India: To bring respite to Delhi’s traffic conditions, Google Maps will work with Delhi traffic police and monitor traffic situations on arterial roads. The cops will employ the traffic maps, which give real-time vehicular situations, determine the congestion on roads.
If any stretch is seen to be badly affected, a screenshot of the map will be sent on a Whatsapp group to the traffic inspector, ACP and DCP concerned for corrective actions. The brass will be kept in the loop to ensure prompt response to the screenshot posts.
In south Delhi, on stretches like the Rao Tula Ram flyover, Aurobindo Marg, Mehrauli-Badarpur Road and Ring Road, there are traffic snarls through the day. But the traffic cops intervene only if they receive complaints from commuters. This plan to employ Google Maps, therefore, changes the monitoring system to make it effective in real time.
“We found that the data uploaded on Google Maps regarding traffic congestion on the corridors is almost real-time and the images captured through satellites show the volume. Moreover, since Google uses a GPS-based system, the location of the roads is accurate. We, therefore, decided to use this application to assist us in traffic management,” explained Dependra Pathak, special commissioner, traffic.
Google processes a traffic situation through incoming raw data on mobile phone locations. It then excludes anomalies such as a passenger service vehicle, which makes frequent stops. When a threshold of users in a particular area is noted, a colored overlay appears on the map of roads. Blue represents normal speed of traffic, yellow stands for slow moving traffic, red lines indicate congestion and a dark red color indicates nearly stop-still traffic.
A team from the traffic police’s Computer Centre & Public Interface Unit (PIU) will monitor the congested corridors at 8.45, 9.45 and 10.45 in the mornings and at 6, 7 and 8 in the evening and sent any information on congested areas to the “Google Traffic Group” on Whatsapp. This group consists of all concerned traffic inspectors and senior traffic police officers.
“The traffic inspector concerned will submit a feedback to PIU regarding the reasons for the congestion and the steps taken to improve the flow of traffic,” disclosed a traffic officer. “PIU will coordinate with the Traffic Control Room on the timely transmission of information about traffic congestion. Initially, 10 corridors have been identified from the 28 A category arteries in the city for Google traffic situation monitoring.”
Once the traffic officers on the road are informed about the snarls, the primary aim would be to identify the bottleneck and manage it to ensure vehicular volumes there did not come to a halt. If any stretch was found to be in need of a long-term solution, the cops will alert their seniors to it.
Pathak felt that quick intervention by traffic police would remove the bottlenecks causing the snarls and lower the waiting time for commuters. This would eventually also reduce pollution.
Earlier, the peak traffic hours in morning used to be between 9am and 10.30am. However, the increase in the traffic volume has shifted the peak hours by nearly 90 minutes. On certain heavily used stretches like Rao Tula Ram Marg, the peak hours extend for up to seven hours.