Bhubaneswar: Pelican signals. If you too have come across this term for the first time don’t confuse this with a bird’s mating calls. It is rather an advanced traffic management system installed around 14 areas in the city which is hardly being used due to lack of awareness among people.
Installed by the Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL), pelican signals are manually-controlled signals that give pedestrians a duration of 15 seconds by turning the traffic lights red to cross the road safely. People waiting to cross have to push a button, wait for a few moments and walk the zebra line once the traffic has stopped.
Put up at key locations in the city like RD College, Press Club Road, KIIT School and near Sum Hospital, the project was initiated for better traffic control. However, this smart-city idea is facing some not-so-smart people who seem to have little or no knowledge about its functioning.
“It’s a great idea but I am truly unaware how it works. Usually, I wait for the traffic to be moderate and then I walk across the road,” said Jatin Sahoo, a daily commuter to the Press Club Road.
However, those that are aware of the pelican signal are miffed over its working and inconsistency. “I used to work in Bangalore and I was excited when I got to know that even my city will have this technology. But at times the signal won’t turn green for more than 2 minutes and eventually I have to jaywalk my way,” explained Shivanshu Mohanty who stays near Sum Hospital.
According to a report compiled by the state transport department, road accidents in the state accounted to 4029 deaths last year. While the ministry of road transport and highways placed Orissa second in terms of pedestrian deaths that was reported to be 478, only behind Uttar Pradesh in 2017.
Citing the need to create awareness among people, K Khandwal, a traffic cop here said that people need to be taught about the pelican signal. “This is a vital technology that can help in controlling the fatality rate due to accidents. But it will be futile unless riders and pedestrians know how to use it,” he added.
However, Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena said, “awareness programmes will be started soon and coordination with traffic departments done for enforcement of the pelican signal.”