Pelican Crossing System: Pedestrians Unaware Of Their Rights

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Bhubaneswar: Pedestrians scurrying on the roads to save themselves from speeding vehicles is a common sight in the city. They are so used to not having any rights on road space that when Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) introduced the pelican crossing system in the city for their benefit, they were happily unaware of it. A pelican crossing enables pedestrians to turn the traffic lights red or green whenever they want to cross the road.

BSCL, the special purpose vehicle executing the smart city projects in the city, has installed 14 pelican crossing systems at major places such as near Regional Passport Office, Housing Board, near XIMB and Sum Hospital among others.

The irony is that due to lack of awareness and information, the end users don’t know that the provision is meant for them. “I have no idea why these poles with traffic lights have been installed in the middle of the roads,” said Dwipesh Rath, a resident of Kharvel Nagar.

These poles have a button. Upon pressing it, the light on the pole turn red for 15 seconds allowing the pedestrians to cross the road. It has Go and Stop signs to let the pedestrian know when to move.

However, vehicles never stop on the light even if it turns red, as a result of which pedestrians cannot cross the road. “I heard about the system and tried it a number of times but have never seen a vehicle stop,” said Ansul Mehta, a resident of Unit VIII.

Smart city officials have installed the pelican crossing system as part of the Adaptive Traffic Control System. The traffic lights of almost 56 junctions were replaced.

The traffic lights run on an automatic platform and control the traffic, based on sensor driven vehicle density data. The pelican system is manual, allowing the pedestrians to have control on the same.

Elaborating on the plans to popularise the system, a senior BSCL official said that they will create mass awareness through different mediums such as social media and radio jingles.

 “We are introducing a number of modern projects under the smart city mission. The traffic control system is one of them. Initially, there were problems with the lights at the junctions but they have been resolved now. The same will happen with the pelican system,” said the official.