Tech-driven Road Safety 2.0 Launched under World Economic Forum Initiative

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Road Safety 2.0 is in association with Niti Aayog, GRSI, FIA, WIAA amongst others

Initiative aims to reduce India’s #1 rank in road fatalities

Target of 50% reduction in road fatalities by 2025

World Economic Forum launched a much-awaited Road Safety 2.0 program in India, in association with the Government of India, Niti Aayog and MoRTH. The Road Safety 2.0 is a flagship project of the World Economic Forum’s Global Road Safety Initiative (GRSI) in partnership with FIA & WIAA under the banner of the Road Safety Partnership in India (RSPI). According to a World Road Safety report in 2018, India ranks 1st amongst 199 countries in terms of the number of road fatalities, with 11 % of the global road fatalities taking place in India alone. In the past one decade over 1 million people have lost their lives to road crashes. The majority of them were young and came from low economic backgrounds. This has not only led to unimaginable miseries to their families but dented the Indian GDP by over 3 %.

Akhilesh Srivastava –Ex-NHAI and currently Project Head for Road Safety 2.0 in World Economic Forum

Road Safety 2.0, aims to introduce technology into all 4Es of road safety i.e., Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency care, each of which has been severely ignored for decades.

Over 70 participants encompassing all the stakeholders of road safety wholeheartedly showed their support for the project. Stakeholders included UN Special Envoy, World Bank, and Indian Government World Bank, FIA, Government of India Ministries, Industry leaders, corporate houses, National Highway Authority of India, State Transport Commissioners, Western India Automobile Association (WIAA), Highway Operators, Vehicle Manufacturers, Society of Indian Automobiles (SIAM), Tech Start-Ups such as HumSafer Driver Safety Foundation, Insurance companies, Hospital chains, All India Motor Congress among other road safety experts.

According to Akhilesh Srivastava, the World Economic Forum, Project Head of Road Safety 2.0, “In India, nearly 75% of road accidents take place due to human mistakes like overspeeding, fatigue, stress and poor driving skills etc, the majority of which can be easily controlled with the use of technology.”

Technology has the power to compensate for human limitations and the leverage of IR 4.0 technologies in road safety can drastically improve the situation. Quoting his experience of implementation of similar technology-driven programs in India, like FASTag, (the electronic toll collection program) which, he was leading as Chief General Manager in NHAI, Akhilesh is very confident and said that India is one of the quickest nations in adoption of IR 4.0 technologies. “A large number of smartphones users, very low-cost network connectivity and the pro-technology approach of Indians makes it further simpler. This is evident from the success of Aadhar, UPI, FASTag and other e-governance programs. Digital technologies are making quick inroads in agriculture, health, infrastructure development, urban development and manufacturing too, so why not in road safety!”

According to Sumedh Mane, Co-founder of HumSafer Driver Safety Foundation, “HumSafer, uses Artificial Intelligence based technology to check drowsiness, fatigue of drivers and gives them real-time alerts, which saves a lot of accidents. Apart from the alerts, the App continuously tracks driving behaviour like overspeeding, sudden braking, overtime driving etc and scores the points based on it. These points can be used for incentivising or rewarding the drivers for their good driving behaviours. The reward will have a more positive impact than penalizing them. These good driving score points can be used by Insurance companies to give them rebates on the Insurance premiums to incentivise them further. This will create a win-win ecosystem for the insurance companies and vehicle owners/drivers both.”

In the Kick-off meeting, other technology pilots were also discussed such as the use of IOT sensors, ANPR & speed cameras integrated with interactive digital platforms on PPP models to facilitate enforcement through e-challans, Sensor and GIS-based Apps to give advance alerts of blackspots and connect to nearest trauma centres in case of accidents to provide emergency care within the golden hour etc. Use of technology while giving driving license and technology-based advance training to drivers encouraging continuous learning through point-based road safety video games, interactive training videos etc.

The World Economic Forum and FIA with the Government of India have set the target of a 50% reduction in road fatalities by 2025.

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