The CNY holidays has its benefits for those who stayed back in KL – driving in KL was a breeze. One DJ commented that you could play Badminton in Jalan TAR! Well, that maybe over exaggerating it a bit , but she made her point. On the other hand for those who were driving on the nation’s various highways, the holiday traffic can be a nightmare. With traffic volume increasing three or four times, a slight mishap (or some idiots driving a tad too slow on the fast lane) would cause a massive traffic snarl. The highways have the variable message board (VMS) to inform drivers of the traffic situations on the highways, but from my experience, the message from the VMS were more often than not were not current and a wee bit too late for you to take action to avoid yourself from being caught in the jam. By the time you digested the message, you’re already stuck in the crawl. Ideally the system should be able to notify traffic of impending jams and suggest alternative routes to road users. My former teacher, Liong Kam Chong, who regularly writes to NST’s Letter to Editor section recently wrote about the need for a more intelligent traffic congestion warning system. As it is the VMS can only give you scant info of what is going on in front but it is not able to suggest alternative routes. All it can say is ” Guna laluan alternatif”, which is of little use if you are not familiar with the area. Liong proposed a more strategic placement of the VMS so that road users can make a better decision to avoid getting stuck in the jams.
DBKL started the (Integrtaed Transport Information System (ITIS – itis.com.my) some time ago as an effort to reduce traffic congestion in KL. So far I have not seen the positive effect of the million ringgit system. Just like the VMS on the highways, the system’s VMS can only tell you of impending road closures and traffic jams. “Sila Guna Laluan Alternatif” is the best that it can offer. Ideally it should be able to forewarn users of impasses and provide alternative routes well in advance. Going by the website, one has to enter the site to plan one’s route using the Journey’s Planner and Congestion map. But, I wonder how many had the time to do it. Even with the current smart phones, one would be hard pressed to drive and check the website at the same time.