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In defence of the traffic police!!

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EnvironmentTraffic

In the "unlocking bangalore" debate I come from 2 or 3 contexts.

a) I believe there is at least 30% capacity on our roads which are wasted by non adherence and non implementation of the law( both traffic laws and a myriad of civic laws )

b) I believe that of the various enforcers/government bodies out there ,the traffic police is one of the better ones , but who are are always at the worst end of the stick, tremendously underresourced and unempowered.

Note: on the empowerment side..the traffic police have a very small area of power.The enforcement wings of the RTO and BBMP have jurisdiction of many more issues that effect traffic much more.

c)However in the long run it is the traffic ploice who are accountable..for th traffic mess ..the usual case of responsibility without resources or authority.

d)That until this fundamental issue is resolved all our public ( or private )investments of the past and future will deliver only a fraction of the expected outcome.

The effort should therefore be

i)To resource traffic department.

Note:Some level of private funding is going on , but for the problems that we face , still small.

b)enactment of laws that empower the traffic police...

eg building violations/encroachments, even badly maintained roads!!

 

This is asking for a lot I l know..but I truly believe the solution lies first here and not in an 3500crore expressway or whatever.

I do know that there are are many areas within the purview of the existing jurisdiction of the traffic police that are not being enforced sufficiently ...but I believe that will happen in conjunction with some of the other changes listed above , not before.

And on huge 3500crore investments in traffic related infrastructure..i am of the form opinion that a lion share of that should go in for pedestrian and cycle accesses .

And of course thee removal of the state monopoly on public transport..but thats another but very very crucial link..to this unlocking debate.

 

vijayan

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tsubba's picture

awesome

ಮೇಲೆ
122 users have liked.
menon sir, right on the ball. another issue is even though they are to sit on certain decisions of traffic management and have to bear a significant load in enforcement, they have no cadre of trained traffic engineers in their ranks. the chief was quoted as saying empirical knowledge and things learnt on the job is more than sufficient. consequently, they are often seen pushing for grade separators and flyovers all over the place. there are a few engineers in the palike's traffic cell, but it is not clear if they co-ordinate with the police or take any inputs from them.
silkboard's picture

Couldn't agree more

ಮೇಲೆ
130 users have liked.

Couldn't agree more. Investments in law and order is a lower hanging fruit - cost wise for sure, and probably policy-change wise as well.

Its very rare to find people who think that way - defending traffic police a bit. They need investments commensurate with city's growth (just like we need more money for roads, flyovers and what not), period.

  • short staffed
  • short on equipment
  • short on egovernance initiatives
  • short on "public perception" - a lot of which is because we dont know whats in and out of their jurisdiction.

Can we get some stats on Bangalore Police -

  • Staff strength 5 years ago vs today
  • Relationship (monetary and jurisdiction wise) with BBMP, BDA etc
  • Pay levels compared to similar level BBMP, BDA staff
  • Investment in egovernance initiatives to make their job easier.
narayan82's picture

cameras

ಮೇಲೆ
135 users have liked.
More fool proof methods must be setup, to catch violaters. Let Camera's be more frequent, and let the images be viewable to all (RTI). Finally the cops need some kind of motivation, either cash or rewards or something! The job of a traffic policeman I think is one of the worst jobs - w.r.t health. I am not sure how the healtcare policy is, But i sure think they deserve a good one.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
Bangalore
Naveen's picture

Traffic Police - Bang On !

ಮೇಲೆ
127 users have liked.

 

Mr.Menon - I too agree wholly with all your observations.

They (traffic police) really are trying to manage a 'jungle' of a city overrun by wild 'vehicles' who will stop at nothing. Managing 'real' forests may be much more easier for forest officials in the wilderness. All they get are brickbats & criticism by the media & all & sundry for not being 'effective'.

Narayan - I was told by the security at the hospital that the camera installed on airport road (manipal hospital jn) was broken by miscreants, & has since not been replaced.

 

vmenon's picture

stats

ಮೇಲೆ
114 users have liked.

Silkboard,

Like your stats approach to this..shpould be available.will try to contribute on that.But the avenues where one can put this on a radar is still an issue..citiconnect??

 

 

navshot's picture

Challenge

ಮೇಲೆ
122 users have liked.

I don't know how many of you read my blog:

http://bangalore.praja.in/bangalore/discuss/2008/05/decongesting-bangalore-city-centre#comment-3737

As vmenon says the bangalore roads may have unused capacity of 30%, but my estimate is, the efficiency (throughput of traffic in unit time) can be improved by as much as 50% if we enforce the laws. I'm actually passionate about this. If you give me the following:

1. A small team of good and honest police officers with powers enforce all traffic rules

2. Amend rules such that after 3rd traffic violation, the license would be cancelled and such as power to call in criminal police/reserved forces in case some unions (like auto, lorry, etc) throw tantrums.

3. Allow freedom and independence from politicians (even PM/CM's son can't escape)

4. A small amount of money to spend on ads in papers and campaign to publicize consequences of traffic violation.

Give me these and 3 months. I can show some real good results.

Investment needed is little, but the WILL needed is huge. Are the right authorities ready to take this challenge?

 

-- navshot
kbsyed61's picture

Simple solutions - Bigger relief !

ಮೇಲೆ
151 users have liked.

Mr Menon,

I couldn't agree with more on your observation. As I had mentioned in my earlier posts, some simple and doable fixes could bring much needed relief on Bangalore Roads. In that scheme of plan, empowering Traffic Police for management, control and enforcement has to be one central piece.

1. Use of an ITES supporting Traffic Police for issuing tickets to the violators would definitely help. Usually on a busy day/junction it would be difficult to apprehend the violator at thes cene of violation. Instead traffic policeman can note down the license plate # and at end of the day, log them in the system when they go back to their desk at Police Stations. Then the tickets get mailed out to all the violators. This needs a co-ordination and data access to RTO's centralized system.

2. The Traffic violations should be linked to Insurance premium.

Syed

Naveen's picture

Traffic Police - 'Core' Issue

ಮೇಲೆ
123 users have liked.

 

As I see it (& I have said it before), the Core issue is that traffic volumes need to be reduced to levels where supervision by traffic police becomes manageable.

Till then, though umpteen ideas can be thought of & tested, none can be made successful or sustainable since it will call for an excessively large force to be deployed - something like during wars or curfews, & this is peacetime !

So, I am resigned to the fate that things will continue in this disorderly manner for time immemorial ! Even after Metro's arrival, commuters will need pushing to use it & the voids left behind will attract more vehicles in a never ending cycle. This is why a complete policy needs to be worked out to make travel by private vehicles expensive /more time consuming. Unless this is done, nothing will change.

 

rs's picture

Privatization perhaps ?

ಮೇಲೆ
139 users have liked.
One way of getting rules enforced is to privatize the fine collection process. There is a lot of money to be made - on average in a five minute walk on the streets I see about 10-20 violations of the law ( parking illegally, driving the wrong side / wrong way of a one way road etc. ) - so I would imagine there would be sufficient incentive for a private company to take it over. One problem is that of diminishing returns - the better you do your job the less money you make ! Of course ones knee jerk reaction is that this would lead to `fake encounters', as it were. One way of dealing with this is to force the enforcers to take photos of the violation. This would work perfectly with Parking violations which do cause half the problem. Before this can be enforced, however, the signage has to be improved. In several places the signs are unclear or defaced or usually dont look professional enough to be take seriously. On one occasion when I confronted a violator who was blatantly parking in front of a no parking sign he claimed that the sign wasnt official and was put there by the residents. Which, of course was total nonsense as another resident had blatantly parked there as well. Another solution to the traffic menace is management - but thats the subject of another post perhaps...
vmenon's picture

just for claritry..on traffic

ಮೇಲೆ
124 users have liked.

I guess the methods to enforce traffic rules as pertasining to existing jursidction of the traffic police is clear..

cameras,IT for issuing tickets,resources, manpower. tehnology etc are some of the main areas i suppose.

But really one area we do not focus on are the other areas, and listing below just to illustrate

a)The traffic police have no control over  bus stands, location or shifting.

b)The TP cannot do anything on encroachment , pavements especially.

c) very little they can do on auto stands which come up from nowhere normally at intersections.

d)No control of high rise buildings at intersections.

e)No control on parking facilties.

f)Cannot have fines for discouraging car usage

g)Cannot do anything on those bescom/BSNL poles wich eat up major portions of roads.

h)Cannot do anything/have no say on the state of roads which in many ways slow traffic. 

 Fundamnetally they have little say on these areas  , let alone full authority .And The BBMP just will not listen or even think of any divestment of power.There is a traffic cell at BBMP..it would be interesting to see how they work and what level of interactions they actaully have with the traffic police and RTO.

There is a school of thought which says this  is right , that it is the elected body(BBMP) that needs to do these things in a democracy and the police are just enforcers .But what do you do when your elected reps do not do much and have control on the major issues effecting traffic.

I am somewhat optimisitc of the citiconnect venture on this..as long as it does not go down the narrow path of other Task forces..which did tend to look at an industry serving solutions( in this case  it should not boil down to ease for motor cars movements) 

 what a long road ahead!!

vmenon's picture

Reduce traffic ..agree

ಮೇಲೆ
106 users have liked.

naveen ,I do agree with this thinking, but whether it is the most central issue I do not know.

But going by that..the necessity to reduce traffic, i see  the following as the main thrust points.

a)More public transport.. The  real issue here  is breaking the government /favored parties momopoly on bus transport.

b) Investments in pedestrian and cycling facilties: This is such a crucial but a not thot or implemented  area.

-for a fraction of road infrastructure investment..we can actually have citizens opting for this method for very short hauls.And as of now these are the two methods where maximum number of trips are made anyway.And actually the efficencies of things like the metro is very very dependant on pedestratian/cycle access to and from stations .

c)High costs for car usage... I am not upto date on this area but i a sure there is a whole wealtgh of knowledge across praja.

d) High costs of parking( maybe)

 

enuf said!

 

murali772's picture

traffic marshals

ಮೇಲೆ
143 users have liked.

Would like to believe that my 'traffic marshals' idea (enunciated earlier - click on link below) could help greatly - wonder if we could pursue it.

Muralidhar Rao

http://bangalore.praja.in...

Muralidhar Rao
idontspam's picture

The real core

ಮೇಲೆ
134 users have liked.

I do not believe until we have consistent, standard, scientific lane markings and signage across the city and every driver is reeducated and recertified can the traffic police can levy any fine related to disorganized driving or obstructing traffic.

Today I dont know which lane is for what? four lane roads end abruptly in two at the other side of the signal, no graceful merging. I dont know beforehand when a turn or cross road is coming up and where it leads to so which lane to choose? lane widths are inconsistent. I am not informed what speed to use on each road. I believe these needs to be fixed first before any enforcement can start

santsub's picture

Agree - Core Issues

ಮೇಲೆ
120 users have liked.

You are right ! - First thing first create signage and complete road markings - and then educate people - TV, Radio, Brochures, and for the new bees who want licence make the test real and practical (Please) no influence cases :) (Believe me this happens and I can quote numerous examples)


Then we can have fines imposed on those who violate... plus make a system to connect their fines with increase in Insurance (Vehicle insurance) anything that involves hefty charges will make people understand their responsibilities.. and yes for those who are born with silver or platinum spoons - if they repeatedly make mistakes seize their licence and ask them to go take a test again and debarr them from driving for 6 months...

 

 

anil bokil's picture

Trafic Violations and Punishments

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Our general observation is that only unorganised sector is punished for traffic violation and all those who have institutional power behind them (BMTC, Institute buses etc) are left scott free. Similarly other sector that goes without punishment is Autos. This might be because they really may not have any money to pay the fine. But both these secotors are major contributors of traffic chaos.

General punishment of fine has a certain limitation in its effectiveness. With affulence going up in the city, people pay the fine but it does not improve their driving habits. There is some hidden arrogance in everybody that he feels like throwing the fine and getting away.

I feel some new innovative methods are required. Some of them could be

1. Use time as punishment:

If somebody violates the traffic rules simply stop him and make him wait there for half an hour or one hour. Impact of such a punishment is long lasting since the value of time is almost same for everybody and you could punish sectors like autos very easily without raising any voices since no money penulty is used.

2. Tie up with Institutions

If a BMTC bus breaks the rule just stop the bus, take down the bus number, route number and send the ticket to the responsible officer of BMTC. If institutiion stands behind its employees than let the institution pay for the problems created by them

3. Two wheeler menace

If a two wheeler violates traffic rule, take out air from one of the wheels and let him go (This used to be very effective during cycle era).

4. Compulsory turning as per lane

Deploy 10 policemen in one square. If a vehicle is standing in RIGHT (turn) lane force it to turn right. Let him take a longer route to his destination.Use similar rule for other lanes. This method is possible where three clear lanes are present and marked. Also, we need to excuse big vehicles that need large turning radius.

5. No violation zone

This should be marked as a closed circle in RED and it might include one or more roads. Cosed circle is essential because at the RED line there will be clear instruction that YOU ARE ENTERING ZERO ERROR ZONE. Any violation inside this should be highly punishable like high fine, cancellation of license, Detaining in Station... Start with a single road but see that all the entries and exits including smallest lanes are having the RED boundary.

Slowly increase the radius. THis will certainly discipline the traffic.

These are some of my preliminary thoughts. Others could add theirs. 

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