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Solving parking menace through tech innovation

Written by The Optimist

On a busy day we have often faced a situation when it takes like forever to reach our intended destination which may be just a few kilometers away. The callous approach of drivers who park their vehicles anywhere on the road usually chokes the thoroughfare hindering the smooth flow of traffic. 

To school such drivers the Vellore Police in Tamil Nadu has come up with an IT based solution in which repeated parking rule violators are automatically detected using the data from the E-challan portal. Take a look at the tweet below.

Let us find out more about this initiative.

Identifying the bottlenecks

Like many urban metropolises of modern India, Vellore is an old city that had been developed during the colonial era. Hence, roads are narrow and the traffic is nightmarish!

The initiative started when it caught the attention of the Vellore Police that the Anna Road which is the main arterial in Vellore had become busy due to the growth of concrete infrastructure on both sides of the road. It was found that to travel the 6.5 kilometer stretch from Thorapadi M.G.R Statue to Green Circle, vehicles take close to 15 minutes, which implies vehicles move at an average speed of 26 Km/hr. 

The busy Anna Road

“We were planning to reduce the travel time and increase the traffic flow. Our objective was to reduce the transit time by 5 minutes so that people can cross this stretch in 10-11 minutes maintaining a normal speed of 30-32 km/hr. This would ensure that more people can avail the road during the peak hours,” said Albert John, IPS, ASP of Vellore Police.

Interestingly, Vellore Police invited commuters to share their ideas on social media. Inputs were also taken from the Traffic Police wing which oversees traffic management on a daily basis. Some common focus areas like reducing unauthorized parking on road sides, rationalizing signal timings and streamlining heavy vehicle movement were identified for critical intervention.

The intervention

At first Vellore Police chose to act on regular traffic violators who intentionally park their vehicles at unauthorized spaces causing traffic blocks. This led to the launch of an IT program created by the policemen. 

A representative image of the new technology to be used

“We face shortage in manpower and funds, hence developed this low cost program with the help of our own police personnel,” the ASP informed.

It would collect the data from the e-challan portal which is accessible to the police and helps the police identify the repeated parking rule violators easily. Following this offenders are given counselling on traffic rules, while police can also start legal proceedings against them. 

Data security

With recent data-breaches from various portals has created concerns about violation of our right to privacy and about data being used for surveillance, ASP of Vellore Police clarified that no new data would be collected through their initiative. “The data of traffic violators are already collected and stored at the government servers and are being maintained ensuring best practices. We are only consolidating and compiling the data which is already present with us to make our work easier by helping us to identify the people residing in the Vellore region,” Albert John, IPS explained.

Inculcating discipline

Traffic management rests on the three pillars of Education, Engineering and Enforcement. Educating the netizens about the importance of following traffic norms deserves utmost attention. The Vellore Police is working on similar lines as well. 

The road in front of Sarathi Mansion after police action

“In this case, we do not penalize the offenders at first. We try to counsel them and teach them how important traffic discipline is. We also take an undertaking from them stating they would not repeat their offense,” the ASP informed. Traffic awareness programs and road safety weeks are also conducted on a routine basis as well.

The initial response

The Vellore Police has started this unique initiative from 14th June. They have identified 55 repeated offenders till date and are in the process of summoning them. 

Vehicles impounded by police

The ASP informed that other aspects of traffic violation like red light jumping would be fed into the system as well. The program which is presently functional in the town area would be extended and implemented throughout the district. 

The Vellore Police is also working towards rationalizing the timings of the signals by analysing and reviewing them. 

Way ahead

Vellore being an old city faces several problems on account of rapid urbanization. Narrow roads and acute shortage of parking spaces makes it a hellish experience for commuters.

On top of that, the presence of a large fleet of public vehicles like auto-rickshaws and other such modes of transport increases their woes. “We do not intend to deprive anyone from their livelihood, hence we are working towards reaching an amicable solution,” the ASP said.

Albert John IPS, ASP Vellore, Tamil Nadu

“There is an increasing demand for parking space in the city. We are aware that it is not possible to follow the parking norms completely as we face the scarcity of land in our city,” he added.

Vellore is also one of the smart cities being redeveloped and planned with modern amenities. Albert John, a 2017 batch IPS officer from Tamil Nadu cadre said, “Once the Vellore Smart City is developed it would have sufficient area for parking as well. We need to work on alternate solutions for the time being and scale up our interventions. It is always important to inculcate traffic discipline among the citizens,” he concluded. 

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The Optimist

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