Following decades of inertia, India finally witnessed some concrete action to ensure road safety when the Lok Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2016 recently.
India accounts for less than 2% of global motor vehicles. Yet it contributes to over 10% of global road traffic deaths and around 1,50,000 people lose their lives every year due to road traffic crashes. Road traffic crashes also have an economic impact; and studies show that India loses anywhere between 3% and 5% of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to road traffic incidents each year.
Safety is mostly an afterthought when it comes to designing road infrastructure. The focus is always on ensuring that vehicles can move as fast as possible. It was found in the 2011 census, that documented travel patterns of Indians for the first time, found that for work-related commutes 23% Indians walk while 13% cycle. Motorised two-wheelers were used by 13%, cars were used by only 3% of people. This pattern was not just for rural areas, but also for metropolitan areas. A 2014 study by the Institute of Urban Transport for Delhi found that 41% percent trips in Delhi are on foot or bicycle, 36% trips are on buses and metro, 14% by two-wheelers and only 9% by cars.
However, road infrastructure is mostly designed for the 3% car users, with most roads lacking even proper usable footpaths or cycle tracks. The result is that 40% of people killed in traffic crashes are pedestrians. Infrastructure planners need put safety first while designing any road project. In addition to moving vehicles, the impact on other road users, especially on pedestrians and cyclists also needs to be analysed. Read More…
Credit By : The Hindustan Times
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