5 Technology Solutions That Can Make India’s Roads Safer
Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has frequently spoken about the government’s intention to leverage technology to improve road safety. With India’s ever surging levels of motorisation and an enforcement man force that is already stretched thin, making the use of technology to create systems to regulate traffic, catching offenders and ensure road safety is something that is crucial. And the government’s plan to implement the Integrated Traffic Management System is an important step in this direction. Here’s a look at five technology solutions that could help make Indian roads safer.
1. LIDAR Gun
Light and easy to use, the LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) gun is a tool that helps law enforcers to catch and book vehicles that cross the speed limit. The gun emits an invisible infrared beam which can target an individual vehicle and estimate whether it is violating the speed limit or not based on variations recorded in the light. The device takes less than a second to estimate a vehicle’s speed and is quite accurate.
LIDAR guns can also measure the distance between two vehicles which can help detect instances of tailgating (when the vehicles are too close), and record and store images of license plates.
These devices have been around for a while, and now are extensively used by traffic police in countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.
2. Speed Indication Display
Based on the idea that non-confrontational warnings can be equally effective to prevent people from flouting traffic regulations – Speed Indication Displays are digital speed boards that are installed on roads to inform vehicles whether they are under the limit or not. Most of these types of devices are fitted with a radar sensor which is able to estimate the speed of vehicles and displays this information on a LED display for the vehicles. While some of these may simply tell people if they are driving over and under the speed limit, others display real-time speeds for each vehicle. Some are also capable of snapping and storing images of speeding vehicles.
Speed Indication Displays are already being used in Singapore and UK, and the Government of India’s proposed Integrated Traffic Management System also suggests using these.
3. Speed Governors
The union government recently made the installation of speed governors mandatory in all commercial vehicles in India from January 31, 2017. So what exactly is this device? Speed governors are essentially devices which put a cap on the speed that can be achieved that is below the vehicle’s natural maximum speed. The device has a series of sensors that can detect how fast a vehicle is going and if this crosses the limit set by it, it restricts the flow of air and fuel to the engine. This automatically slows down and stops the vehicle from crossing this pre-determined speed. Speed governors are one of the most effective solutions to ensure that vehicles remain within the speed limit.
4. Variable Message Signs
This is something that is already being rolled out in India in places like Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Delhi, too, soon plans to install these. Variable Message Signs are LED boards which can display important information that needs to be communicated to commuters. These can be used to update road users on the real-time road and traffic conditions in the case of major breakdowns, congestions, and so on.
5. Inductive Loops
When embedded in the surface of the road, induction loops can help in traffic control by detecting when there are vehicles waiting at a junction and sending this information to traffic signals which can then change according to the on-ground situation. These loops make use of electromagnetic fields which experience a change in frequency when a vehicle enters the area. This feedback is then relayed via connected cables.
It can also use these frequency changes to determine the type of vehicle which is standing.