Police propose several changes to traffic lights in City, suburbs to ease congestion


Police have proposed several changes to the existing traffic light system at main junctions in order to ease the traffic congestion within Colombo City, said the OIC of the Colombo City Traffic Division, Chief Inspector A. W. Bandara. He said that there are about 67 main junctions with traffic lights in Colombo and suburbs and they are all functioning on a time-based method.

As the existing traffic light system is outdated and does not cater to the need of the present traffic flow in the city, the police have pointed out to the authorities on the requirement of setting up synchronised traffic lights and traffic lights with sensors as a short-term and long-term change respectively.

Traffic Signal Synchronization is a traffic engineering technique of matching the green light times for a series of intersections to enable the maximum number of vehicles to pass through, thereby reducing stops and delays experienced by motorists.

The Moratuwa University has been entrusted with the task to synchronise the traffic light system in Colombo as the first step and traffic lights with sensors will be installed in the second phase.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has also instructed the Road Development Authority and the Colombo Municipal Council to take steps to widen the roads where necessary and provide timely solutions to the bottle neck junctions in Colombo to reduce the traffic congestion.

The total distance of the roads within the Colombo Municipal Council is about 400 kilometres. An average of 600, 000 vehicles enter the city on a daily basis. Of them 90,000 for 141 schools situated within the city. All these vehicular movements are handled by 800 police traffic officers, CI Bandara said.

Lack of enough parking spaces for vehicles entering the Colombo City has become a major cause for the daily traffic congestion, the CI stressed.

CI Bandara said the pilot project launched by the police with the technical support of the Sri Lanka Air Force to inspect and provide immediate solutions to traffic congestion during rush hours has been successful. Under this project, vehicular movements are being inspected by the police through the real-time drone footage provided from nine major junctions in Colombo by the Air Force and immediate deployments of police traffic officers to the locations where necessary is made.

Under the first stage only the traffic congestion will be inspected and discussions are underway to identify and fine the owners of the vehicles committing traffic law violations in the future, based on the drone and CCTV footage, he said.

All the footage received from the nine drones are inspected by the Colombo City Traffic Division officers at the Air Surveillance Centre located at the Air Force Headquarters. This is headed by Air Commodore, Thushara Weeraratne.