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BTRAC and the road signs scam

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Traffic

sign 2Tune your mind to observe traffic signs in the city, and you'd notice a few things. One, BTRAC project is busy putting up a lot of new ones. Two, perhaps they needn't have spent taxpayer's money on putting them up. Three, sorry Mr Sood, BTRAC may not be doing the best that it can.

Standard and consistency matter the most. There is problem on two counts there. 1) A lot of existing signs convey the message in their own colors and styles. BTRAC must remove or correct them, or else the point gets lost in the crowd 2) Nitpicking on new BTRAC signs, perhaps the traffic police themselves are not being consistent. See these speed breaker signs: style 1, style 2, and both of them together as well at same place (airport road, near HAL)! Elsewhere in the city as well, one can easily find road hump signs in either of styles bearing BTRAC name.

Parking signs need standards - should that 'distance' arrow be vertical or horizontal? Do I really have to get close enough to read the distance covered by a no-parking sign? Or can we get standard no-parking boards to convey 100ft, 300ft, 500 ft no-parking zones.

BTW, some no parking signs say meters, most mention the distance in feet. And better not go into the much more important, but a very fine aspect of traffic signs - you need to place them consistently, say always at x meters above road level, and y meters before a point of interest so that we start "expecting" as opposed to "finding" them. That does not seem to be the case.

Another point is about the PPP angle. What are all those "sponsored" signs doing in the city? PPP or no PPP, many of these seem too blatant and bad. In many cases, the advertising is far more visible than the traffic message itself. In fact, some new ones even carry BBMP or BTP (Bangalore Traffic Police) logos to impress upon you that they are genuine! Are they!? I doubt.

Does anyone else in the city think that "Prakash packers and movers" have spent more on road signs than the Traffic Police themselves? I do.

Presence of so many "sponsored signs" tells you that one of these is true:

  • Traffic Police has little control, they are not capable of preventing these from mushrooming up. Or are they making money on by 'allowing' them?
  • Perhaps, there already exists a PPP mechanism for local business to put up road signs. Then, could it be that BTRAC is simply wasting money on putting up new road signs? Why not just ensure that these "micro PPP" initiatives follow standards prescribed by the police?

Either way, I am very disappointed. I for one believe in the signs - they are like TV ads, constantly pushing the message, working and on your mind and making you feel guilty every time you break the rules. But just like branding products in commercial ads, there needs to be consistency of style and message.

Someone needs to question and audit BTRAC, at least the signs part of it. A project that got us so excited may be losing its way.

Comments

asj's picture

Same story in Pune

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In Pune too in the name Youth Common Wealth Games a plethora of signs were put up. Blocking footpaths (erected bang in the middle) and a string og them (as seen in your images).
Take a look at this (award winning compilation by Ganesh Gaikwad) - http://gaikwadgv.googlepages.com/TrafficSignageinPuneV2_ScreenComp.pdf
 
In contrast here is something from UK streets.
 
 
The link should take everyone to a slide show where I have shown repeatedly how road signs have been placed on poles erected for street lighting. From bus stops to serveal other signs use the poles - this offers several benefits - 
  1. Signs are illuminated by the street light
  2. By co-locating bus stops and street lighting where possible bus stops do not need additional lighting (or it is minimised).
  3. Clutter of poles and street furniture is drastically reduced.
  4. Cost savings by not having to spend on material as well as reduced expense on additional lighting and overall maintainance
This is not to say that some signs are not erected separately. But where possible the above is done as a routine and there is no reason why Pune / Bangalore should not take cue from this common sense methodology.

Once again, total ignorance of IRC norms on signage is blatantly obvious.
 
ASJ
silkboard's picture

bus stands - worst signs?

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sign 9

For some reason, bus stands get the worst attention on signage. Adhoc looking signs at a lot of places, good signs only on major roads, but even there, you need more than a sign to let everyone know that there is a bus stand nearby. You need bright lane markings, a no-parking board, "fine doubled in bus zone" sort of thing - basically heavy signage to make sure people take care not to stop or do anything near bus stands.

Could it be that BTRAC is not interested in doing bus stand signs? Police may be leaving that job to BMTC, and perhaps BMTC back to BBMP. The usual circle of blame you know.

narayan82's picture

Yes Pranav, this is a very

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Yes Pranav, this is a very bad example of money well spent!

If I am not mistaken, BTRAC signs was a 40 crore tender!!! With 40 crores, surelt we could have got some better signs.

I have seen these new signs come up at all angles hieights and locations! No thought has gone it into putting them in visible places, and a visible height and with some considerations to the surroundings. It seems like something done "Naam ke Vaastay!"

Signage in the city is HORRIBLE! And to hear that more than 10 crores is spent on it every year, is very very sad to hear. The money clearly is going somewhere else.

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
Vasanth's picture

BTRAC & Signals

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narayan82's picture

Vasanth,Same situation near

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This comment has been moved here.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
silkboard's picture

The tender for road signs

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Here is the tender for installaing 20000 road signs at a cost of Rs 8 crore. Not a lot of money really, About Rs 4000 to get and install each new sign.

Most of the new road signs are "no parking" boards. I wonder if using painted kerb (red - no parking, yellow -only small stops or loading, no paint on kerb - can park) would be cheaper and better.

 

rohith's picture

why sorry?

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Silkboard et. al., I beg to differ here, but may be you have a reason behind this. But why be sorry to Sood? Only because Praja has a sort-of professional relation with him? Or because he's a police official? Are we not making these contributions to the society? Are we not investing these hours for the common good?

In that case, we're not being selfish. In fact we're proferring solutions to these officials - for FREE! In the process, if Mr. Sood can offer us back as cheap a treatment as that, I think we need to be critical here, and mention to him our clear requirement. We want USE/HELP-FUL signages, and not just a confusing litter-clutter of them across the city. And worst of all, we definitely dont want our fellow city-men to be charged fines by these cops for getting confused by these boards!!

How about an RTI on the police dept's expenditures of these kinds? Can perhaps help when we want to let them support their expenditure upon signages/boards as opposed to how well they've served their purpose.  

Rohith Rao

 

santsub's picture

Road Signs and some possible solutions.

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Its been a while since I was on Praja. But this caught my attention. While on one hand its really appreciable that the govt. did take notice to make some valuable changes they err'ed doing it again. My take is govt. or the body BBMP should have a central design and specification committee which is responsible to design and specify all the signages that were going on the roads and else where in the city. All design and implementation standards are laid out and then call tenders to just execute this based on the templates and standards provided to the vendors. This will avoid all the weird creativity and chaos that vendors come-up with. If they fail to implement it in the directions provided then they loose their contract and money. This would have ensured proper signage design and implementation all across the city and state. May be we can help them here....
ssheragu's picture

BTRAC and the road signs scam

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ssheragu so much hasbeen said & talked about this my humble suggestions are (1) first, to get the all the possible road signs (design, placement etc.) from IRC or overseas (2) confirm its acceptability by IRC (I presume that IRC is the approving authority) (3) then from from Praja we can make sure that BTRAC implements it (4) once such approved/ certified / valid / legal documentation is availble for regulations / policies / principles, this should be put on Praja web site by ADMIN for the benefit of all Praja users thanks Srinath Heragu
Nitinjhanwar's picture

IRC not approving authority.

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IRC or Indian Roads Congress is a Body that has developed specifications for Roads and Bridges and allied works after a lot of 'Research" and international practices.

IRC does not take any liability for wrongdoing.It is not the approving authority. It only gives the guidelines that have to be followed by variuos line departments.

The end product is the payment of the item-which was constructed- BASED on these technical guidelines.

So if the payment is made it means the work was as per specifications.

In synopsis there should be no DRASTIC change from the IRC specifications. e.g if a signboard is a traingle upright you do not place it with the apex pointing downwards.

nJ

 

-nJ-

919462900144

www.nitinjhanwar.biz

silkboard's picture

Realize one thing - we need help

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"Praja can do x Praja can do y" can only happen if Prajagale come forward to help. We can track BTRAC project without much effort or running around:

  • List what we want to ask
  • Write to Mr Sood, and chairman of KRDCL first, if they can answer, great!
  • Whatever stuff doesn't get answered, file RTIs for them
  • Post replies here, if there is anything of interest, newspapers will be more than happy to take them forward

Above project needs not more than 3-4 people. Only 1 person must be at Bangalore to mail the RTI applications.

Mind you, our interest in BTRAC is not about the money or corruption, after all this signboard project is worth just Rs ten crores or so. We want to be vigilant about the manner in which money is spent, without comprehensive seriousness and without perfect adherence to standards.

Who is game? Right now, I am not because I have already signed up for two other things here.

 

santsub's picture

Silkboard

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I will be interested to be part of this may be lead from outside. I am not based in Bangalore currently (which you know) But I will be interested in taking up this. Any more takers please respond.
silkboard's picture

Clarification on criticism of BTRAC

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I must add this important late comment. This post was not to put whole BTRAC-2010 under scanner or criticism, though I did use a rediff like headline (use of word scam there) to get some attention for cheap.

Its about us expecting the best. Yes, BTRAC signs are showing up around the city, most of the new signs are consistent and clear (with very few exceptions - road humps is one) and very bright and visible. But what I wanted to highlight was that Traffic Police has got to either remove the existing signs, or just take note of the presence of so many "illegal" or unscientific ones and perhaps explore making them legal and standardized via PPP like mechanism (why fight them if there is a demand from businesses to put up these signs?).

It could very well be that BTRAC plans to uproot all the existing signs after they are done putting up the new ones. But this is not the case right now, and I have not highlighted just some isolated pictures to prove this point - just drive down airport road from HAL airport to whitefield, or ORR from Marathahalli to silk board, or ORR from BTM to Banashankari, and you will see plenty of examples.

Dealing with signs put up by Prakash Packers and Movers, or Luxor fire safety equipment or DSK apartments or Aptech has got to be part of the road signs project. BTRAC can't be saying that hey, look, we did our job well, we have put nice bright new signs all around the city. That "tunnel scope" of execution is not what we expect.

If BTRAC was planning to uproot or deal with illegal signs after putting up all the new ones, then I owe an apology to Mr Sood and team for rushing to assess their work, and will myself look forward to the day when we can write a positive follow-ups to this post.

cheers, and love to Namma Bengaluru.

murali772's picture

too costly!

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Silkboard avare' - Rs 4,000/- per board, and you say that's not much!  For the kind of volumes involved, the figure should be in hundreds, not thousands. Either someting fishy, or, we have missed out something!

Right candidate for an RTI exercise.

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
blrpraj's picture

Ha Ha Ha!!

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..he he he!!. Sorry folks, I couldn't help rolling with laughter when I saw the first picture in this thread - the one with the multiple signs for one single speed bump. I have never seen anything like it and quite frankly the most comical photograph I have ever seen. Looks like the authorities are making doubly and triply sure that people are forewarned about the menacing speed bump that follows shortly.

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