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In Coimbatore, new technology on trial to curb traffic violations


Coimbatore recently joined a band of Indian cities that use technology to reduce traffic violations and step up surveillance. Besides the cameras, optic fibre cables and hand-held devices, video analytics is sought to be used to detect traffic-related offences.

The aerial traffic control system in Coimbatore has 180 fixed and speed-dome cameras at traffic signals and crowded places such as bus stands and markets. These are networked through dedicated optic fibre cables and wireless systems. The police monitor the signals on the LCD screens at the control room. The traffic police are also given GPRS-enabled hand-held devices to get information on a vehicle. When a constable on the road feeds the vehicle number in the device, it throws up all details of the vehicle and generates an e-challan if it has committed a violation.

Video analytics is piloted at a junction to detect white-line crossing. According to Vishal Jain, Director of JVM Networks, which implemented the project for the Coimbatore police, the system in place now is partly manual in most of the cities. Video analytics can be used for detecting speeding, objects in crowded places, violation of no-entry sign, white-line crossing, signal jumping and crowd-gathering in specific areas and vehicle-counting. Once the basic infrastructure is in place, video analytics can be used to detect violations and monitor traffic patterns.

For instance, when the signal turns red, the power line for the timer turns an alarm port on. With the video analytics software, the fixed camera zooms on the white-line automatically and takes pictures of violating vehicles for a pre-determined time, says Mr. Jain. To ensure efficiency, what is tried out here is the use of a virtual white line that gets activated when the red signal turns on and the camera captures the images of only those vehicles that cross the line as long as the red signal is on.

With analytics, a camera can do several parallel functions. The number of personnel required to monitor from the control room can be reduced since the process of taking images, storing them in the database and generating e-challans can be automated. A web-based software connects the control room to the database of the regional transport office, thus helping to get the vehicle details.

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