Traffic congestion is the biggest problem faced by almost all major cities around the world. With “drivers spending nearly 50% of their driving time in traffic jams in some cities around the world”, traffic problems are worsening day by day. To ease traffic congestion and pollution, many ways such as carpooling, smart parking, public transit etc. have been adopted across the globe. However, traffic problems still remain persistent, with its hazardous effects on health and negative effects on time. Traffic congestion is the irritating reality of modern life that requires a solution that is both practical as well as permanent.
The growing traffic congestions are becoming a huge challenge for the governments worldwide, to provide pollution free environment. Private vehicle ownership is one of the reasons for traffic jams in the cities, with the ever-increasing population. In addition, inadequate infrastructure and procedures like 4-way crossing, inconvenient public transportation etc. also lead to congestion. In the existing 4-way crossing, a vehicle has to wait for all three sides to pass before the signal turns green. This results in elongated queues, congestion at every lane and high pollution levels. Moreover, the struggle of avoiding traffic and rash drivers is the major cause of frustration and stress.
Many temporary and virtuous congestion-reduction measures have been adopted worldwide. Be it population control or odd-even scheme or carpooling, one of the major causes often missed out during these measures is the 4-phase traffic crossing junction. The 4-way crossing is the most time consuming and frustrating cause of traffic jams. Over the years, there have been almost no efforts or innovation to re-design the conventional 4 phase traffic crossing junction. As mentioned above, a lot of temporary measures have been adopted till now with no signs of a permanent solution.
Introducing Smart Crossing: A smart city initiative by SmartUrbs
In order to ease traffic congestion, a patented concept called “Smart Crossing” is introduced by SmartUrbs. Smart Crossing is patented by the Indian Patent Office (IPO), Government of India. (Patent no. 288778). The initiative is undertaken to reduce traffic congestion, pollution levels and to commute waiting time at red lights.
The idea behind “Smart Crossing” is that it converts the conventional 4-way crossing to a two-phase crossing. The process prohibits to take a right turn, by turning the two opposite signals green at a time. This results in the smooth flow of traffic from two opposite lanes at a time. In order to take a right turn from crossing, one has to take a left turn, followed by a c-turn.
The essence of this concept lies in the fact that c-turns are only allowed when the signal for a c-turn is green so that you can easily take c-turn without conflicting with the prevailing traffic on that lane. Hence, if you have waited for your traffic signal to turn green after all the other three signals have turned green already, smart crossing can definitely save you time and money.
The Smart Crossing is tested and a proven solution to ease traffic congestion. A microsimulation of the concept was implemented for 16 hours at a busy 4-way crossing Kranti Marg in Delhi, India. A behavior-based multi-purpose traffic simulation software known as VISSIM was used for the evaluation to study minute of the details using high-fidelity 3D visualizations. The results of the implementation were significantly positive as:
- Traffic congestion was reduced by upto 80%
- Chances of getting green light increased by upto 50%
- Air pollution due to traffic reduced by upto 50%
- Travel time reduced by 80%
After observing the results of the simulation, it becomes even more essential to consider such initiatives that not only seem to be effective but are also practically tested and proved. This innovative idea of reducing traffic jams caused by 4-way crossing lane has definitely proven to be a visionary concept for all the other key players. Perhaps it is the most efficient and effective way to reduce traffic congestion, as it involves very low infrastructure investment.