The Mumbai-Pune Expressway will be the first stretch of road in Maharashtra to get an Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS). Senior state police officials expect the state cabinet to clear the proposal by the end of the month and for the system to be operational in six months’ time.
What is Intelligent Traffic Management System?
The ITMS has been designed with an intention to reduce road accidents. The system will comprise a series of radar-based sensors and cameras to capture speed and lane cutting violations. The ITMS system has been designed after studying models in other cities that have been successful in establishing lane discipline and curbing the practice of driving on the wrong side.
How will the ITMS help?
According to the Maharashtra State Highways Police, the system will help curb rampant lane-cutting on the Expressway. In addition, it will reduce police manpower at the 95-kilometre long stretch as the system will automatically detect and punish the traffic offender without manual intervention.
“What happens at present is that heavy vehicles drive on the first lane forcing lighter vehicles to cut onto the second and third lanes to get ahead. A lot of accidents take place because vehicles ram into each other from the rear while jumping lanes,” said a state police official. The police also plan to build rumbler strips on the shoulders of the roads to prevent heavy vehicles from crashing off the roads.
“Since the entry of heavy vehicles is prohibited inside cities between 9 pm and 9 am, truck drivers are compelled to drive at night when they inevitably become sleepy. If a truck veers into the shoulder, the rumbler strips are sure to wake up a drowsy driver before he hits the crash barriers,” said the official.
However, a major concern for the police remains controlling access on the Expressway, with two-wheelers and animals being able to enter the stretch at certain exits.
Capital expenditure for installing the project
According to the police proposal, the project will require a capital expenditure of Rs 40 crore to install the cameras, sensors and software. It will also require an additional five-year contract worth Rs 50 crore towards operation and maintenance.
“Once the system is operational, we expect accidents to reduce by 10 per cent,” said the official. State police officials expect the project to take off before a similar system for Mumbai, which was approved by the state cabinet on Tuesday, gets underway. The Rs 891 crore project for the city is not expected to be operational for at least a year as it will require installing new signals at over 600 junctions.
The ITMS is also expected to be installed in the proposed Samruddhi Corridor between Mumbai and Nagpur.