Kate Hinds covers transportation for WNYC News.
Delhi Drivers Take to Facebook
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 - 04:30 PM
According to this New York Times article, the Delhi Traffic Police (which have the rather enigmatic, if Debbie Gibson-esque, motto of "With You! For You! Always!") started a Facebook page a couple of months ago. It was immediately flooded with residents' complaints, admonishments, and reports of traffic jams, as well as cell phone pictures of vehicles that, in their opinions, were flouting the law.
"Unauthorized Taxi Stand near Rohini (west) Metro Station red light...numbers of taxi causes obstruction to traffic. Pedestrians are forced to walk on busy road, " is one typical, recent post.
Typical, too, is the DTP's polite response: "Thanks, necessary action will be taken."
Of course, drivers are always happy for a forum to publicly complain about other drivers (see Platewire for just one domestic example). What seems novel here is how quickly the FB page has caught on--with both drivers and DTP officers--and how earnest both sides seem. The DTP has devoted four officers to monitoring the Facebook page, and they are a visible presence, often responding politely to acknowledge posts or requesting further information. And the Facebook fans of the page -- almost 19,000 at today's count -- seem to be generally well-mannered.
There was some skepticism that the DTP Facebook initiative would vanish after the 2010 Commonwealth Games --a conspiracy theory no doubt fueled by a box on the top of the page that says "managing traffic during the Commonwealth Games will be a big challenge as well as a great opportunity." But a DTP corporal took to Facebook to try to nip this rumor in the bud. "We would like to assure all citizens that Delhi Traffic Police will not only continue this initiative but will also try to expand it further," Ajay Chadha wrote.
Delhiites seemed to approve, and posted not only suggestions for taking the Facebook page further, but also with ideas about everything from solar-powered traffic signals to expanding the system to include "tipping on other illegal activities." -- Kate Hinds, WNYC
Would something like this work in your city? Or what do you think your town could crowdsource on Facebook? Comment below!