The more you honk, the longer you'll wait! Signal to remain red if the decibel level is high

MUMBAI: The city's traffic police have carried out tests of what could be a solution to the threat of unnecessary honking: a sign of punishment.

Special decibel meters were connected to traffic signals in five locations and when a noise greater than 85 dB was recorded, the signal timer was reset.

This forced motorists to wait longer for the signal by punishing them for their impatience and teaching them not to honk the next time. A video clip of the experiment tweeted by the Twitter user on Friday scored 22,000 likes and was retweeted more than 9,000 times.

It honks and has an adverse effect on health.

“The tests were carried out for a few hours in November and December 2019. We selected places that are more prone to congestion, such as CSMT, Marine Drive, Pedder Road, Hindmata and Bandra Turner Road. In the future, we will implement this with more signals, ”said joint commissioner, traffic, Madhukar Pandey.

In addition, he said there could be congestion in some sections as a result, but this would be managed by deploying additional forces.

The video, made in association with the private agency FCB Interface, offers glimpses of confused motorists waiting for a signal, honking continuously and learning the hard way that the horn is not the exit.

The anti-noise activist Sumaira Abdulali praised the police for acting on her own. “I hope that decibel meters are placed permanently so that people realize the unacceptably high levels of horn noise. At the same time, we have been demanding a law enforcement campaign against the horn, in line with the police helmet campaign, for a long time. We hope that, together with the awareness created by the decibelmeters, they will undertake an application campaign that will continue for a period of time sufficient for the horn levels to fall within the permissible limits, said Abdulali.

An RTI statement made by a media professional revealed that only 1,293 motorists were reserved for unnecessary honking between January 2009 and September 2019. Deputy Inspector General Harish Baijal, who was previously in the traffic department, said: We had the first 'Don't honk Day' on April 7, 2008, and placed balloons and banners on Marine Drive, Bandra and Mahim Causeway and attracted 16,000 people. To take the point home, I had challenged my own driver. After that, the traffic department did not take any important action and this video clip is really refreshing and reassuring, ”said Baijal.

However, transport expert Hussain Indorewala has doubts about the project. One, Indorewala said, how effective will it be to change the behavior? People are likely to find out quickly and avoid honking where the system is installed, but continue the practice where it is not. “People generally do not alter behavior when they perceive that they are being 'tricked' into doing things. Therefore, it may not work to alter social behavior, but simply to make people smarter than the system, he said. Two, Indorewala added, it seems that Mumbai police are attacking a symptom, not the cause. Private transportation on the precarious roads of India is an extremely stressful activity and forces people to have careless behavior, one of which is an excessive honk, he said. “These types of smart devices transfer the burden of public policy responsibility to people and avoid the most serious traffic congestion problem by attacking traffic noise. Why not reduce stress by introducing traffic management instead? , He suggested. Three, he said, “such intelligent technological solutions tend to create unforeseen problems. What happens if there is a fire truck or ambulance that they want to pass? A silencer that went wrong? A night of Diwali? Or what happens when some people deliberately create a rumble to stop traffic?

Robby Mathew, creative director of FCB Interface, said: “Sometimes, the stick works better than the carrot. And a signal that gave us a gentle knock on the knuckles for honking unnecessarily, seemed like a good idea. ”