The now and the hereafter
Traffic planning has two objectives, which have to be consistent with one another. One is the formulation of a basic plan for everyday traffic management. And the other is, having a plan that factors in future developments, which include factors such as an increase in traffic volume. Examples of this are: The construction of traffic islands at the Pantheon Road intersection in Egmore and restoration of the roundtana at Anna Nagar.
The authority and the expertise
As per government norms, the competent authorities that can effect traffic planning of the afore-mentioned nature are: the State Transport Department, T. N. Police (Traffic and Planning Wing) and the State Highways Department. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) does such planning for national highways.
Local bodies including Greater Chennai Corporation cannot undertake such study or planning due to the lack of expertise and authority.
However, local bodies can fund such traffic planning including installation of traffic signals and construction of median and speed breakers only the basis of the recommendations made by the Tamil Nadu Police (Traffic and Planning Wing).
Private institutions and government-funded centres can undertake such a study and planning but recommendations in the study are not binding on the State government. Such studies are only recommendatory in nature.
The teams and the tasks
In the Traffic Planning Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police, routine daily reports filed by the respective traffic wings of police stations form the basis for any traffic planning or intervention.
Such reports are gathered through beat traffic police personnel and police personnel on patrol duty, on a daily basis. As far as State Highways Department and other State agencies are concerned, such planning is done by a team of field-level officers which include Road Inspectors (RIs), structural engineers, surveyors, marksmen and technicians.
Engineering students are also roped in for such studies, which includes taking a vehicular census on specific routes.
The residents and the role
In various forms traffic planning, which include conversion of a two-way route into a one-way, residents views are sought by the authorities concerned, including the police through consultations. Meetings of this nature are organised, on an average, once every quarter, to get residents’ feedback on traffic changes in the neighbourhood. For big areas that subsume many localities, public hearings were organised.
The ‘how’ of it
Petitions seeking traffic changes can be sent individually or through residential associations.
Petitions on an association’s letter head have a ring of credibility around them. These petitions should present details about the existing traffic arrangement, the traffic changes sought, which include withdrawal of newly introduced traffic changes. How effecting these changes would help road users should be clearly explained.
The ‘who’ of it
As far as city roads are concerned, the petitions should be addressed to Greater Chennai Corporation, respective zonal office, Greater Chennai Police Commissionerate (Traffic and Planning Wing) and respective police station.
Despite having submitted a petition, residents should follow up on it with the authorities concerned, through their association.
The time frame?
Residents who have made such a plea can’t expect a time frame within which it will be addressed, because the plan would need careful study by respective government department and their is also the question of fund allocation after a plan has been approved.
At present, there are no online forums through which traffic suggestions can be submitted. They have to be presented to the police through other channels, which include meeting them in person. For details, call Greater Chennai Police Commissionerate, Vepery, at 044 – 25615048.