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Functioning of traffic signals No one bothered.

Thanks to lack of action on part of Traffic Police, non-use of about 175 traffic signals on busy Karachi roads has, over time, become a serious problem for commuters. They face immense problems every evening.

Many of these, though fully operative, are not used when needed most - in rush hours. Many others need to be repaired. But funds allocated for the purpose are only barely used.

Traffic wardens deployed at chowks with signals 'allow' everyone to keep moving according to their will and contribute to causing traffic jams. In the evening rush, traffic cops are not easily visible at many points on M A Jinnah Road.

One must not be surprised to note that cops signal (with their hands) in different directions because they too can't see their man across the road.

Many traffic signals are either out of order or are switched off during peak hours. Why? Because many traffic cops on duty believe and insist that it is easier to manage heavy traffic manually. Proposals for using signals often fall on deaf ears. These include SSP Traffic Syed Ali Raza who in his interview with Engineering Review (January 16-31, 2011 issue) had rejected the concept of computerizing signal operations to manage the traffic better.

However, some traffic cops and officers disagree with the above. A senior officer is reported to have said that healthy traffic signals are a basic need to keep the roads congestion free. Several junctions have messy traffic because the signals are non-functional, he added.

Malfunctioning of signals is partly due to lack of interest on part of traffic cops. However, lack of interest goes much ahead. City government's Transport Department is also not signal friendly. It failed to use Rs. 20 million allocated in year 2010-11 for repair and maintenance of signals.

Why do concerned authorities remain 'unconcerned' about repairing traffic signals? No clear answer could be gathered by ER. However, we were told that out of 175 signals, 114 are maintained by Transport and Communication Department. And despite its miserable performance in 2010-11, city government's budget for 2011-12 had allocated Rs 65 million for this purpose.

Part of the sum is to be spent on installing new signals on urgent basis and part on improving/ repairing old signals.

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Publication:Pakistan Engineering Review
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 15, 2012
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