Authorities pilot smart traffic light project at two places

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Dec 13, 2017-

The Department of Roads (DoR) is working together with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) and the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) to pilot an intelligent traffic lighting project by installing smart traffic lights at New Baneshwor and Narayan Gopal  Chowk intersections  in the Capital.

By adopting intelligent traffic lights, which will have sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to control the traffic flow, the authorities hope to address the seemingly endless jams at some major junctions and roads of Kathmandu.

It will also allow authorities to dictate the traffic flow around the city through a control centre.

MTPD chief and Deputy Inspector General Sarbendra Khanal said with the help  of this new technology, the division can observe and control the traffic  from the control centre.

“A traffic jam at one junction directly affects another. With these lights we can synchronise the traffic flow. The system will identify the area where there is a jam and its knock-on effects.

The information will then allow us to pre-empt further jamming of the roads,” he said.  

New Baneshwor, Narayan Gopal Chowk, Thapathali, Durbarmarg, Tinkune, Putalisadak, Singha Durbar, Tripureshwor, Kalimati, Chabahil, Gaushala and Kalanki are among the places in Kathmandu that have worst traffic jams. Lack of functioning traffic lights in these areas is also partly responsible for the situation. 

The traffic lights in the Valley are out of commission for years now; some have been out since 2007. 

According to MTPD data, out of 365 lights in the Valley, only five are in working condition at present. 

Officials at the DoR said, their plan was to install smart traffic lights at 32 junctions in the Valley.

“The ongoing pilot project is expected to go on test within two weeks. The trial period will last two months,” said DoR Spokesperson Mukti Gautam.

Installation of smart traffic lights is also expected to ease the pressure on traffic police that has been mobilising around 1,200 officers around the Valley to manage the traffic. 

“Since traffic monitoring and controlling jobs can be handled from the control centre, we will require a lot fewer officers on roads,” DIG Khanal said.

Published: 13-12-2017 08:20

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