Sanjeev Gulati, VIVOTEK Country Manager, India and SAARC
Have you ever observed how different people react when there is a Traffic Police Officer stationed right around the corner? The ones that are following all traffic rules, obviously, drive as they normally do. The ones that have not been wearing their seat belts instantly pull them down. However, a few people that know that they might get booked a try and evade the very spot to avoid a challan. Such attempts often cause wide-ranging accidents, wherein a vehicle can ram into the other, hit the roadblock or bystanders, and even injure the Traffic Police Officer himself.
About a month ago, in October, a fleeing car rammed into a traffic constable in Thane district near Mumbai. Another Traffic Constable in Chandigarh suffered an injury and was dragged for around 500 meters on the bonnet of a car in August. A similar instance occurred around July when a politician had to come to the rescue of a constable in our national capital. Still, these are the cases of big cities that manage to gain the public spotlight. Many similar, and even serious, incidences take place on a day-to-day basis and stay hidden in the oblivion of police files and FIRs.
So, this brings us to the question that when our entire nation is getting modernized with unprecedented digitization, can’t road traffic management be as well? It surely can be with Video Surveillance.
Effective Measure: How Advanced Video Surveillance can enhance our road safety and compliance?
Today, security cameras have travelled beyond their previous identity of passive devices. Modern IP surveillance cameras, also known as network cameras, can easily cater to wide-ranging use cases that they have been deployed using Video Analytics. This also stands to be true for traffic management-related use cases.
Advanced video surveillance devices can ensure greater road safety, drive compliance, improve efficiency, and decrease crime. Here’s how:
1. Driving Compliance: As we had discussed earlier, the simple presence of a police officer is enough to drive traffic compliance. The IP surveillance system is able to act much like a traffic police officer and can identify violations including rash driving, over-speeding, driving without speed belt, jumping a traffic signal, tripling, and so on. That too, for each and every traffic signal.
The professional license plate recognition network camera can then identify the registered information of the vehicle license plate and connect automatically to the regional transport authority or VAHAN database to send e-challan. Violators, knowing that they will inevitably be booked, will start following traffic rules soon after the deployment of such a system. It will also be easier to identify habitual offenders and deal with them strictly.
2. Safety of People and Personnel: This approach, moreover, does not disrupt traffic as it does by deploying traffic police personnel. Similarly, it is unlikely to cause accidents due to the spontaneous reaction of a driver. This increases the safety of other on-road vehicles as well as of our Traffic Police personnel. In the same way, by ensuring greater compliance of traffic laws, major accidents can also be prevented which otherwise occur due to rash driving.
3. Smart Traffic Management: Traffic patterns can be understood by using a smarter traffic management system. For instance, leveraging the AI technology and Big Data analytics, the traffic department can lead infrastructural development plans well in advanced based on the future projections of local commuter traffic. The smart traffic management system can also be used to study accident-prone regions. It can, moreover, help the traffic department gain greater insights into the traffic origination, movement, and destination for rush hours, events, festivals, etc. and can help in optimal deployment of resources.
4. Decreasing Crime: Roads are the escape route for nearly every crime. However, it becomes quite impossible to track an absconding criminal even if his or her whereabouts are known during a certain timeframe. Police have to set up roadblocks and search each and every vehicle in its hunt for a suspect – who could’ve changed vehicle and could also be potentially armed. Using evolved IP surveillance and official authorized facial recognition technology; it will become easier for enforcement agencies to track the real-time location of an absconding criminal via an automated system. This will also bring down the associated risks.
5. A Cost-effective Approach: The overall benefits of a smart Video Surveillance system in traffic management include a lesser number of violations, increased collections through challans and tolls, decreased congestion as well as fuel loss due to vehicle idling, and lesser carbon emission. Collectively, this directly translates into monetary, social, and environmental benefits that outweigh the costs linked with the deployment of such an infrastructure.
As India continues to experience unprecedented digitization, it is about time that we aggressively take the merits of digital technologies to the Indian road as well – something deemed as the lifeline of our modern cities.
It is true that such a deployment will be cost-intensive; however, once it is in place, the long-term benefits that the smart traffic management system is going to transfer will simply overshadow the associated costs. Above all, it will make our roads much safer and pave the way for their successful modernization.