The problem is lack of coordination. When civic agencies take up projects in the city, they must hold a coordination meeting to ensure there is clarity among them and proper traffic management, but this is obviously not happening.
Unless this is taken seriously, it will result in the mess and mayhem we are seeing today. We have been talking about UMTA, a unified body, which can co-ordinate the functions of different agencies with respect to the civic work and infrastructure of the city. In its absence a lack of coordination is very obvious and this is what we are seeing at present.
The traffic police can do little because they are not involved in the coordination and cannot give their advice before the maintenance work is carried out. Left to handle the mess, they are not capable of doing it as they are meant for traffic law enforcement and not management, which is a very technical subject that they do not understand. It is complex, covering the dynamics of traffic flow patterns , changing travel behaviour and scientific traffic management in dynamic situations.
They do not have capability to develop a simulation model or use it to submit these possibilities and see how effectively they can work. Their understanding and capability comes only from what a traffic police constable standing on the road can see. Traffic is a network phenomenon. If you work on one stretch, its impact is seen all over the network. This is extremely difficult to understand unless you have the technical capability to and is a huge drawback in the system of traffic management in the city today.
Traffic signals are also timed and managed by the traffic police. But if the traffic signal timing problem is looked at by a traffic or transportation engineer, it becomes a very complex task involving very detailed investigation and mathematics to use it optimally at junctions.
When we talk about the inter- department committee, the resident welfare associations (RWAs) should be a part of it and involved in deciding when the work should start and what traffic management measures will be needed while it is underway.
If people are taken into confidence and are informed prior to the start of the work on a project, they may make better choices of travel during that period or take some other mode of transport to avoid being inconvenienced.
In a nutshell what we need is a strong body for inter- agency coordination with the RWAs on board and improve the technical capacity of the police to handle the task of traffic management more scientifically....