India tackles noise pollution with traffic lights that stay red if drivers continue to honk

India tackles noise pollution with traffic lights that stay red if drivers continue to honk

Why it matters: The Indian subcontinent is home to several densely populated metropolises, where the traffic is driven by a slightly different car horn culture than the rest of the world. While the standard practice is to honk in case of an emergency, warning a fellow driver or expressing frustration, people in this part of the world are a bit more extravagant in their use and rely on the car horn to convey a multitude of indecipherable emotions. This not only makes for a more chaotic driving experience but also results in harmful noise levels for the environment.

Police in the city of Mumbai, India, have come up with a clever idea for dealing with traffic noise pollution. Since time is of the essence for everyone, people waiting at traffic lights are prone to excessive horn usage in the notion that making noise would move things quicker.

This approach was laid to rest by trials conducted in November and December last year, which involved the police installing decibel meters to traffic light poles and resetting the red light timer if noise levels touched 85 decibels or more.

Horn not okay, please!Find out how the @MumbaiPolice hit the mute button on #Mumbai’s reckless honkers. #HonkResponsibly pic.twitter.com/BAGL4iXiPH
— Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) January 31, 2020

The experiment was carried out for 15 minutes a day at a “few important junctions,” a police spokesperson told CNN, adding that the trials would be further carried out at 10 locations next month, and hopes that the idea gets implemented across the entire traffic management system.

Mumbai ranks 4th in the top 10 most congested cities in TomTom’s 2019 Traffic Index, which estimates commuters spent over 8 days in Mumbai’s rush hours last year. The report also equates this time to baking over 10,000 cookies or watching multiple reruns of Game of Thrones. Given how that show ended, it seems difficult to make a choice between watching it or wasting time in a traffic jam.

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