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regular-article-logo Friday, 14 June 2024

New Town speed cameras with a direct line to cops

The new system will upgrade the existing surveillance network using the AI technology to alert cops whenever there is a possibility of any accident

Snehal Sengupta New Town Published 18.11.20, 03:00 AM
The Major Arterial Road in New Town, which will have  speed cameras.

The Major Arterial Road in New Town, which will have speed cameras. Snehal Sengupta

Speed cameras will be installed at regular intervals on the six-lane Major Arterial Road that connects New Town with Salt Lake on one end and the airport on the other.

The 10.5km-long road had been originally designed as a speed corridor to reduce the travel time of those headed to the airport.

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The speed cameras as well as the CCTV cameras on the stretch will be connected to an Artificial Intelligence (AI) module to monitor vehicles and alert police of “any abnormal driving” and help reduce accidents.

Debashish Sen, the chairman of Hidco that is responsible for New Town’s infrastructure, said cameras had been installed on almost every important road in the township.

Footage from the cameras have helped cops during accidents; but it is not enough to prevent accidents, he said.

The new system will upgrade the existing surveillance network using the AI technology to alert cops whenever there is a possibility of an accident, Sen said. “Say, a car is moving at high speed and zig-zagging on the road. The new system will track the vehicle and alert the police. The irregular driving behaviour can be because the driver is drunk. One can understand and recognise human action using technology based on artificial intelligence. On being alerted, cops at the nearest location can stop the car.”

Vehicle speed is tracked using portable speed trap cameras, which can be set up anywhere on the road, an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate said.

Speed cameras are needed as people tend to speed, especially in the night and at dawn, another officer of the commissionerate’s traffic wing said.

“We have recorded motorists driving down the Major Arterial Road at more than 100kmph. It is easy to speed on the road as it is wide and smooth… but it is an extremely risky proposition, too,” the officer said.

The speed limit on the road has been fixed at 55kmph for light motor vehicles and 40kmph for bus, heavy goods vehicles, and two-wheelers, the officer said.

Limiting the speed on a speed corridor like the Major Arterial Road defeats its purpose, several residents said.

The road had been designed for faster travel, Akash Chakraborty, a resident of Action Area I, said.

“The road has a wide divider and a driver gets an unhindered vision… it is quite smooth, too, and putting speed checks will slow down traffic considerably,” he said.

Most accidents are a result of speeding and rash driving, an officer of the commissionerate said. “So, we decided to put crash barriers on roads in a zigzag manner to act as a deterrent to those speeding.”

The barriers, though, get coated with dust over time and are difficult to spot in the dark, Tanisha Bhattacharya, a resident of the township, said.

“It is dangerous at night… a barrier suddenly pops up in the line of vision, forcing a motorist to slam the brakes or swerve to avoid hitting it,” Bhattacharya said.

Hidco plans to install close to 600 CCTV cameras across the township in phases.

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