Open chaos meets open source on Kolkata roads

Written by Indranil Chakraborty | Kolkata, Jul 29 | Updated: Jul 30 2008, 06:23am hrs
Open chaos, meet open source. Kolkatas harried traffic police, which has to tackle a mess of trucks, cars, auto rickshaws, hand-pulled rickshaws and the periodic procession, has decided to put in place an intelligent traffic monitoring system based on open-source software controlling information from cameras and sensors. In the first such project in India, the intelligent traffic monitoring software will monitor and send the data to a network operating centre (NOC) at Lalbazar, red-brick headquarters of Kolkata Police, where a core team will act in real time to control the flow. The Rs 25-crore project, using Red Hat Linux operating system, will incorporate a digital map with detailed GIS or geographical information system of the city and even the emergency number 100, giving the police an exact fix on the callers location and identity.

Putting the system into place will be Keltron, the Kerala governments electronics industry development outfit. PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) will be the consultant and project manager. Apart from monitoring traffic and responding to distress calls, the system will also incorporate a surveillance system at public places and VIP areas.

Kasturi Bhattacharjee, a managing consultant at PwC who is in charge of the police project from the consultants side, said this would be the first project of such complexity in India. This is the first time in India such modern traffic system is being implemented in a city in India. Kolkata will have a traffic system that will take care of any unforeseen events disrupting the traffic flow, said Bhattacharjee.

Sivaji Ghosh, additional commissioner of police, said the intelligent software coupled with the GIS will be able to anticipate traffic snarls from factors like political meetings and will divert traffic to roads that are less congested. But this does not mean there will be no human intervention. The new traffic system will have its share of human intervention but software will have a major role in putting in place an automated traffic system, Ghosh said. Ghosh said 95 major crossings have already been selected for the implementation of the area traffic control system. The new traffic system will have an integrated GIS-based automated vehicle tracking & management system (AVTMS), area traffic control (ATC), distress call response management system (DCRMS) and critical public place survelliance system (CPPSS). Abhijit Ghosh, the consultant with Keltron, said all these will monitor, control create a network of surveillance over the traffic movement.