Even though India continues to have a high rate of road crashes, and the resulting fatalities and injuries, there is also positive change in the form of efforts being made to save lives and reduce vehicle accidents. The Old Mumbai-Pune Highway Vision Zero project is one such example.
- Highway fatalities down from 268 in 2018 to 123 in 2020
- MSRDC has introduced new safety measure on the highway
- Police presence has also increased for better law enforcement
Old Mumbai-Pune Highway Vision Zero: impact on fatalities
As per data released for the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway Vision Zero project, a joint initiative of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Maharashtra Highway Police, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India and SaveLIFE Foundation, the number of fatalities has seen an overall reduction of 54 percent since 2018. In 2018, when the project was initiated, the Mumbai-Pune section of NH48 suffered 268 fatalities. As a result of interventions carried out under this project, the number of fatalities reduced to 206 in 2019.
Though, in 2020, the actual number of fatalities stand at 79, as per Police records, in order to report the impact of the project, a conservative figure of 123 has been considered on the basis of fatalities in Q1 and Q4 of the year, when COVID-19-related challenges and restrictions were negligible. The extrapolation to 123 fatalities also considers past available trends from Q2 and Q3 of other years.
Role of all members of the Vision Zero joint initiative
MSRDC has played a very crucial role in implementing various engineering safety measures on NH48. Over 1,200 engineering related safety improvement measures have been implemented by MSRDC under the project. These include reflective night-time visibility road markers, hazard signs at gaps in median, spring bollards, and ambulance informatorily signs.
Commenting on the work done by MSRDC on the project, Dr Chandrakant Pulkundwar, Joint Managing Director, MSRDC said, “Last year, we spearheaded certain key initiatives on NH48, which have helped us in improving road safety, including eradication of the black spot at Anda Point. We now have dedicated patrol vehicles to also ensure strong enforcement to remove/cordon off illegally parked vehicles on the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway.”
Additionally, the Maharashtra Highway Police has also allocated more personnel to strengthen the enforcement and improve safety on the highway.
The project, conceptualised and managed by SaveLIFE Foundation, is supported by Skoda Auto Volkswagen India under its CSR programme.
Commenting on the way forward, Piyush Tewari, founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation stated that, “The success of this project on Old Mumbai Pune Highway is a testament of our partnership with Skoda Volkswagen Auto India, MSRDC and Maharashtra Police. Through this partnership we have been able to successfully showcase the success of the model on National Highways which are in itself an extremely complex layered ecosystem with peri-urban and rural settlements dotted along the whole stretch."