Road safety: ‘Signals on manual mode are risky’

Software glitches to be resolved by an Australian expert.


Rameez Khan March 20, 2013
The fifth generation signals are part of the Intelligent Transportation System installed to reduce traffic jams at each of the eight intersections. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE:


Fifth-generation traffic signals which had been installed at eight points on the route of the Metro Bus Service have not been made operational.


The signals are at Gulab Devi Junction, Qainchi Junction, Ghazi Road Junction, Kamahan Junction, Masjid Ibrahim Junction, Chungi Amar Sidhu Junction, Kalma Chowk and Azadi Chowk. The signals, however, are not working.

The fifth generation signals are part of the Intelligent Transportation System installed to reduce traffic jams at each of the eight intersections and to prioritise the Metro Buses as they approach the intersections. The idea was to avoid traffic jams.

Two cameras are installed at each end of the junction along with a sensor for each lane. The sensors detect traffic on the road and the road with more traffic gets preference. Currently, the signals give preference to the Metro Bus. However, they are also supposed to regulate the traffic which they are unable to do. For this reason, the signals are working in manual mode. Traffic wardens control them and the traffic.

A traffic warden on Ferozpur Road said that even with three traffic wardens on duty at every junction traffic was proving hard to manage. He said when traffic load was high it was difficult to stop motor cyclists from running red signal as the bus approached the intersection.

Chief Traffic Officer Sohail Chaudhry says he has sent letters to the managing director of the Punjab Metrobus Authority and the Urban Development Wing demanding speedy installation of the system. A bus passes through a junction more than 500 times a day and if signals are manually handled the risk of accidents increases.

SCATS (Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System) software has been installed to integrate with the ITS. However, the software and the system do not seem to be working well.

A SCATS expert is scheduled to arrive from Australia on Wednesday to look at the problem.

Metro Bus officials hope that within a week of his arrival the system will be functioning properly.

Chaudhry said while he had not demanded the installation of the ITS on other routes, it would be a good idea.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2013.

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