India’s first tactical urbanism trail to reduce fatal accidents trial at Old Mumbai Pune highway

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 23 Dec 2021

In order to reduce the number of fatal accidents at the intersections on Old-Mumbai Pune Highway, SaveLife Foundation with Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation and Skoda Auto Volkswagen India (SAVWIPL) have launched Tactical Urbanism trials at Karla Phata to test a safer redesigned version of the intersection.

Tactical Urbanism (TU) trials are temporary, quick and relatively low-cost interventions, which test out urban design, transportation planning and infrastructural changes for improving road safety for all road users, especially the most vulnerable, like pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised transport users.

As part of the Vision Zero Project with MSRDC and SAVWIPL, SaveLife Foundation is currently testing temporary design interventions to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users. The intersection had discontinuous footpaths in poor condition, no waiting space for pedestrians and since the junction on the Highway is used by the villagers, there was high exposure to conflict.

While commenting on the need for the trials, Dr Chandrakant Pulkundwar, joint MD, MSRDC said, “Karla Phata has a heavy pedestrian footfall with over 250 pedestrians using the intersection during the peak hour. Through these trials, at Karla Phata, we aim to test a methodology to treat high-risk intersections on National Highways and use pre-emptive measures to reduce conflict and therefore any risk to human life. We also aim to use this methodology on other intersections on the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway.”

The project, conceptualised and managed by SaveLife Foundation, is supported by auto major SAVWIPL under its CSR program.

Gurpratap Boparai, MD, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India said, “We firmly believe that road safety needs to go hand in hand with development. In partnership with SaveLife Foundation and through initiatives like Vision Zero Project, we have been making efforts to minimise fatalities that occur on the busy Mumbai Pune stretch. The first TU trial in India on a National Highway is aimed at making the intersection safe for all in an inclusive manner. We are confident that steps taken after the trials will improve road safety and reduce fatality.”

Piyush Tewari, CEO, SaveLife Foundation said, “Through these interventions we have managed to reduce the pedestrian exposure distance and pedestrian exposure time by about 35%. The end goal of these trials is to help road owning agencies determine the best design solutions to save lives of vulnerable commuters on black-spots and other accident-prone sites.”

The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India and SaveLife Foundation had launched the Vision Zero Initiative in 2018 – a country wide road safety initiative. The cumulative effort of the team has already resulted in 54% reduction in fatalities on NH48 since the time of the launch. The partnership aims to create a scalable and replicable model for road safety across Indian highways. This is in line with India’s commitment to reduce road crash deaths by 50 percent under the Brasilia Declaration.

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