Mumbai traffic jams to be unsnarled faster through app-based alerts to officers


MUMBAI: Commuters in Mumbai can now expect traffic jams to be addressed and cleared within 12 minutes instead of waiting for hours stuck on the road, claims Mumbai traffic police.

A new app-based system introduced by joint commissioner of police Rajvardhan Sinha has enabled the traffic police officers at chowkies to reach the centre of the traffic jam and address the problem within 12 minutes which earlier used to take more than 20 minutes.

According to the traffic police officers, the new app which has been installed in sync with 5300 CCTV cameras in 34 traffic divisions across the city identifies the exact spot of problem causing the jam through CCTV and alerts the operators through a private setting in the Mumbai traffic police app (MTP). The setting is accessible only to operators who are responsible for managing the three traffic divisions in the city. These operators have a list of mobile numbers of the police officers through which the officers are alerted about the traffic jams.

Raj Tilak Roshan, deputy commissioner of police (HQ) said that as soon as the CCTV cameras show a traffic jam, the system sends an alert to the operator. He then sends a message through WhatsApp and text message to the officer of the concerned chowkies. “Sometimes it takes time to identify the centre point of a jam by officers manning the jurisdiction and then takes several minutes to clear the problem which costs commuters several minutes, even hours to reach their destinations,” said Roshan.

After the CCTV identifies the exact location from where the traffic jam starts, the new app sends a message through the operator to the officer closest to the centre point of the jam and once the officer reaches there, which may take 10 to 12 minutes, he can identify the cause of the jam and clear it.

The system which was set up two months ago is different from Google maps as it is capable of pointing the CCTV to the exact problem causing the jam. In case there is traffic jam due to a wrongly placed barricade, the system shows it on the CCTV after which the officer reaching the spot to unsnarl the jam can remove it or place it in a manner that the vehicles can pass through easily. Or if a vehicle has broken down causing the jam, the officer can move it at the earliest.

“Response time has become less which has helped ease traffic to a great extent. We have even decreased the signal timings by 20 seconds by observing the pattern of jams near the Godrej junction at Vikhroli,” said Hussain Jatkar, senior police inspector of Vikhroli traffic branch.

Roshan said that the app also keeps a daily log of the time, location and cause of the traffic jam and the time within which the officer reached the spot and cleared it. “Once we identify a spot where frequent jams are created, we identify the problem and report it so that it can be rectified,” said Roshan.

In the two months since the app based alert system was implemented Roshan said that they have been observing the pattern of the traffic jams and the problem causing them after which they have asked Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to repaint all the zebra crossing and stop lines. “Due to the absence of stop lines and zebra crossings, many drivers were getting confused and creating traffic jams. Following our request, the BMC is now repainting the zebra crossing stop lines,” said Roshan.

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