“Please scan through Google Earth Map before sending your children to schools in your own private car” for sharing of vehicles would be the slogan of the traffic wing of the Kolkata Police soon. Traffic congestion on major thoroughfares where such schools are situated is a longstanding problem. The city traffic police had long back identified that parents sending their children in individual cars is the only cause of the problem that leads to harassment of thousands of commuters. Many a times the police had campaigned in collaboration with the schools to encourage parents in sharing of one car to send four to five children from a particular area. But the plan had failed due to lack of coordination among parents.
In a bid to bridge the gap between parents from a particular area, the city traffic police have decided to use Google Earth Map. It would be used as a simple tool to help parents locate other students who study in the same school and come to school by their own car from their area. After identifying such students from same schools and residing closer to their houses, the parents would form a small group of around four to five. Since all four avail their personal cars to come to school and return home, number of vehicles plying on the same route goes up and finally creates a chaotic situation on roads near the schools twice a day. On-duty traffic sergeants and constables find themselves in a helpless situation to manage traffic with so many vehicles pouring into the one small area at the same time.
After conducting a survey, the police have come to a conclusion that the problem of traffic congestion could be solved if parents go for sharing of their cars alternatively. So according to the new plan, the police will urge parents belonging to each group, formed after identifying themselves through Google Earth Map, to send their children in car of only one of them on a particular day in a week. Again on another day car of another member of the group will be used to send the same children. It will drastically reduce the number of cars flowing into an area and henceforth there will be no traffic congestion. The idea to introduce the unique system has been initiated considering that parents of most students studying in the schools now use smartphones. Thus they can easily find out the student of the same school staying nearby with just a click to access Google Earth Map.
The police are seeking support of the school authorities to create a database of such students who avail their own car every day. Without revealing much information about a particular student, the data that will help to locate one in Google Earth Map will be uploaded.
When contacted and asked about the new initiative, V Solomon Nesakumar, deputy Commissioner
(Traffic) said: “It has been taken up as a pilot project with Sushila Birla Girls School. Other schools would also be brought in due course of time with the success of the pilot project. It will be done only after proper coordination with schools and parents of such students” It is learnt that policemen from the traffic department held meetings with senior officials of the school and work is going on in war footing to give a shape to the idea. When enquired about the traffic situation near a well known school, a traffic sergeant said the situation turns worse when schools get over.
In morning, the cars leave the area after dropping a student, which also creates congestion and they cannot hurry as it may cause harm to school goers. But, the cars come at least 15 minutes to half an hour ahead of the time to schools get over.
There is space for parking. As a result, drivers need to keep the cars moving on roads near the schools and creates unnecessary congestion. Again some park vehicles illegally narrowing the thoroughfares. The sergeant said that the initiative will not only benefit commuters, but also the school goers as they can return home without losing any time due to traffic jam. Their parents also will not have to worry for usual delay of their children in returning home or to reach school on time as there will be no more trouble due to long queues of vehicles on roads.
The areas where the problem crops up everyday have been identified and those include Darga Road which leaves affect on Park Circus seven-point crossing, AJC Bose Road, Moira Street and many areas in south Kolkata including Ballygunge.