Thursday, 28 October, 2021

Digital push-button signals lying unused

DNCC continues to install it at several points

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is installing more digital push-button signals in the city for safe road crossing by pedestrians though it seems that the new system is not well accepted by people.

Urban experts said installation of such advanced technology without proper education is nothing but waste of public money because there is a lack of awareness on the part of pedestrians.

DNCC sources said three push-button signals were installed in front of Brac University at Gulshan-1, Saint Francis Xavier’s Green Herald International School at Mohammadpur and Dhaka Commerce College at Mirpur spending Tk 6.68 lakh, Tk 6.46 lakh and Tk 7.71 lakh respectively.

For crossing roads, pedestrians have to push a button installed in a pole on both sides of a road. A countdown timer will give red and green signals after a certain period of time for start and stop of vehicles but people are reluctant to use the system, they also said.

DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam inaugurated the push-button signal at Saint Francis Xavier’s Green Herald International School at Mohammadpur on October 24 last year.

DNCC officials said the push-button system was installed in front of Green Herald School at Mohammadpur as a pilot project which was a total failure due to its technical error and public awareness, but some engineers are interested in installing more digital push-button signals.

But during a recent visit to the three push-button signals under DNCC, this correspondent found that two of the traffic signals remain out of order.

The correspondent on Wednesday visited the push-button system before Brac University and found that the lights of the signals and countdown timer are not working while the signal lights are damaged.

This correspondent also visited the push-button signal, which was installed in front of Dhaka Commerce College at Mirpur on October 4, and found that it is being used by the pedestrians.

Talking to the correspondent, pedestrians and drivers said they are not aware of the push button traffic signal and do not know how to use it.

Md Babu, a resident of the area, said, “After pushing the digital button, I was crossing road but a motorcycle run over my leg. We want to use the digital signal but drivers are not aware of the system. It needs education for both pedestrians and drivers. Otherwise, the system won’t work.”    

DNCC’s traffic engineering section said they are going to install 20 such digital signals in different areas of the capital with an estimated cost of Tk 2.05 crore.

An engineer wishing anonymity said that installations of four push-button signals beside National Bank at Kuril Chowrasta, in front of Milestone College at Uttara-11, in front of Gulshan College at Merul Badda and on Bir Uttam Rafiqul Islam Avenue near Link road are underway.

An engineer of DNCC wishing anonymity said that DNCC had run public awareness campaign but people are not interested in using the system.

DNCC Executive Engineer (Civil), Traffic Engineering Circle, Md Farhad said, “We will fix the two push-button signals first. Then, we will discuss regarding the utility of the signals and present the views of pedestrians to the policymakers.”

“The policymakers will decide whether we will install more push-button signals or not,” he added.

Talking to the Daily Sun, urban planner Adil Mohammed Khan said, “DNCC started the push-button system at Mohammadpur and Mohakhali on pilot basis which is now a dead system. DNCC has to analyse the root cause of the failure before installing more push buttons.”

Without ensuring proper function of the existing push-button signals, installation of more signals will be nothing but waste of public money, he also said.

Planner Ariful Islam, also vice-president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners, said, “The idea is a modern one and it is popular in modern countries. It is also strictly followed by the people. But in our country, we don’t know the function and use of the system. We have to be aligned with the system first.”

Besides, without deploying manpower to ensure its application and training to people, the system will not succeed. DNCC should focus on the functionality first before installing more push-button signals, he observed.