Push-button system for pedestrians a flop

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 28 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: In 2011, the BMC installed push-button-and-stop-traffic systems for pedestrians at 55 crossings in the city at a considerable expense. But a year later, all are defunct. The systems were installed to reduce waiting time for pedestrians, but combined with a lack of awareness and misuse, the concept did not take off.

To start with, not many people were using the systems. "But the ones who were, did so more out of amusement. People would press the button and interrupt vehicular traffic even if they were not going to cross the road. So, while the installations at some junctions were never used, a few were overused. Gradually, the traffic police made the systems unoperational," said a senior official from the civic roads department.

Traffic police officers said the concept was new to the city and people did not warm up to it. "Hence, there was either no use of it or there was rampant misuse," said an officer.
The telephone box-sized instruments on traffic signal poles were meant to let pedestrians save time by changing traffic lights with the push of a button. The button, once pressed, would trigger the system and after a duration of a few seconds to a few minutes, the signal for walking would turn green and remain so for at least 12 seconds; the signalling cycle at a typical big junction is 90 seconds.

The junctions with the installations include: Bhatia Hospital, Tardeo; Bandra-Worli Sea Link, AG Khan Road; Poddar Hospital, Worli; City Light Cinema junction, Mahim; Sitaladevi temple, Mahim; Taraporewala, Charni Road; Sena Bhavan, Shivaji Parkl; Villa Theresa School, Cumbala Hill.

The boxes cost the BMC Rs 6,000 apiece. They had been initially programmed to emit a loud 'hoot' when the signal changed. But this was disabled following complaints from people living near the junctions.

"The BMC plans to restart the systems in a month," said a senior civic official. But the traffic police have asked the BMC to put up awareness boards at all 55 spots before reactivation.

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