Mumbai Traffic Police goes cashless
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The Mumbai Traffic Police has released an application that enforces cashless transactions for traffic violations, with offenders being tracked by CCTV cameras and tickets directly sent to their phone numbers. The eChallan payment system works through a free application available on Android as of now, and a web interface. Citizens can use the application to report traffic violations such as helmet less driving, tinted glasses, use of fancy number plates, rash or negligent driving and parking in the wrong place.
The Maharashtra Government has decided to fully automate tickets for traffic violations. The violators are tracked through CCTV camera from a control room. Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad have already implemented similar systems. Violators will have to pay the fines through cashless transactions. The police have been issued with card reading machines to facilitate the same. For offenders who are unable to pay through cashless transactions, the app has a list of Vodafone stores where the payments can be made. The list of the Vodafone stores are also available online. The measures have been taken to reduce the amount of corruption.
The main screen is like an app directory in itself. The application can be used to report traffic violations or traffic related incidents, along with photographs. Nearby traffic divisions, parking spots, and even events can be found through the app. The parking spots contain granular information, such as how much time is required to reach the parking spots, and how many parking spots are available.
Users can hunt down towed vehicles, pay for eChallans, or apply for NOC certificates for if required. Previous NOC requests, as well as requests made through the application, can be followed up, and the status tracked, through the applications. There are also road safety information such as traffic signs, road markings, and safety tips. There is a list of violations along with the attached fines, and an alert system to track reports.
One of the most interesting feature of the application is that it allows citizens to police motorists flouting traffic rules. You no longer have to be a mute spectator seething in rage when some person who thinks he owns the road gets away with traffic violations. There are individual categories for triple seat, signal jumping, helmet less riding, not wearing seat belts, not stopping at the stop line, using mobile while driving, wrong parking, rash driving, service denial, fancy number plates, tinted glass, or any other violation. When a violation is spotted, users can take up to three photographs, add a text description, and send it to the police. Each traffic violation reported will get an ID, and users can follow up the reports through that ID.
If a vehicle crashes on the road, catches fire, or a tree falls, citizens can contact the traffic police and report such incidents. There are categories for accidents, oil spills, fires, tree falls, road fights, animals on the road and others. Strangely enough, there is a category for reporting rain as well, and a category for reporting work in progress sites, something the app itself tracks and delivers to citizens. Similar to the violations reporting feature, there is an option to click a photo, and add a description. There is also an option to select where on the road the incident has happened. There are examples of reported incidents that provide users with clear instructions on what kind of information should be included in the report. The police will take the appropriate action depending on the severity of the incident.
The application will sort you out even if you are clueless about where you are driving to. The MTPapp tracks nearby events and rallies. The maps interface can get buggy at times, and takes some time to get updated with the latest information. We are unsure of the utility of this functionality, as there are many applications that provide more comprehensive listings of events. You can select a different location to find events near that location, which can perhaps be the destination of a driver. However, the select events location menu works only within the city. The nearby events menu also tracks excavations, and although there was road digging going on in some of the areas we surveyed, they did not show up on the application.
The application has handy safety information for drivers. The road safety information is in three categories, helmet, seat belt and speeding. The helmet section is pretty expansive, with safety tips, materials, sizes and the rules. The seat belt section advises passengers on how to securely fit the seat belt, and shows a visual of the different parts of a seat belt. Although the parts are the same, the visual used in the application is for a racing seat belt or harness, which has two shoulder belts and a crotch strap as against the conventional seat belts with a single shoulder belt. The speeding section shows which manoeuvres are most likely to cause accidents.
MTPapp also contains information on the road signs, and the road markings used within the city. There is an exhaustive list of all the traffic offences, and the fines associated with each offence. Users can search through the long list by looking for a particular offence. The list also gives citizens the knowledge of what constitutes as traffic offences. The application is oriented towards both private vehicles and public vehicles. Auto-rickshaws and taxis that flout traffic rules can also be reported through the same application. For example, if an autorickshaw refuses to ply, the passengers denied with the service can just take a picture with the numberplate and report it directly to the traffic police.
The home screen of the application is similar to an app menu in itself, providing a number of handy capabilities. Catching some of the violations on a photograph can be difficult though, and the photographs may not provide the entire context of the violation. The organisation of the various capabilities could have been better though, with the excavations removed from the nearby events section, and the signs and markings clubbed together. It would be helpful for motorists if a realtime map of the city is updated with the various incident reports. The application is pretty exhaustive, and provides all the information needed for motorists in one app.