TRAFFIC MAY GO HIGH -TECH
I am lucky. I have had the pleasure of living in Thailand for many years now. Bangkok is a truly great place, like so many in South East Asia. People are wonderful, food is brilliant and the number of leisure activities to choose from is unbelievable. Probably the only thing I could pick on the negative side of living here is the traffic.
Traffic in many of the South East Asian capitals like Manila, Jakarta and Bangkok is usually pretty bad. Let’s not say the traffic sucks. Let’s just say that it isn’t exactly pleasant to be a participant in – especially when it rains.
I have been wondering for some time
how we could use modern IT systems and
concepts to ease traffic congestion, and
a recent trip to Singapore triggered this
article. Singapore is actually quite advanced
in managing downtown traffic. The
ERP, or Electronic Road Pricing system in
Singapore, is surely not the most beloved
technological achievement of the Singaporeans,
but one has to acknowledge that it
keeps downtown traffic pretty much under
A little display informs the driver about the available cash whenever a gate is passed and the particular amount is subtracted. In addition, there are cameras installed in every gate, which take pictures of the license plate of the passing car for dispute resolution purposes. If a car passes that does not have such a device or if the money remaining on the card is not enough, the happy driver will get a written invoice sent to his home and naturally a little fine is applied as well. Foreign cars can buy a flat fee one-day pass and pay the outstanding amount at the border when they leave the country.
In fact, I was told that this system not only pays for itself, but also allows the government to subsidize the subway and public bus systems to stimulate drivers to park their car at park-and-ride facilities and use public transport.
All this made me think that now that
Bangkok has a good public transport system,
comprising buses, the sky train and
the subway system, the next step would
be to introduce a similar system here in
Bangkok as well. The system could ease
the traffic on the most congested roads like
Sukhumvit and Silom and others alongside
the sky train and the subway.
I personally believe that such a system
once introduced would actually be appreciated
by most people.
This would really be great, but is far
from all that could be achieved with modern
traffic management systems.
Another good and cost effective sample
is the “green wave” signaling system,
which synchronizes multiple traffic lights
on a main road and ensures all green traffic
lights for vehicles travelling at the advised