Kolkata Traffic police have decided to introduce refuge islands to put pedestrians at ease and increase their security. This is another initiative at pedestrian safety after the boom barriers that the traffic cops had installed at several places in Kolkata.
A refuge island or a pedestrian refuge is constructed in the middle of the roads, particularly those that do not have dividers, to regulate the flow of traffic at a junction. Pedestrians can cross one flank of the road, wait on these islands and cross the second flank when the traffic clears. The islands are designated spots surrounded by asphalt and common road furniture. They are often used when no traffic signal exists and pedestrians need to wait after managing one direction of traffic before taking on the next.
The move will significantly improve pedestrian safety since this will reduce their average waiting time, impatient pedestrians will be less likely to use gaps that turn out to be too short for safe crossing. Kolkata police plans to come up with 10 such islands in the first phase and might start with either Ajay Nagar or Girish Park.
In 2016, a Coimbatore-based consultancy firm JP Research carried out a study of fatal accidents and asked Kolkata traffic police to construct refuge islands along with a host of other safety measures.