Delhi May Soon Get Smart Traffic Lights

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New Delhi:  Intelligent traffic lighting system which responds to volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic is likely to be soon introduced in the national capital as the Delhi government is contemplating upgrading its existing traffic infrastructure in line with the needs of a smart city.

Onnyx, the city-based technology firm, which is operating and managing the traffic system in the city for Delhi government said a "live demonstration system" has already been set up at a prominent intersection in Lutyen's Delhi.

"We have already set up a live demonstration system at the junction of KG Marg and Ferozshah Road here. It's been three months now and the Delhi Traffic Police Department has responded positively to the idea, and a pilot project based on the new system may be started soon," CEO, Onnyx, Jitendra Kaushik told PTI.

The system he said, replicates the human intelligence, but instead of a traffic policeman, "we want the system to do the job".

"As per this intelligent traffic system, at any given junction, a system of CCTV cameras will gather footage of traffic inflow and the change in the colour of the traffic light would be based on actual volume of traffic and volume of pedestrian traffic, and not timer-based," Kaushik said.

"It is what manually a traffic policeman does. It will allow vehicles to pass in the street as long as there is traffic on it, and then after clearing it, he switches to the other street at the junction," he said.

Kaushik said, the system does not necessitate that only vehicles have priority over pedestrians. "In fact, the system gauges the nature of traffic pattern, both vehicular and pedestrian and if it sees a big collection of people near the zebra crossing, it will give precedence to pedestrians."

The company, which won the contract about  two-and-a-half years ago for the city, said, "Delhi has 1,278 traffic signal points and the idea is to upgrade the existing systems by installing a unit of cameras at each junction."

"We don't have to replace the existing system, just add the cameras to it, which are linked to the central control room, where an automation software guides the traffic lighting system. Plus, the cameras add to security cover too," Kaushik said.

Onnyx and Delhi Traffic Police Department both participated in the recently held 4th Traffic Infra Tech Expo 2015, and Secretary of Urban Development Shankar Aggarwal also interacted with the company's senior officials on the lines of requirements and cost-effectiveness of setting up intelligent traffic lighting as needed for a smart city.

"While the traditional traffic lighting system costs Rs 8-10 lakh, with the additional four camera at a four-point intersection, the system would cost about Rs 10-12 lakh," Kaushik said.

Explaining the system further, he said, "System at each traffic junction would be automated and linked to the main control room sitting at the Delhi Police Department office. So, while each of the junctions would talk to the control room, they would not talk to each other, making it a
centralized system."

"The cameras would send footage to the control room which would be analyzed by the software to get a sense of the traffic pattern. Intelligence signals from the control room will then be sent to succeeding junctions to maintain a smooth flow," he added.

In case of heavy traffic jams, our software, integrated with the variable messaging system (VMS), will display on VMS boards, colour-based signals to alert people about the nature of traffic volume ahead.

"So, let's say if one is travelling across the Yamuna river, and there are three roads ahead, so a VMS board will indicate, say with a deep red colour on the route map, as to which of the three path is clogged and a light colour will signify thinner traffic," he said.

Delhi, incidentally is the first city that will have a smart city, among the 100 such cities planned by the Centre. Besides, the national capital Onnyx manages traffic system in Calcutta, Jammu, Srinagar, Indore among others.

Mumbai-based IT firm CMS Computers, which was earlier managing the traffic system in Delhi, said, the company has already made operational a vehicle-actuated traffic lighting system in the financial capital of India.

"We already have a sensor-based and vehicle-actuated system in place in Mumbai, where a magnetic loop counts the number of vehicles passing and makes a smart decision for traffic flow accordingly," Technical Support Engineer at CMS, Vishnu Vishwanath here said.

He said that though the government has been talking about smart cities but it hasn't defined such cities as yet.

"Plus, what do they mean by new smart cities, does that mean the old cities cannot be made smart," he said.

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