Friday, 16 August 2019

Road Safety - A disregarded notion

                       Road Safety - A disregarded notion

We are in the 21st century. No doubt we have seen a lot of revolutions in the areas of infrastructure, education, communication, life sciences, aeronautics and what not ! This is known as 'Modernization'. So, would it be safe to assume that the more we modernize the vigilant we become ? This has not been the case so far, and rather we have turned into even more ignorant individuals, not paying attention to the topics important for the betterment of the masses. 

One such topic is road safety. We all are well aware of its concept, yet we refuse to follow the rules, for which the reasons might be many. According to World Health Organization, road accidents claim about 1.5 lakh lives annually. Talking about numbers further, the road accidents prove to be financially suppressing on the economy of the country, with an annual cost of around 4.07 lakh crores. This menace has harmed the human as well as the monetary resources of the nation. If this can’t serve as an eye opener, then maybe nothing can.

Over-speeding, rash driving, jumping red lights, not following traffic rules; all these are considered “cool” among the youngsters, but after looking at the current traffic scenario, it's best we make a shift from being irresponsible to being alert on the roads. The need for road safety measures isn't hidden from any. Even If one simply obeys the traffic rules and follows all the regulations, that will be enough.

Many national and international organisations have been working on the cause of making the roads around the world safe for all, and through their programs, are creating sustainable impact. For instance, the "U.N. Global Road Safety Week" is one such program started by the United Nations to promote stronger leadership among individuals for achieving road safety targets, and allow them to speak up for road safety issues so that necessary actions can be taken. At the national level, many NGOs have taken up the responsibility of spreading awareness about the same. Indian Road Safety Campaign, started by the students and the alumni of IIT-Delhi, is India;s largest youth-led organisation that aims to reduce the number of road accidents to half by 2020. 
In an effort to help those who are stranded on roads, and to make their journey hassle-free, it has come up with 'iSAFE Assist', a 24*7 emergency care and roadside assistance service that ensures your vehicle becomes worthy enough of hitting the roads again. 

Visit the website to know more about iSAFE Assist -

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Population explosion across the country has led to rapid urbanisation,
increase in travelling needs of the people, and increase in number of
vehicles on the road, which has further contributed to an increase in
traffic congestion. Phase 5 reports, prepared by the policy interns on
the poor traffic management in their neighbourhood, aimed at highlighting
the problems caused due to increase in traffic volume, and suggesting
solutions for the same. 

Location 1 
State - Gujarat
City - Surat
Area covered - Udhna
Intern Name - Mohit Patel

  • Problem 1 - Ill-conditioned road and open gutter near Khatodara 
Flyover - An invitation to road accidents
                                                         obstructions on road                                                                open gutter

The road that runs along the Khatadora Flyover was an ill-conditioned road,
full of potholes, along with an open gutter. These obstructions were big enough
to slow down an oncoming vehicle. In case of sudden braking, several accidents
have occured on this road. Another contributory factor to the increasing number
of accidents was the fact that people often enter the road from the wrong side.
The non-maintenance of the gutter allowed water to stagnate on the road
during monsoons.

Solution suggested - Revamping the road near Khatodara Flyover 
The solutions that derived out of the suggestions of the intern necessitated
a proper construction of the road to prevent the occurrence of any further accidents.
The gutter was required to be covered and the potholes were needed to be filled.
This would lead to a smoother flow of traffic on the road, and will help to reduce
the frequency of accidents. 

Bringing a change - Implementing the suggestions 
Upon the showcase of the problem to the respective authorities,
the suggestions were heard and were implemented. Now, the scenario
of the road has completely changed. The potholes have been levelled
with the road, while the gutter has now been covered with metal stripes.
This will aid in making the road a lot safer as compared to what it was earlier.
Now, no more lives would be lost in road accidents in that area.

Below are the pictures of the implementation of the suggestions - 

                 potholes covered                                                 gutter covered with metal stripes                  

  • Problem 2 - Tracks along the road eating up the road space

                                 misuse of the cycle track

         broken cycle track being overlooked for reconstruction

The tracks running alongside the roads served no purpose other than
that of reducing the road space. They were continuously being misused
for illegal parking and as a passing path for four wheelers.
During monsoon, it led to accumulation of rainwater, making it a home
for various diseases. All these factors defeated the very purpose of their construction,
as the number of users of the cycling track reduced. 

Solution suggested - Removal of cycle tracks
The main purpose of constructing the cycling tracks was to provide a safer lane
to the cyclists. Now since they were not being of any use, the idea of removing them
was suggested. This was planned to solve two purposes - to put a break on its misuse,
and to increase the area of the road. 

Implementation of the suggestions - Tracks to be left unattended
At first, Authorities seem to avoid implementing the suggestion as a lot of resources
were invested into making the tracks. But after repeatedly drawing their attention
towards the issue, they forwarded the matter to the higher authority.
Upon a thorough discussion with them, a conclusion was drawn that the tracks
shall be left unattended, and the debris collected from withering down of the track
will be removed at regular intervals. After a period of two months, an observation
was made regarding an appreciable decrease in their area. Area of the road automatically
increased, and it allowed for a smoother flow of traffic. Along with this, the problem of
illegal parking was also curbed. 

Below are the pictures that signify the progress in this matter - 

 tracks, left unattended, withered down
  to increase the area for roads

  • Problem 3 - Drivers driving through the BRTS lane

                    people driving through the BRTS lane to avoid traffic

                                  car passing through the BRTS lane without permission

BRTS facility was started with an aim to reduce the traffic volume on the road
by promoting the use of public transport. But it seemed nowhere near to be
fulfilling the needs. It had indeed created problems by reducing the area of the roads.
To avoid long traffic jams, drivers used to drive through the BRTS lane.
This affected the speed and schedule of the buses.
Although driving through BRTS lane is a violation of the law, absence of traffic officials
at BRTS junctions encouraged the public to drive through it.
This had led to several accidents. 

Solution suggested - Stringent measures to improve the condition of BRTS facility
People needed to be sensitized about the problem they were creating.
This was necessary to allow the BRTS facility to operate without any difficulty.
The following solutions were suggested to the authorities - raising the railing size
of the BRTS lane, and to appoint traffic personnel for every junction. 

Bringing a change - Implementing the suggestions to improve working of BRTS facility
For this, swinging gates were installed on the BRTS lane near the Kharwar nagar junction,
that were to be opened only for the buses, thereby restricting the access to private vehicles.
It was already in the plans, and our suggestions provided a more concrete base to it. 
Below are the pictures showing the implementation of our suggestions - 

   swinging gate installed near Kharwar Nagar junction                            swinging gates being opened for buses

  • Problem 4 - Traffic police booth on the side of the road
                                           traffic police booth on the side of the road

At the Kharwar Nagar junction, the Traffic police booth used to be on the side of the road.
The BRTS bus has to pass through the junction, and there was no provision of BRTS track
at the junction. Vehicles coming in from all directions tend to obstruct the way of the bus
and lead to accidents. One accident happened here, in which a private vehicle collided
with the rear side of a bus, and due to that, the rear end of the bus got damaged for which
the driver had to pay the consequences. If Traffic police would have been there, the accident
could have been avoided. 

Solution suggested - Traffic police booth to be relocated
Since the traffic police were already present on one side of the junction, the idea suggested
earlier was to place the police on the other side of the junction as well, to manage traffic
properly. But after thorough discussion, it was decided that the traffic police booth should be
built in the middle of the junction, so as to reduce the demand of the policemen on both sides
of the junction. 
The effect of the implementation can be seen in the picture below - 

police booth built in the middle of the junction to manage the traffic effectively

Location 2 
State - Telangana
City - Hyderabad
Area covered - Inner ring road ( from Lal Bahadur Nagar to Uppal ring road )
Intern Name - PNS Hima Varsha

  • Problem 1 - Roads in a dismal state near the junction
                                                                          indication of damaged roads near the junction

The roads near the junction (as indicated in the image above) were in a poor state,
and had been like that for more than a year as no one bothered to look after them.
Even if the work started, it was left incomplete, which created a lot of problems for
the commuters. 
During monsoon, the roads used to be overflown with rainwater and drainage waste.
Rain water harvesting systems were found to be absent, which also became a reason
of rainwater flowing from the colonies next to the highway onto the roads. A temporary
solution to this problem was found by keeping the manholes open during monsoons,
but that put the lives of the people at risk. 
Water, being left to accumulate on roads, created problems for the vehicles passing by.                        

Solution suggested - Repairing the damaged sections of the road
The Solution suggested to the authorities was to start the repair work of the damaged
sections of the road. The L.B. ring road and the Chintalkunta road are connected by
Sagar ring road. With Sagar ring road and Chintalkunta road being damaged, the heavy
vehicles were being diverted towards L.B. road, leading to road accidents. So, to solve
all these problems, the plan of repairing of roads was suggested. 

 heavy vehicles like buses being diverted onto the L.B. road

Bringing a change - Making the roads better than before
The repair of the Sagar road and the Chintalkunta road was started, and after completion,
it allowed for smoother flow of traffic. This will help in avoiding road accidents and, won’t
allow occurrence of traffic jams on these roads. 
Below are the pictures showing the progress of the work carried out on the repair of roads - 

                         the Sagar ring road and the Chintalkunta road after repair work

  • Problem 2 - Lack of proper bus stops

               absence of a proper bus stop

Bus stops are places from where people can board a bus. However, not many were to be
found in the area. Many bus stops were removed to make way for Metro rail projects.
Absence of a proper stop used to confuse the bus drivers about where to stop the bus.
Stoppage of the bus was determined by a sizeable crowd in sight of the driver.
Another problem faced was that the buses did not have enough space to take a halt and
let the passengers in. Night hours were even more riskier. 

Solution suggested - Installing bus stops at designated places
The problems faced by both the passengers and the bus drivers could be solved by
installing proper bus stops with shelters at designated places. 

Implementation of the solution - Construction of bus stops
The bus stops have now been installed at junctions where Metro construction has been done.
At places where the construction is still an ongoing process, the GHMC has appointed
employees to look after the convenience of the passengers.

  bus stops with shelters have now been installed in the area

  • Problem 3 - Slow pace of construction work

The pace of the construction work of the Metro project had been slow, due to which
maintenance of roads could not be carried out. The traffic situation had turned to worse
because the potholes, dust and road diversions which could be taken care of. Even the
widening of the roads around the metro pillars didn’t help to solve the problem of congestion
to a sufficient extent. 

Solution suggested - Adopting a faster pace of construction
An end to the problems could only be put when the pace of the construction work was
speeded up. With the timely completion of the work, roads around the metro stations
'and the metro pillars could be repaired as required. Also, widening of roads at narrow
'spots could help to reduce the traffic congestion to a great extent. 

Implementation - Timely completion of construction work
The timely completion of construction wok of the metro stations of Nagole and Uppal
made the life of the people easy. The roads near the metro pillars have been widened
that have allowed a faster movement of traffic. 

                            metro stations at Nagore and Uppal have been constructed on time

Location 3
State - Gujarat
City - Ahmedabad
Area covered - Devnagar Patiya and Nr. City corner restaurant
Intern Name - Priyanka Trivedi

  • Problem 1 - View obstruction on roads in Devnagar Patiya

                                                                                view obstruction due to excessive plantation

One of the major reasons for most of the accidents happening near Devnagar Patiya was
the excessive plantations in the middle of the road. At turns, the driver of the vehicles
could not see the vehicles coming from the other side of the road. This had led to various
fatal and serious accidents in the past. Between July 2016 and May 2017, around 20 fatal
and 48 serious accidents occured. The main accounted for them were overspeeding and
view obstruction, causing the driver to lose control on the vehicle. 

Solution suggested - removal of excess plantation
The solution suggested to solve the problem was the removal of excessive plantation at the
median ends. This would help to improve the visibility of the drivers.

Implementation of the suggestion
After suggesting the solutions to the higher authorities, the suggestions were acted upon
and excessive plantation was removed. This provided better visibility to the drivers and
also helped to reduce the accidents to a great extent. 

     excessive plantation removed at intersections to improve visibility

                                 excessive plantation removed at median ends

  • Problem 2 - Poor condition of roads near Nr. City corner restaurant
                          potholes on the roads near Nr. City corner restaurant

The road near Nr. City corner restaurant was full of potholes. During monsoons, water got
collected in those potholes which created several problems for the people. Vehicles could not
pass through the road easily and that led to several traffic jams on the roads.  

Solution suggested - Renovation of roads
The solution suggested to the higher authorities was to renovate the roads as soon as

Implementation of the solution
The higher authorities valued our suggestions and the roads near Nr. City corner restaurant
were repaired.

               the roads near Nr. City corner restaurant after repair

                              sign boards were also added on the roads

Location 4
State - Delhi
City - New Delhi
Area covered - Peeragarhi Chowk
Intern Name - Ajay Cholia

  • Problem 1 - Numerous potholes on the road connecting Peeragarhi 
chowk and Madhuban Chowk

         numerous potholes on the road leading to water logging

The road connecting peeragarhi chowk and Madhuban chowk used to have numerous
potholes on it. During monsoons, it led to water logging, creating problems for
the commuters. 

Solution suggested - Road repair
To bring the situation under control, the suggestion of filling the potholes and maintaining
the road were given. This would help in smooth flow of traffic as it being a busy intersection,
many vehicles pass through it on a daily basis. 

Implementation of solutions suggested
The potholes on the road around the Peeragarhi chowk were filled and maintained regularly.

         potholes have been filled and maintained regularly

Location 5
State - Delhi
City - New Delhi
Area covered - Bawana Road, Shahbad Daulatpur Village, Rohini, Delhi
Intern Name - Piyush Raj

  • Problem 1 - Lack of traffic signals and speed breakers

                                                      traffic signals not in working condition

The traffic signals on the three roads had been ignored and left unused. Because of this,
various traffic problems were faced. Vehicles did not know when to stop, and that created
opportunities for accidents to occur. 

Solution suggested - Re-installation of traffic lights
The plan of proper installation of traffic lights was suggested. This would help the traffic
to move in a specific direction. It would also help in reducing the heavy rush during peak
hours, and would reduce the number of accidents. 

Implementation of suggestion
Traffic lights have been installed at proper places, with proper indications.

    new traffic lights have been installed at designated places

  • Problem 2 - No speed breakers

            no speed breakers present at the intersection

Speed breakers was found to be absent on the roads. Vehicles used to overspeed,
and that had led to several accidents.

Solutions suggested - Creation of low bump speed breaker 
The creation of low bump speed breaker was suggested. It would be able to reduce
the speed of vehicles, and at the same time, would give less bumps to the vehicle.
Being easy to install, they were suggested to be installed just before the traffic lights. 

Implementation of the solution
The suggestions were heard by the concerned authorities and the speed breakers were
installed at necessary places. 

                speed breakers installed at necessary places

These were some of the problems that our Policy interns identified after a careful audit,
and were determined to remove them. Solutions to many other problems have also been
suggested and their implementation is in progress. 

With our combined efforts, we can make the Indian roads safer for everyone.