Monday , 22 January 2018

Dovetailing Smart Streets

With the launch of Smart Cities initiative, projects of varied nature leveraging technology have been conceptualized and planned for implementation across the country. Smart streets is one such measure which is common amongst the projects underway. There are several measures planned for implementation. Praful Gharpure ,Architect – Urban Planner, Infrastructure Planning & Development Division, Tata Consultancy Services, Nagpur looks at the major ones and their likely impact once these are implemented within a stretch in a planned way.

The first and the foremost requirement for such a project is to understand the customer for such initiatives i.e. endusers. If the requirements of these end users i.e. “Voice of Customer” get translated on ground with an initiative, it can bring in the transformation which projects within Smart Cities initiatives intend to achieve.

For an initiative like smart streets, the customers are as listed below

• Citizens using the streets.
o Driving through street stretch.
o Parking vehicles and using street as pedestrians.
o Purely pedestrian.
• Shopkeepers / Showroom along the street.
• Street vendors.
• Infrastructure maintenance staff (electric / telecom /water / sewer /storm water lines)
• Buses & commercial Vehicles.
• Bus stops & pavement area / advertisers.
• Parking lot users for commercial areas /hospitals/nursing homes on street stretch

In order to make the usage of the street segments pleasant for all these users; some specific measures are needed, which become a part of “smart offerings” of the street stretch. This papers explores some of these.

The users of the street as mentioned above visualize the smart street project with hope to get a pleasant experience on those for the time they spend there. End-users and the business group users both have expectations. In event the end-user expectations and project provisions have a synergy the initiative becomes a success.

Smart Street – Case of Nagpur

Amongst the 100 Smart Cities, Nagpur is the first city to implement the programme in the country. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has planned a 6.1km stretch of a road in western part of city to be developed as “Smart Street”. The selected stretch passes through a mix of built-up spaces along the route comprising of residential / commercial /Institutional / recreational / entertainment usage to name a few. Such a mix generates a heterogeneous traffic mix within the segments of roads that falls within this stretch. The road stretch also acts as a route to the users who pass this stretch on way to their work place / residences. Table 1 outlines the road components along the smart street planned at Nagpur.

The street segments described above have got a mix of traffic that gets generated. The traffic variations are also seen in particular hours of day, particular weekdays, festival days to name a few parameters. Being designated as Smart Street there is need to provide optimal provisions to fulfil the end-user’s desires along this delineated road stretch which intends to distinguish it from other roads within the city. Some of the segments constitute a land use along them which generates both pedestrian and vehicular traffic simultaneously. The listing is from north most junction to the south end of Smart Street ending at Orange city hospital square. The segment count is in same direction. Cities often see high volume traffic in a direction at particular hour of the day. These are the times when the other arms of the junctions need to have lower green time for signals to facilitate flow on high volume arm to minimize traffic pile up on a stretch. CCTV and signal synchronization can help achieve this.

As seen in the Illustration above, 20% of overall segments in the whole street which have high degree of activity which induces the traffic leading to congestions.

The authorities have introduced forceful restrictions for four-wheeler parking in these stretches along with blocking a few four arm road junctions and converting them to T-Junctions ..