Vellayambalam Signal: Price To Pay For Success
On Aug 03, 2012
Trivandrum: Two months since the official inauguration of the automated signal system at Vellayambalam, the traffic condition, which used to be chaotic during peak times at the roundabout, now flows in a controlled and a much smoother manner. The police personnel on duty at Vellayambalam now have the stress of their jobs reduced many times through the installation of the system.
“The system is working with perfection,” said Ravikumar, Joint Director, Control and Instrumentation Group, C-DAC. “While in the case of traffic lights installed at other junctions in the city, occasions do arise every day at one time or the other, when the pre-set traffic light system fails to control the flow during peak time and the work has to be taken up manually. In the case of Vellayambalam, there has never once been a case during the past two months where the limitation in the system had to be overcome through manual effort.”
The automated signal was the first of its kind in India. It is completely solar powered, wireless and - unlike other traffic systems - intelligent as well, capable of making smart decisions in accordance with the demands of the traffic flow. The project was undertaken jointly by C-DAC and Keltron as an experiment conducted to prevail over the worsening traffic situation at Vellayambalam, without having to bring about any drastic changes to the lay out of the junction.
After its overwhelming success, the automated signal now finds itself useful yet ignored.
“We were entrusted to come with a solution; we did it and handed it over to the government. It is up to them to decide whether such signals would be installed at other junctions as well. So far we haven't been informed about anything of that sort,” says Ravikumar.
And the possibility of the automated signal being installed at other junction stands limited as well, despite the obvious advantages.
“The automated signal at Vellayambalam is functioning well enough,” explains Madhavan Pillai, Project Manager of Kerala Road Fund Board “But the work that's being carried out in the city roads in entrusted with TRDCL. The plan for the project has already been decided and work is being completed. According to the plan, it was decided that the traffic junction would have lights with fixed timings; nothing can be done to alter it as of now. So the automated signal, although a very successful implementation, has no takers at the moment.”
With everything going wrong for the city in every department, the automated signal at Vellayambalam was one of the few success stories to have happened in recent times for Trivandrum to feel good about. But unfortunately, the authorities are more concerned about burying this success story, so as to prevent complications arising out of the current way of running things.
After years of experience in dealing with delays and failures, it seems that Trivandrum isn't capable of coping up with success stories any more.