IT-enabled systems help Bangalore Traffic Police
Aditi Hastak, Bangalore Community Manager
Bangalore, 3 May 2016
The traffic situation is Bengaluru is worsening and reports of heavy congestion and road blocks are rampant throughout the day in many parts of the city. While multiple agencies like city governments, activists, planners, designers are working towards improving this situation, other areas like catching the violators, providing update about traffic, and implementing a complaint registration systems, etc. need equal attention. This article is about these multiple initiatives introduced by Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP).
The BTP is responsible for overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on city roads as well as managing the flow of traffic in the city of Bangalore. Within this arena, BTP has created multiple forums which help in educating, enforcing, and informing citizens as well as the Police to take appropriate action when needed.
Congestion and traffic blocks being a very common phenomenon, the BTP started using social media Facebook, Twitter to keep the citizens informed about such situations. The information is updated live and people get real time data. There is also a mobile SMS service to get updates as well. The traffic app has seen more than 50,000 downloads. A WhatsApp helpline has also been found helpful for traffic updates.
The most innovative initiative that BTP has taken is the BTP Public Eye. Bengaluru Traffic Police along with ichangemycity.com, a hyper local social change network and an initiative of Bengaluru-based Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, has launched the new Public Eye App in 2015. The app has seen more than 10,000 downloads as of now. It allows citizens to notify the police about violations (like no parking, wrong side driving, etc.). This is a significant program since it includes the citizens as active parts of identifying the violators.
BTP has installed enforcement cameras in several places near traffic signals. Enforcement cameras click photos of motorists who jump traffic signals or cross stopline or exceed speed limit. Violators are sent challans through the Automation Enforcement Center within 7 days. The BTP has also installed 175 closed circuit cameras (so far) on the traffic signals to monitor the traffic movement.
BTP has recently launched an app called B-Safe, allowing commuters in the auto/cab to register complaints against the errant behaviors of auto and cab drivers. It also has features to calculate the exact fare for the distance traveled. (One caveat here is that the app needs to scan a QR code to in the display boards in autos and taxis and then only the report can be sent. This implies putting up these display boards for effective working of this app.)
In the end, there are multiple approaches that the BTP has taken to ensure the safety, enforcement and information about traffic for better commute. There are (and are likely to be) many people who are regular users of the either one or combination of many of these tolls. The digital information system has helped in information exchange as well as actionable input. However, whether that action has reached will have the outcomes desired or not is the real challenge in a city where demand can often grow faster than systems can adapt.
Photo credit: Surveillance camera network. Courtesy: Bangalore Traffic Police website