In Silent City, drivers and riders improve overall road safety

In Silent City, drivers and riders improve overall road safety

Aizawl (‘Silent City’), a city with over 0.35 million people and about 0.125 million registered vehicles, is India's first city with a voluntary no-honking policy, despite office rush hour in traffic and without threatening pedestrians. Speaking about this unique phenomenon,...

Aizawl (‘Silent City’), a city with over 0.35 million people and about 0.125 million registered vehicles, is India's first city with a voluntary no-honking policy, despite office rush hour in traffic and without threatening pedestrians. Speaking about this unique phenomenon, CC Lalchhuangkima, CEO, Aizawl Smart City (ASCL), in conversation with R Srinivasan, says that no one even tries to overtake or break the queue here. He also discusses cutting-edge technologies adopted by the city, especially 5G-enabled advanced life support (ALS) ambulances that have been deployed. Excerpts:How does Silent City ensure adherence to traffic rules?It is a collaborative effort between the public and traffic authorities contributing to effective traffic management in Aizawl city, without the need for specific government orders on a no-honking policy. Here are some highlights of this collaborative approach:Voluntary no-honking culture: Absence of a mandated no-honking policy indicates a strong and voluntary commitment from the community to maintain a noise-free and respectful driving environment.Mutual respect among road users: Drivers and riders understand the importance of maintaining a calm and peaceful traffic atmosphere, contributing to a positive driving experience for everyone. They demonstrate a shared understanding that excessive honking in traffic jams offers little or no benefit and collectively choose to drive with consideration for others.Spontaneous lane discipline: Adherence to lane driving minimises traffic congestion and improves overall road safety.Traffic authorities as facilitators: Traffic authorities play the role of facilitators rather than enforcers, fostering a partnership with the public. By focusing on education, guidance and support, they have encouraged a sense of responsibility among drivers instead of relying solely on punitive measures.The success of Aizawl's traffic management model serves as an inspiring example of how a harmonious relationship between the public and traffic authorities can create a culture of responsible and considerate driving without the need for overly restrictive regulations.Please tell us about cutting-edge technologies that were adopted.These include:Integrated control-and-command centre (ICCC): This flagship project leveraging cutting-edge technologies to enhance city governance, public safety and service delivery, includes a GPS monitoring system for garbage trucks to ensure efficient waste management and optimisation of collection routes for improved resource utilisation and reduced environmental impact.Video surveillance for safety and criminal investigations: A comprehensive video surveillance network enhances citywide safety and security and helps to monitor public spaces, detect incidents and aid law enforcement in criminal investigations.Public address system: This enables timely dissemination of information to the public during emergencies or events and enhances communication for civic awareness, traffic updates and public service announcements.Traffic management and control: Integration with traffic sensors and smart signals and real-time monitoring optimise traffic flow to reduce congestion.Emergency response coordination: It acts as a central hub to ensure a swift and coordinated reaction to incidents and integrates with emergency services, hospitals and law enforcement for effective crisis management.Common biomedical waste treatment plant: Establishment of a common biomedical waste treatment plant addresses environmental concerns associated with healthcare waste. It provides a centralised facility for treatment of biomedical waste generated by hospitals in Aizawl and surrounding districts and ensures safe and proper disposal, minimising the impact on the environment and public health. It incorporates advanced technologies and adheres to international standards for biomedical waste treatment. It optimises resource utilisation by serving multiple hospitals, reducing redundancy and overall operational costs; ensures compliance with regulatory standards and guidelines; and implements monitoring systems to track waste disposal practices and maintain accountability. Also, it is designed to accommodate the waste treatment needs of additional healthcare facilities as the region grows and supports scalability and adaptability to meet changing demands in healthcare waste management.These projects collectively reflect the city’s commitment to leveraging technology for enhanced urban living, public safety and sustainable development.You have deployed cutting-edge, 5G-enabled advanced life support (ALS) ambulances. What is the difference between 5G and conventional ambulances?While traditional ambulances use standard (radio, cellular (3G/4G), etc) communication systems with data transfer speed and reliability limitations, a 5G-enabled ambulance with high- speed communication enhances real-time communication between paramedics and doctors. Faster data transfer is also crucial for live streaming of medical procedures, high-resolution medical images and other critical electronic health records and for remote guidance on emergency procedures even while on the go.As Mizoram is a pioneer in cleanliness and sanitation, apart from Tuirial dumping site, how is waste recycled or decomposed?Apart from the Tuirial dumping site, the Luangmual solid waste management centre is under construction. Another project is under development at Hualngohmun. With these three material recovery centres, the waste will be sufficiently managed.How do you prevent dumping of pollutants into the Chite Lui River?Mizoram has legislated the Chite Lui (Prevention and Control of Water Pollution) Act 2018 to prevent and control water pollution in the river. To enforce it, the Save Chite Lui (River) Coordination Committee's primary mandate includes measures to prevent and control pollution.What are the key takeaways from your project for other cities?Among the many impactful projects executed, exemplary models for other smart cities are:Solar LED street lights and solar mini-high masts: These projects collectively illuminate what was once a dark city, transforming it into a safer and more serene environment, especially at night. Improved visibility not only enhances safety for women and children but also aids in crime prevention and investigation through enhanced surveillance from the ICCC.5G advanced lifesaving ambulances and healthcare facilities: The 5G ambulances – referred to as ‘ICUs on wheels’ – to major hospitals in Aizawl, including private facilities, marks a significant improvement in emergency medical services.New-age learning centres: The modernisation of 19 libraries, operated by both government and non-government bodies, ensures that they remain relevant to the evolving needs of younger generations.Entrepreneurship development centre (Startup Hub): This initiative aims to nurture entrepreneurship in the state by establishing a dedicated hub to support new ventures.Through tailored training programmes and access to startup capital, aspiring entrepreneurs are empowered to turn their innovative ideas into successful businesses, thereby stimulating economic growth and job creation.Smart classrooms: Enhancing educational outcomes, this project equips 121 lower primary schools with computer sets and basic peripherals, while also installing 225 units of interactive smartboards in 94 schools and 14 colleges across Aizawl. These world-class advanced teaching aids enrich the learning experience, fostering a more engaging and interactive educational environment.Fire precautions: Recognising the challenges posed by Aizawl's hilly terrain and narrow roads, measures have been taken to mitigate the impact of fires. Four dedicated fire tenders and 109 portable fire-fighting water pumps have been deployed to enhance the city's fire-fighting capabilities. Additionally, community-based organisations (all city YMA branches) are equipped to swiftly respond to fire emergencies, minimising property damage and loss of life.These initiatives showcase Aizawl's commitment to innovation, safety and inclusive development, serving as valuable blueprints for other smart cities striving to enhance quality of life for their residents.

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