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New command centre is tasked with easing traffic jams around Bangkok

A command centre is being set up to coordinate key agencies tackling traffic congestion in Bangkok and surrounding areas. Among other steps, the centre will integrate nearly 3,000 CCTV cameras previously spread across three agencies as it seeks to smooth out rush-hour traffic flows and speed up responses to problems.

The centre was instructed by related agencies at a meeting on Thursday to next week step up traffic management on Sam Sen, Sathorn and Sukhumvit-Phetchaburi roads, which are notorious for their serious traffic jams related to the large number of schools along them, said Pol Lt-General Kraiboon Suadsong, commander of the Police Strategy Division. Under the helm of national police chief assistant Pol Lt-General Natthorn Phrosunthorn the centre will also weekly evaluate the results of work tackling traffic jams, and make adjustments accordingly, said Kraiborn. The centre will also make use of the 2,918 CCTV cameras in the capital and vicinity that were controlled by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the Expressway Authority of Thailand and the Highway Department.

The centre also will also have BMA officials inspect roads that are under construction, to ensure that contractors keep a path clear for the public’s use. There have been many reports of projects that unnecessarily occupied more road surface than is necessary, said Kraiboon. The BMA’s Department of Drainage and Sewerage will also inspect flood-prone spots and take measures that ensure fast draining in the event of heavy rains, he said. Kraiboon also paid tribute to the new Lane Change Camera System run by Bangkok police. Traffic police have issued 140,000 traffic tickets against motorists who illegally change lanes to overtake other vehicles after a strict ban on the practice was implemented on May 9 at 15 flyovers and underpasses in the capital. Pol Maj-General Ekkarak Limsang-kard, a member of the centre’s working team, said the Thursday meeting had also backed the Land Traffic Act amendment that will see a point system introduced for drivers. The behavioural score-cutting approach would take off points for every traffic law violation committed by motorists and motorcyclists, with a low score negatively impacting the driver’s licence renewal. The amendment was passed by the National Legislative Assembly pending a June 7 public hearing for future implementation, Ekkarak said. BP – EP

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