Update: Seems like more and more government departments are extending their presence on social networks. One of our readers informed us about the Hyderabad Traffic Police’s Facebook page. Just like other traffic police pages, the page offers traffic updates and other information from the Hyderabad Traffic Police, in addition to acting as a platform for citizens to report violations and post queries.

The Bangalore Traffic police has launched a Facebook page, for connecting with citizens as a department. Although the traffic police officials had been operating a Facebook account earlier, citizens had to send friend requests to be able to join-in. The new page is more open and allows Bangaloreans to  post queries, photos and videos, in addition to notes, and communicate with the traffic police. The page has 1191 likes at the time of writing this post.

The Delhi Traffic Police has also been present on Facebook and Twitter for quite a while, with 58,521 Facebook likes and 3262 Twitter followers. It appears from the page, though, that Delhites use it for reporting traffic violations (specially the ones committed by Traffic police men). Bangalore Traffic Police, on the other hand, has enabled only self posted updates to appear on the wall. This makes the wall look less cluttered and more focused in terms of delivering the authority’s message instead of  random violation posts. Its a mix of related articles from the media, FAQs and advice.

BTP has also posted pictures of its traffic management center and of other hi-tech equipment that it uses, in addition to media campaigns on traffic awareness. It also has a few videos, recorded by its surveillance cameras, with an aim to increase awareness. Like the Delhi Traffic Police, perhaps the BTP can also set-up a discussion page and have a separate page for reporting violations. The Delhi traffic police also needs a new Violations section, the wall is too crowded with them.

As an aside, it’s fascinating to see what kind of information gets tracked using the speed scanners.

Challenges

– Although, setting up a social media presence page is easy, maintaining it, updating it and keeping the clutter out is a challenge. The Delhi Traffic Police has not tweeted traffic updates since 18th April 2011; similarly it has not updated accident analyses data after May 11, 2010 on its Facebook page. The ‘Rules & regulations’ page is also completely devoid of content.

– We feel that violations must be verified before penalizing alleged violators. This is a grey area and technology can be exploited to cause harm. Anyone with decent knowledge of Photoshop can produce morphed images. The departments must come up with ways to authenticate reporters or just use the examples for awareness.