CHANDIGARH: To monitor traffic snarls at toll plazas and ease vehicle flow, Punjab Public Works Department has been mulling over about using drones for video surveillance and real-time mapping of congestion at all major toll plazas. Punjab PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla said that technically, a tollgate system’s efficiency is measured through the queue length and the waiting time. The queue build up is a result of the gap in vehicle clearance vis-a-vis total arrivals at the toll per unit of time.
It swells exponentially in a peak hour. So, despite better roads, toll plazas only end up slowing down traffic. Hence, the deployment of drones is being considered to streamline the vehicular flow. Following series of complaints about long queues and misbehaviour by the staff of toll plazas, a special meeting was convened with the toll plaza operators in the State and the officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
These operators manage 15 toll plazas on National Highways and 23 on State roads. The Minister voiced the public concern about traffic congestion leading to inordinate delay, wastage of public time and fuel and also the deficiencies in service at the toll plazas across the state. They were told to spruce up functioning within 30 days and provide public facilities at toll plazas as per the terms and conditions of their contract, including a fully equipped ambulance, recovery van, drinking water, lighting, toilet facility and sign boards.
Better facilities for commuters such as courteous attitude of the staff, construction of additional lanes wherever feasible, usage of additional hand-held machines for toll collection and regular maintenance of BOT roads, beams, edgings, markings and plantation were also discussed. Deeming the absence of the representative from Sona Enterprises responsible for the operation of toll plaza at Laddowal on NH 1 near Ludhiana as non-inclination to redress the complaints against its services, the department wrote against the operator to the NHAI seeking necessary action and temporary permission of free movement of traffic without payment of any toll, till the operator amends its ways and takes corrective measures.