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Thursday , 23 May 2024

Safeguarding our roads

Envoys Electronics has been a pioneer in Traffic Safety equipment in India. Its Chairman Mahendra Singh Kohli has been a member of the IS Panel which formulated the IS Standard Specifications for Road Safety Signals in 1964. He and the company’s Managing Director Rasmeet Singh Kohli spoke with TrafficInfraTech on the innovations in safety equipment and the latest in signaling systems.

Envoys has been a market leader in Traffic Safety Equipment and Management Systems for over four decades. How has the progress in technology adaptation been in India over the years?

Technological changes have accelerated our momentum from early 2000 when the LED technology revolutionalised the industry. However, India has adapted successive technologies right since the time Thermoinic valves were used for signal controls. Envoys first introduced transistors, then advanced ICs (Integrated Circuits) followed by microcomputers and has now introduced ITS (Intelligent Traffic System). Others followed us. Information Technology, Audio-Video Broadcasting and Internet Technology are used in ITS and integrated with the Traffic Controlling and Signaling Systems. Envoys has adopted every new technological change introduced in India and put it in operation after blending it with its own in-house equipment. We were perhaps the first to manufacture the LED Traffic Lights in India. When the world realised the positive effects of using solar power, and India followed suit with putting it to use for traffic lights, Envoys offered its specialised equipment with solar module to both the domestic and international markets.

Due to rapid urbanisation in India, the traffic congestion in metros has become critical and special techniques are needed to control it. When advanced countries began using the techniques of traffic control synchronisation and ‘vehicle actuated and loop detector’ systems, we were not much behind. We have our own loop detectors. Now, Hi-Flux LEDs are being used in few countries for traffic lights. We have developed the same in India and are supplying them overseas too.

Can you throw some more light on Envoy’s latest Traffic Signaling System? Also, on the Solar Power Signals that you have developed and installed at NHAI?

In the Traffic Controller Systems, we have tried to integrate certain features like GSM/GPRS/GPS and Ethernet systems with our controllers to facilitate the ITS technology. For the traffic lights we have developed HI-Flux LED kits which consist of only three LEDs and give more intensity, uniformity and chromaticity when compared with the existing LED kits.

Variable Message Sign (VMS) is one of the equipment highly demanded for Highway Traffic Management System and urban roads. It is mandatory for the implementation of ITS. More intelligence has been implanted in these systems by updating them to coordinate with systems like GSM/GPRS/GPS and Ethernet Systems to facilitate the ITS technology. In road safety equipment, we have developed Radar Speed Traffic Signs as speed driving is the main reason of more than 90% of the accidents.

Our solar powered traffic signal equipment makes it possible to operate and maintain the traffic signals free of cost. Since no electricity is used for the connections, the system is also eco-friendly. The total consumption of power for one crossing including controller is less than 0.3KVA which is highly economical. It also ensures the continuous running of traffic signals in case there is no electricity. We have developed and supplied hundreds of solar powered traffic blinkers throughout India such as warning blinkers at road intersections.

What systems have you provided for toll plazas and parking places?

We manufacture and supply sub-equipment for E-Toll Plazas as per the specifications of the clients. Customisation is our specialty. We supply to almost all the major road infrastructure developing companies and systems integrators. This equipment includes:

1. User Fare Display – Installed near Transaction Traffic Light – showing the current available balance of tags.

2. Transaction Lights – To indicate ‘Stop’ & ‘Go’ for motorists at toll gates for payment of toll taxes.

3. Over Head Lane Signs (OHLS) – Installed on the top of the canopy of toll gates to indicate the vacant/occupied status of each lane.

4. Fog Lights – Installed at the bull nose of the lanes at the Toll Gate.

5. Height Sensor Equipment.

6. Center Profiles and Treadle Assembly.

7. Manual Lane Entry Boom Barrier.

For parking places, we manufacture Vacancy Display Systems. This is a microcomputer based system and displays on-line the available parking places with direction, indications etc.

Your major turnkey projects

We have directly installed a number of Traffic Signal Systems including our Controller in various cities of India. Besides, we have supplied hundreds of signaling equipment to government and private contractors. We have also installed hundreds of Solar Blinkers throughout India including Delhi and Cuttack. We have collaborated in installation of signaling and controlling equipment with many countries including Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Philippines, Greece, South Africa, Nigeria and others.

How effective has the video wall type VMS, which is installed on Delhi Gurgaon Expressway, been?

Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway has been the longest expressway in Delhi. The VMS has been very effective on it since the vehicles move non-stop and at high speed. It is not possible to slow down in the middle of the road and look for the turning point for a particular place or get the information on the distance. VMS, playing a significant role at such places, displays the exact information about next place, turning, etc. This service has been appreciated by the motorists.

You have set up a computerised lab. What are its functions?

Yes, we have set up a computerised test lab for LED chromaticity test with solar simulations. In this lab, we can test LEDs and LED equipment including signal lights and display panels for all types of optical performances like:

1. Measurement of luminous intensity and luminance.

2. Luminous intensity and uniformity.

3. Exact measurement of emitted colours to conform to international standards.

4. Measurement of combined colours – the chromaticity coordinates of the mixed light from the real signal can be measured.

5. Measurement of phantom signal.

How is the market for Traffic Management Systems growing in India?

India is on the fast track. The government has earmarked र19,894 crore for infrastructure development this year which is an increase of 13% as against the previous year. With the increase in private sector participation, the traffic infrastructure development is poised for big growth. As there is a rise in the number of vehicles and movement of people and materials, Indian cities are going in for alternative traffic modes, apart from expanding the existing networks. In 2007-08 alone, 9.6 million motorised vehicles were sold in India.

The migration of rural population to urban areas in search of better job prospects has made cities densely populated. About 27% of the population lives in urban areas. There are 4,000 cities and towns in India. About 400 cities have population that exceeds 1,00,000 people. Eight cities have a population of more than three million. Efforts are on to solve traffic congestion problems in the core areas of metropolitan cities by going in for Intelligent Traffic Management Systems (ITMS) and installing intelligent traffic signals which are networked with the Area Traffic Control.

This ATC system is an integral part of the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). The ITS includes many state-of-the-art sub systems like Incident Monitoring System (IMS), Variable Message Signs (VMS), Speed Control Signs/Dynamic Traffic Signals, Electronic Toll System (ETS), Weight-in-Motion System (WMS), the Camera Based Enforcement Systems (CBES) and the Intelligent Public Transportation systems (IPTS).

In view of the great emphasis by the Indian government on building highways and expressways, the market for Traffic Management System will be growing at a rapid pace.

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