Traffic personnel, who score high on key performance indicators, will be given 15 per cent of the revenue collected from camera-integrated fines (imposed after traffic personnel take pictures of people violating rules and send notices to their homes).
The decision was taken at a meeting on July 9 at the Civil Secretariat in which the chief minister approved several reforms for traffic engineering and enforcement of traffic laws as well as some new projects.
The Law and Order Wing of Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (SMU) proposed that the reforms be implemented phase-wise throughout the Punjab.
In his presentation, SMU Senior Member Salman Sufi said on average, around 1.8 million challans were sent to courts every year but there was no effective recovery mechanism after the courts passed orders. Other problems he identified were a high rate of escape following violations, difficulty in collecting evidence and the manual system of issuing traffic penalty ticket.
Read: Ramazan deployment : Traffic wardens’ leaves cancelled
Participants of the meeting decided that in the first phase, cameras will be installed on roads to record violations of traffic rules violations and the Excise and Taxation Department’s database will be integrated with law enforcement agencies’ database. The cameras will be outsourced to a third party which would collect the data and send it to the Chief Traffic Officer’s office. The CTO’s office will then send tickets to the homes of violators.
Traffic personnel who scored high on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) would receive 15 per cent revenue from camera-integrated fines. Sufi said they department was in the process of finalising KPIs for the personnel. He said they were being discussed by a steering committee on law and order constituted on CM’s orders.
The participants decided to significantly raise the amount of fines for traffic violations including driving the wrong way on one-way streets, juvenile driving, driving without licence, traffic signal violation and reckless and negligent driving.
Roads up for ‘adoption’
The chief minister approved of the idea to allow corporations to ‘adopt’ roads. This will be a source of revenue and civic modernisation, the participants were told.
The companies will use the roads for marketing purposes and the revenue generated from this would be used for road maintenance. The price set for adopting a road will depend on the traffic load - higher the traffic, higher its price.
Sufi told The Express Tribune that companies will be allowed to market their products under a set of specific SOPs which are being finalised by the steering committee. He said marketing activities such as placing billboards will remain under the Parks and Horticultural Authority’s purview. However, the PHA will use that revenue to fund maintenance of roads. This would directly link advertising on roads to the condition of those roads, Sufi said.
New authority formed
Participants of the meeting were told that eight departments had been tasked with managing roads and traffic. Efficient management is impeded by bureaucratic red tape and lack of effective coordination, the speakers said. They said there was no mechanism to facilitate quick approval and implementation of traffic and road management plans by the government.
Read: Traffic management: Commissioner chairs traffic board meeting
In an attempt to look into these problems, the chief minister approved the setting up of an authority for public dealing and efficient management of roads and traffic throughout the Punjab. That authority will include nominees the Home Department, the Traffic Police, the DCO, the Transport Department, the Excise and Taxation Department, the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) and the Lahore Parking Company (LPC).
The authority will handle traffic challans, collection of fines, NOCs for new projects, issuance of driving licences, fitness certificates, insurance certificates and motor vehicle registration.
The chief minister also directed the Lahore commissioner to assign a separate motorcycle lane on Ferozepur Road and zebra crossings for pedestrians on roads throughout the province.
The chief minister also approved of installing solar batteries to ensure that the traffic lights operated round the clock.
The chief minister also approved of a proposal to provide citizens a convenient method for paying fines through ATMs, kiosks and online.
Fines will be issued to the number plates – which will signify the owners’ identities. A number plate will thus belong to the owner of the vehicle rather than to the vehicle itself. Every time a vehicle is sold, its number plate will be expunged and a new one will be issued to the owner.
Auto Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras will detect vehicle owners who violate traffic rules after which fine slips will be sent to their houses.
An Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) has been approved by chief minister under phase two of the reforms to address problems such as high escape rate as a result of manual ticketing, and slow response by emergency vehicles due to traffic. Adjusting the duration of traffic signals according to traffic density will also be considered in the second phase.
The ITS will be piloted from Lahore and will provide a range of services for traffic authorities. The Software-Controlled Traffic Light Signals will adjust the traffic signal’s duration based on the density of traffic rather than a fixed interval. The Green Wave Control will provide emergency vehicles uninterrupted green light so that their response time is reduced. The Traffic Guidance System will provide citizens information on which routes are closed and which alternative routes are available.
The CM said the ITS solution could be operated by a third party.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2015.