The 701-km Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Mahamarg expressway is set to integrate an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) — to monitor traffic using artificial intelligence.
The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), responsible for the construction of this expressway, is currently seeking an experienced agency to undertake the ITS project and had issued a request for proposal for this purpose.
The MSRDC had kept EMD (earnest money deposit) of Rs 24 crore as bid security for this project.
The project’s scope includes supply, installation, testing, and commissioning of the ITS along the expressway, officially named Hindu Hrudaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg after the late Sena founder.
An MSRDC official confirmed that while 600 kilometers of the expressway are already open to traffic, the remaining 101 kilometers are expected to be open in 2024. Consequently, the ITS work needs prompt completion.
“Presently, monitoring at Samruddhi Mahamarg relies on quick response vehicles, patrols by regional transport personnel, and highway police. Traffic assessment is manual, but with the introduction of ITS, control through artificial intelligence becomes possible,” stated the official.
The ITS aims to reduce human intervention and consists of three main components.
First laying optical fiber connections across the entire expressway. Secondly, establishing control rooms and CCTV cameras to monitor traffic flow, vehicle count, and any violations. And the third is integrated transport and toll management, facilitating communication with drivers during emergencies and providing messages, among other features, explained the senior official.
As of now, no such system has been launched elsewhere in the state.
The Indian Express had reported on ITS implementation on the Mumbai-Pune Highway in October and the State Transport Department’s proposal to equip nine highways, covering around 2,000 kilometers, with an Intelligent Traffic Management System (ITMS) at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore.
These selected highways, such as Thane (Ghodbunder) to Achchad, Mumbai (Kalamboli) to Kolhapur, Nashik to Dhule (Hadakhed), among others, have been chosen due to their high traffic density and accident rates.
The introduction of ITMS is expected to improve road safety and significantly reduce violations on these highways. State Transport Commissioner Vivek Bhimanwar, had in August visited Kerala, the first state to implement ITMS on its roads.