-jumping.

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