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Kolkata Police to use Analytics with Google Maps to Manage Traffic

Traffic jams could be a thing of the past. In a first in India, the Kolkata traffic police is planning to leverage the use of analytics using data from Google Maps to deal with the kilometers long traffic jams plaguing the city.

Additional CP Vineet Goel said that the Kolkata police have proposed an algorithm to deal with the traffic. The algorithm will take the Google real-time traffic data as an input, calculate the traffic lines at intersections throughout the city, and ultimately attempt to predict the exact signal cycle. The plan is to optimise the number of cars passing through the intersections to avoid long queues.

All these details were revealed at the Urban Road Traffic Management and Safety conference last week.

Previously, traffic signals had differing clock timings which made it difficult to keep things organised. This has now been phased out in preference of the new proposed system. Wi-fi systems around the city will connect all the signals to a single location. This has achieved using help from Siemens.

In an interview with Times of India, Mr. Goel revealed that the cops had considered using underground induction loops to track the number of vehicles passing each intersection. But that would’ve meant digging throughout the city, massive costs, and led to the one thing they’re trying to solve – traffic jams.

Thus the approach using Google Maps was put forward and accepted unanimously. Google Maps updates the traffic on a real-time basis and using satellite imagery, the number of vehicles on the road can be calculated. If the queue stretches beyond a 100-150 metres, an alert will go out to the concerned traffic personnel in that sector.

Data will be analysed in real time and the cops at each intersection will be asked to file reports where the traffic had to be managed manually. In addition to this, the nature of vehicles will also be predicted using a software developed for this purpose.


Our take on this

This could herald a new phase in traffic management in the country. For decades, traffic jams have caused headaches for commuters throughout the nation. With the Kolkata police spearheading the charge to untangle this mess, the hope is that other metro cities will also use this analytics approach to deal with traffic.

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