Road Safety Audits

Addressing road safety by design

Addressing Road Safety By Design. Photo by Nikhil Chaudhary

India has the highest number of road fatalities in the world. The number of the road accident related deaths per year in India is 1.42 Lakhs (2011) while that of permanent disabilities is more than 5 Lakhs (2011). Of these, 40.6 % of the accidents occurred in urban areas. While most of the initiatives to counter this threat are concentrated on making fast travel safer for the motor vehicle driver/rider and curbing drunk driving, little attention is paid to the largest group road users that make up these fatalities. At the same time, these efforts rely on either stringent enforcement at all times or personal discretion and behaviour of the road users. Collective figures from major Indian cities indicate that the most vulnerable user groups involved in urban accidents are non-motorized transport users (pedestrians & bicyclists) (29%) and two-wheelers (25%). To reduce the high number of road accidents, concentrated efforts are essential at the urban and regional scale for the largely unaddressed accident-related factor: safe infrastructure. Road safety engineering that relies on methodically designed roads is a well-established science and through minor revisions, it is possible to embed principles of Road Safety in existing as well as newly planned infrastructure.

Accidents are a multi-faceted occurrence, and are essentially an overlap of vehicular characteristics, user behavior and external environment. If one of the factors is corrected, it is likely that the accident would not happen, or at least, its severity would be reduced. Of these three, the external environment (road geometry, traffic pattern, space allocation, etc.) can be efficiently addressed by the means of a Road Safety Audit that assesses a given transport corridor for safety risks. A safety audit is a systematic method of checking the safety aspects of new road projects or rehabilitation projects in order to detect potential safety hazards before the road is opened to traffic. A road safety audit assesses how the road will function and focuses on the safety of all users - pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, truck and bus drivers, car drivers, etc. The study consists of checking the existing physical features such as road geometry and alignment, kerbed footpaths, pedestrian crossings, median dividers etc.; operational features such as signal timing and phasing as well as the resultant vehicular and non-motorised traffic patterns.

Since 2010, EMBARQ India has conducted road safety audits in a number of cities, such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat, Bhopal, Indore, Rajkot and Gurgaon. In addition, EMBARQ India has developed complete road redesign projects in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Naya Raipur and Thane. Through these projects, EMBARQ India has addressed safety by recommending a more compact and streamlined design (consistent road elements, reduced lane width, etc.), as well as improved and safer facilities for pedestrians (level crossing, ramps, protected pedestrian waiting areas, medians, etc.) and cyclists (segregated bicycle paths, wider refuge areas, signal treatment, etc.).  Additionally, EMBARQ India has conducted road safety capacity building programs for government officials in a number of cities in India, (such as Mumbai, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Gangtok), and abroad, in countries like Sri Lanka and Malaysia.


Stay Connected

Sign up for WRI India Ross Center Updates

Register to Receive WRI India Ross Center News and Announcements Subscribe