THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Are the traffic police messing up vehicular movement at Vellayambalam signal during peak hours? The commuters think so. Motorists said for the past two weeks, the traffic police personnel had been switching off WiTraC, an advanced Area Traffic Control System (ATCS) installed at the signal during peak hours, especially in the morning, and control vehicular movement manually, which was causing hardships to them.
The alignment of the junction, which sees more than 13,000 vehicles plying every hour during peak times in the morning and evening, is such that conventional traffic control approach has restricted uses. One of the commuters, who runs his own company and drives through the Edapazhanji-Kowdiar stretch to work almost every day alleged that the traffic police were trying to beat technology.
“There has been a foolproof ATCS at Vellayambalam since 2012. The traffic police’s actions are like insulting Dr N S Srinivasan, the first director of the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) who was instrumental in passing on his WiTraC technology to the Kerala Road Fund Board and C-DAC. The police think they are better than technology. However, they are only making the lives of motorists and pedestrians harder,” he told TNIE.
S S Suresh Kumar, DySP North traffic police division said the problems arose when they were forced to regulate traffic after the Manaveeyam road was closed to traffic for carrying out work under the Smart City project.“We have no option but to switch off the ATCS during peak hours. However, we do not switch it off for more than 1.5 hours at a stretch in the morning and evening. We evaluate the traffic movement and manually regulate vehicular movement as per need. This will continue until Manaveeyam road is opened to public,” he said.
NATPAC former director B G Sreedevi said she too had been experiencing chaos at Vellayambalam for the past two weeks during her commute to and from the medical college and Vazhuthacaud. “Work on Manaveeyam road has to be completed to ease the congestion here. While VIPs like the governor or the CM may not have to wait at the signal, common people don’t have that luxury,” she said.
WHAT IS WITRAC?
WiTraC was introduced for the first time in the country at the signal, one of the busiest in the capital city. It uses wireless technology to operate traffic lights. Commuters do not have to wait long for the lights to turn green if there is no traffic on the other side of the road.