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Nov 19, 2017 04:36 PM IST | Source: PTI

iRAP keen to assess accident-prone highways in India

India is among the countries that witness the most road accidents globally. Every year, 1.5 lakh people are killed in 5 lakh accidents in the country while 3 lakh are crippled

The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) is keen to assess accident-prone roads in India after studying 12,000 kms of state and national highways in 12 states, its CEO Rob McInerney said.

iRAP is the umbrella programme for Road Assessment Programmes (RAPs) worldwide that are working to save lives by improving road safety. The programme launched in India is titled Indian Road Assessment Programme (IndiaRAP).

"We are working for safer roads globally. More than half of the (road accident) deaths in India are happening on 5 percent of roads," McInerney told PTI, adding that his organisation is looking at assessing these roads.

He said to reduce crashes, 100 percent of travel should be on 3-star roads.

"That should be our immediate goal. There is a lot happening in India. The government is already investing a lot on infrastructure," he added.

He said a 1-star road is the least safe while a 5-star road is the safest.

Star rating of roads is done on basis of vehicular and passenger safety as well as speed.

McInerney said till date 12,000 km iRAP assessments have been undertaken on World Bank, NHAI and state government supported projects in 12 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Assam, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

"Another 5,000 kms are currently under assessment on the Golden Quadrilateral, linking the major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai," he said.

India is among the countries that witness the most road accidents globally. Every year, 1.5 lakh people are killed in 5 lakh accidents in the country while 3 lakh are crippled.

For the first time, the United Nations has included road safety in its Sustainable Development Goals, which targets to halve global road deaths and injuries by 2020.

McInerney said improving India's roads to 3-star or better rating would be a cost-effective contribution towards meeting the UN targets.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has been stressing that India stands committed to reducing road accidents by 50 percent by 2020.

He has also sought global cooperation for road safety and innovative technologies at the IRF World Road Meeting (WRM 2017), concluded last week.

Steps are underway to rectify black spots which will cost Rs 12,000 crore, he had said.

During the four-day global road meeting, experts also stressed on the need for promoting 'minimum 3 star' road infrastructure for all road users in developing countries.

They said if the countries are serious about achieving the UN target, they must make the case for systemically upgrading 1 and 2 star roads into 3 and 4 star ones in low and middle income group countries including India.

"We can begin with the 10 percent of high volume, high risk roads where half the deaths and serious injuries occur," the experts had said.
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