ICTpost Governance Bureau
(An analysis on ‘Urbanisation in Digital India’)
The complexities of Indian traffic system and driver behaviour are much higher as compared to Western countries. Hetrogeneous mix, no lane discipline, exponential growth of vehicles, bad roads, poor geometrics, conflicting movements of pedestrians and vehicles on the road, problems with the driver licensing system, poor traffic law enforcement etc., are few factors that add to this complexity. While some of these could be improved by policy interventions and other measures from government and local bodies, the traffic conditions in India today is as such beyond the level of control by simple traffic management measures or human abilities and the use of technology is all the more important to manage traffic in India today.
The biggest hurdle is the lack of effective and reliable communication network for citywide traffic management using Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). The ITS technologies on traffic management have to rely heavily on communication channels on the flow of real time data to the control centres, but the realibility and un-interrupted availability of communication networks is still a challenge in India.
Some cities have launched the Citizens’ Council to discuss the sustainable city building. In the recent years, the number of the Committee members exceeds 200 citizens, and the modality of citizens’ participation has evolved from the simple public consultation to more equal partnership of city and the citizens groups, or ‘collaboration’ where citizens will participate in the agenda-setting to drafting of the strategy, as also monitoring and evaluation. It is very important to use ICT to provide full information to the citizens and facilitate the whole participatory processes.
ICT: Managing Urban Growth
ICT innovations are catalysts of structural change for personal, work, and community life that will result in the development of more distributed, compact, and mixed-use urban forms. Green real estate development in densely populated locations could have the most significant impact on sustainable urban development, reducing energy consumption from the average suburban household by 75 percent, according to a paper published by Harvard Business School.
The combination of pervasive broadband infrastructure and an IP-enabled civil and real estate network will promote innovative practices for emissions reduction such as:
o Developing broadband-based urban communication and services infrastructures: using sensors and cameras, along with next-generation infrastructures for energy (for example, to support plug-in vehicles)
o Making use of these infrastructures for congestion charging: linking charges to auto emissions or fuel efficiency (through a simple banding system at annual vehicle tests and equivalents with cross-referencing to vehicle number plate databases used by congestion-charging systems)
o Developing intelligent, IP-based solutions for dynamic traffic management and rerouting for private transport and highly responsive, on-demand public transport practices
o Radical new uses of public sector data: making journey time data and traffic flow information available to enable more creative thinking and action by key players (e.g. major employers and schools) to survey staff and students about shifting their time and usage patterns.