With increased urbanisation, Ahmedabad is facing its worst ever pollution crisis. In the latest Air Quality Index (AQI) ratings released for the four SAFAR monitoring cities of India, Ahmedabad (with an AQI of 311 µg/m3 in the morning and 329 µg/m3 by evening) outdid even Delhi, the black sheep in terms of pollution. Besides new construction activity and the ongoing metro work in full swing, it is road traffic that is arguably the primary culprit.
Two Ahmedabad University alumni, Nishant Patel (Class of 2020) and Parishi Naik (Class of 2020), along with Professor Maryam Kaveshgar, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering and Applied Science decided to hold the bull by its horns and came up with a unique solution which impacts fuel consumption, fuel cost and also travel time. They conducted an in-depth research and were able to prove with simulation and calculation that with some adjustment in the traffic light timings, travel time and hence pollution can be drastically reduced. Their paper suggests optimising and coordinating the signal timings from Ahmedabad’s Nehrunagar intersection to Vijay Crossroad.
The interesting part is that Nishant and Parishi did not attempt to solve this problem in a controlled lab environment. They visited the traffic centre to understand the problem and every subsequent issue that would occur if the traffic light timings would be adjusted. They collected data during peak hours’ traffic and calculated the cycle length and corresponding signal timings using Webster's algorithm and IRC guidelines. “Based on the Kell method, Nishant and Parishi created a time-space diagram, coordinated subsequent signals in the north-south direction and performed simulations on PTV VISSIM for these signal timings. As a result, the optimum cycle length and its corresponding signal timings have been suggested,” says Professor Kaveshgar.
Nishant and Parishi worked on their research paper, which was their Bachelor Thesis Project, in the lockdown period of 2020.