Traffic problem finds cell phone solution

Phone traffic used as proxy for people traffic

1 2 3 Page 3
Page 3 of 3

Reddi says there is a larger purpose behind the whole exercise. "The traffic police department has two major advantages from this project. First of all, with this data, congestion mapping will be at the fingertips of our traffic personnel and every cop will have information of sensitive areas. So, regulation can be easy. This database will help us identify problem areas without waiting for human intervention. Secondly, this is a step toward setting up a traffic management center in a few months in Bangalore," he explains.

The center will consist of a large number of cameras feeding a large media wall for constant real-time monitoring as well as analysis of the information coming in. BTIS will be an important source of this information. It will feature a help line, live video streams and call-in information from users. An accident detection system is also on the anvil. "All of this will be integrated into the traffic management center. This will give us ample information to asses a situation. Then, we can take subjective field action. This will also ensure a transparent traffic control system," says Reddi.

"Besides, the advantage of using cell phone data to trace density of traffic is that information based on this can give out very good OD [origin density] statistics, telling us where the traffic is originating, which direction it is moving and the accurate congestion situation," he adds.

Insofar as the spatial locations, there are about 1,200 locations in the database, monitoring about 200 junctions using Airtel's micro-towers. In time, people will be allowed to customize these locations, identifying them with keywords like 'home' and 'office'. The carpool will also have a group messaging platform that makes it possible to query many pool partners at the same time, thereby increasing the likelihood that at least one of them will be able to share on a given day.

The BTIS initiative has called for tremendous man-hours in terms of investment, asserts Mahesh. "We put in about six to eight months into this project. The traffic police personnel also invested a good amount of time and effort -- there were eight constables and five ACPs who were working on this, in addition to their regular duties. Toward the end of the project, Airtel put in about Rs 1 million ($24,456 U.S.) for the final expenditures. So, I think the investment in this project is more in terms of effort than money," he explains. It's what Mahesh deems a social entrepreneurship project.

For Reddi, the initiative is another step in the direction of tech-enabling the Bangalore traffic police. It's a bid to systematize what otherwise translates to complete chaos on the roads of Bangalore, especially at peak hours. In a few months, when the traffic management center is up and running, Bangalore and its harried commuters should get some relief -- or, at the very least, there will be a method to the madness they encounter.

Reprinted with permission from CIO India.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 3 Page 3
Page 3 of 3
7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon