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Hat mounted camera - gadget for Traffic Police

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EnforcementTraffic

Bangalore Traffic Police loves technology, and for good reason, because tech helps them 1) reduce corruption and 2) get more enforcement done from their small troop of 2000 cops. Here is another tech solution for them to take their camera based enforcement to the extreme.

As on date, Bangalore Traffic Police (BTP) mounts cameras on many traffic lights, and uses media (pic, video) from these cameras to issue signal violation tickets to motorists. This concept can be taken forward using hat mounted mobile cameras and 3G data connection. Here are the details:

  • Traffic cops wear special hats (or belts, or shoulder vests - basically a "wearable" thing) that have camera mounted on them. There would also be a simple button, either on the hat, or gesture based (virtual button - shake your head to press it), or wireless button on cops hand to activate the camera
  • Camera points in the direction of the cop's eyesight. Pressing the activate button makes the camera take a picture (or series of 10 pictures, or a short video, matter of design)
  • Immediately after taking the picture (or video), the media is uploaded to a centralized location.
  • At this centralized location, operators (would be cops themselves) would see the media (pic or video), spot the violations in them, and issue tickets.
  • Tickets are then sent to the violators via mail (like it happens today)

That is it. This way, the cop at the spot gets to increase productivity (can spot 2-3 violations a minute around any junction for sure when on the hunt), and since the ticket is issued at a remote location, and picture/video always uploaded directly, without any mediation from the cop, chances of harassment (on the spot haggling with violator) are minimal.

Last time we looked at traffic ticket stats, tickets per cop per day was a paltry 10 or 12 if I recall right. With "wearable computing" or "mobile eye" technology based approach, that could easily go as high as 30-40 a day.

The tech isn't that expensive. Any smart phone with decent camera and single-day long battery life would do. Special orders in bulk (by few city's traffic police pooling in) could get some companies to make special purpose devices. Data connection (for instant upload) would be via 3G, which is already available in and around the city. And traffic police already knows how to spot violations in pictures and videos. they would just have scale at the back end (their Traffic Management Center or TMC).

Any glitches? There are some. 1) If using cheaper mobile phone type cameras, nights would be a problem. 2) Will be tough to get good pictures of speeding vehicles, again a camera quality issue. And 3) last, we know that Traffic Police / RTO databases keep outdated or wrong addresses (many ticket doesn't reach the motorist). We hear that they are working to address this.

Comments

psaram42's picture

Video /Audio recording device mounted on key bunch

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I was trying to get one Video /Audio recording device mounted on a key bunch for recoding in meetings we attend. Some of my friends have got such devices from China. These are being used to record land dealings in Bangalore quite often.

This will facilitate writing accurate / factual praja reports too. 

silkboard's picture

I snap, you issue ticket

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Since the actual traffic offence would be determined at the TMC, Traffic police can "outsource" the job of spotting violations to "volunteers". Volunteering wardens would be given a police-certified "hat" (aka instant upload camera), they would snap, cops at TMC would issue tickets.

rackstar's picture

blackberry camera

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It is better to take snaps from their blackberry camera they already have than on hat. If camera on hat where will be the camera button to take snap? Those who escape when police stop can be taken pic and uploaded to central server. More than all these it should be made compulsory that each cop takes at least 5 pics every day and upload to server and this should help lot.

dvsquare's picture

SB, that's really a win-win and genuine suggestion

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@SB,

That's really a wonderful suggestion of outsourcing the job of spotting violations to the traffic wardens, volunteer citizens etc etc. Because, in general if wardens try to touch upon anything while trying to help traffic police, they get critical reviews and feedbacks which are mostly negative. Same like our politicians are fearing from Lokpal bill, they are trying their best to derail that, in the same way, traffic offenders fears the Traffic wardens and they come out against all these citizen activities in traffic-policing. But this seems to be a good option where volunteers and wardens are just submitting the proofs, its all TMCs issuing tickets, I mean, noone will have any objections to that, or I should say, noone will have any valid ground to object that.

I like the idea.

Deepak

dvsquare's picture

Cops taking picture would not help much

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@Rackstar

In my opinion, cops taking photos won't help much, because most of them are more interested in sitting in some shade, a little far from junction, catch hold of a few offenders and try to issue tickets to few and try to get bribe from a few, thus getting revenue to police dept and to their pockets. I have seen at many places, 2-3 high level cops sit on their bike near the signal and a constable cop try to maneuver traffic (un-jam the traffic jams), so, in those situations those 2-3 humans could have help this single cop in traffic policing exercise instead of catching a few offenders, and preventing even the offenders to violate the rule. I mean, both things (policing & no-violation) could have achieved.

So, its better the job of "snap the violation" should be outsourced and later TMC issue tickets. We can track the number of tickets issued, penalty taken etc from the TMCs and if need RTI can be used. This way we can bring transparency to the system, and lessen the corruption while catching the traffic offenders.

I have another idea, the citizen volunteers or the traffic wardens should be registered with TMC, so that only registered people can send the photos. And there should a nominal registration fees for the wardens, so that only people interested in the service will anyways come ahead and do the job. I mean, you should pay a nominal amount to give the service, so as not to dilute the whole process.

Deepak

rackstar's picture

policing

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It is not really good idea for normal citizen to do policing job. I dont think such photo evidence from normal citizen would stand in court when one refuses to pay fine it will have to go to court. Instead police can take photo when somebody escapes and police is not in a position to stop that vehicle physically - such things happen very often in bangalore when a police watches fleeing vehicle helplessly. A camera would be the best weapon in a policeman's hand next only to a pistol. Since they already have blackberrys with cameras only thing needed would be a central server to save and track photos.

dvsquare's picture

Its not a normal citizen thing, its outsourcing

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Today, they outsource the tow-job to private right? The tow vehicle just tows the 2-wheelers from the various no-parking zones, and there also you even don't have any proof from police also.

Here atleast, only registered citizens named as Traffic wardens or some name, will be only able to successfully upload the photos and its transparen to normal public whether the photo is taken by cops or some traffic warden. Its about offence of the traffic. It traffic warden does it, its on the behalf of the police cops and offenders are only known of the offence they have done. And obviously the photo should have the proper proof of violation of the law, hazzy photo, unclear photo shouldn't be considered etc etc can be made to give the benefit of doubts to offenders.

Deepak

silkboard's picture

Incentive to volunteer, and police's concerns

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DVS, further, the fact that - 1) you will get a traffic police certified cool gadget 2) you will be able to actually penalize offenders as opposed to just managing traffic in soot, dust and grime - could get more people to volunteer as wardens.

  • Cops (sitting in TMC) would spot the violation, nobody else
  • No direct dealing with offenders, no on-site cash exchange, so reduced corruption
  • "Assembly-lined approach" - you can increase ticket throughput

I think New York police already accepts citizen submitted photo/video as "proof". Our police, and many other countries don't , and that I am sure is for a valid reason - photo/video can be "Fabricated".

Following facts address their concern

  • pics/video taken from a police certified device (trusted source),
  • pics/video would to instantly uploaded (no time to tamper with them)
  • uploaded securely (so that nobody can mess with photo/video in transit)
srinidhi's picture

what type of offences?

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As I see, the major offence around a junction is jumping a signal..this is better done by the camera  at the junction because the reflexes of the cops/humans may not be as fast always to catch the offence itself..the easy thing is they record the number plate and the time..and the rest of the framing part is done by the centralized traffic management cell..

About the other offences like parking in no parking zones etc can be done with public help..where clauses like 'photo with a view of the steering and covering most part of the road preferably with the no parking sign'..better still..it would be useful if citizens can cut a ticket too along with taking a photo..

dvsquare's picture

Yes SB, that's were exactly

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Yes SB, that's were exactly my thoughts too that it would help to reduce corruption, because there is no cash exchange on the roads, direct ticket and money thing.

And yes, the question will arise of the authenticity of the photo, that you have already addressed. Another precaution can be done is to directly upload the photo from the device to the secured site will even further remove the doubt of the tampering with the photo (as there is no intermediate laptop/computer being used in transferring).

@Srinidhi,

Citizens can't issue a ticket, even if they are perfectly valid, because then there are same questions like "taking law into one's hand" etc, and the same thing what happened when ORRCA members trying to penalize a few for parking at no-parking zones. Thus, ticket issue should happen better from police TMC, just the offence spotting can be outsourced with a few conditions about the photo.

Coming to the point of the kind of offences, our main aim is to reduce the offenses by penalizing people, so it doesn't matter what kind of offence we are targetting. I would say, if traffic wardens just concentrate on no-parking violations, which are easy to spot and take a pic, atleast that itself would help in reducing a lot of traffic mess and jams. Similarly, wrong side driving can be easily snapped. A few possible snaps of RED light violations also, the remaining RED light violations, police can spot and fine them. Our major aim is to penalize for whatever offence possible so that gradually poeple tend to do less offences and bring in disciplined driving.

Deepak

psaram42's picture

Will this help the police?

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Apple has enabled I pad, I phone users to be tracked at will.  One can track the movement. of the device. The stored information is not encrypted.

Vehicle tracking syatem

psaram42's picture

Traffic Violations are recorded as such on CCTV

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Violations include jumping a signal or crossing a yellow lane. The offenders many not have been stopped by policemen, but the offences and the vehicle number would have been recorded on CCTV cameras. 

Details of vehicle owners are provided by the RTO. The centre generates notices which are sent to vehicle owners by post. 

More than 30,000 recipients have not responded to such notices. Worse, some have gone on to commit more violations.

 

Is it not a sad commentary on the enforcement arm?

imran_huq17's picture

Tracking Vehicles...

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I made this comment regarding the number plates in Kannada and i feel the same is applicable here as well.

one option can be the use of  HIGH SECURITY number plates with TRACKING SYSTEMS, so that will make it easier to catch these offendors.Nowadays there seems to be lots of cheap methods for Tracking.The simplest could be a SIM in the number plate.Unless this is done the roads in bangalore will not be safe.

Regards,

Imran

Ramesh Menon's picture

As a regular participant in

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As a regular participant in traffic related safety initiatives happening in the UAE, and from experience, I feel, hat mounted cameras will not be of practical use as focusing and instant capture will be of problem related to quality and transmission. Street mounted cameras and camera guns are effective, but I believe and understand that camera guns and those caught by them always get away by bribing the police officians on duty.

New age number plates in a unified pattern is a good solution and those number plates could be read /captured by all innovative road monitoring system.

Increased participation of volunteers from reputed social initiatives such as this one (Praja) in policing of the city streets will be a good idea. Those interested should team up with Praja with full credentials and then necessary police authorities should collect the details of those volunteers and then after effective screening form a volunteer support team and give them initial training and follow up guidances, guidelines. I think this will be effective in the long run.

Police authorities, especially the higher authorities are more receptive these days to changes suggested. It will have more weight when it comes from a movement which shows the pulse of the actual population.

End of the day, more and more public should come in and consider that Safety is not a one time, or one individual activitiy and it is a 24x7 common activitiy by all concerned.

Wishing Praja.in to reach all PC Users in the near future.

 

Visit, bookmark and read: http://www.clicksandwrites.blogspot.com/ 

imran_huq17's picture

Traffic police to moot jail term for repeat drunk drivers

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Bangalore city traffic police are planning to request the courts to award exemplary punishment to people if they are caught driving drunk twice or more number of times. details below. http://www.mybangalore.co... Wonder how they plan to implement these when they are not able to catch the repeat offenders.
silkboard's picture

apprently, already in use

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Looks like San Jose police uses (or still trying?) Head mounted camera concept, but I think for a different purpose - to record the incident so that police officers can defend any accusations.

We probably need cheaper devices, and the purpose would be to separate "recording" of an incident with "ticketing" of the incident. This way, any citizen can join in and help traffic police.

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