Opposes Delhi Government’s intention to scrap Bus Rapid Transit corridor

“Segregation of traffic is essential to reduce road fatalities and ensure pedestrian safety in the Capital,” said renowned traffic safety expert Professor Dinesh Mohan of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, opposing the Delhi Government’s intention to scrap the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.

Professor Mohan was on Friday delivering a lecture on “Accidents, Mythologies and Science of Traffic Safety” as part of the India International Centre’s series of monthly lectures on science and technology.

Scrapping of the corridor, according to the Professor, will be a retrograde decision that ignores the most important issue of human safety on roads in favour of enabling high-speed traffic. In his opinion, the BRT was a milestone as segregation of traffic enables better traffic management and reduces risk factor by regulating speed.

“Traffic-related fatalities are increasing at the rate of eight per cent in India,” he said.

Professor Mohan added that according to the data available with the authorities concerned, the number of deaths as a consequence of road accidents in India per day is above 400, roughly equal to two plane crashes a day. The number of those who are permanently disabled is estimated at 1,000 and those injured at 8,000.

He said despite these “appalling statistics” the government does not have any organisation solely dedicated to traffic safety research. In fact, the National Road Safety and Management Bill, which provides for such a specialised agency, has been pending in Parliament since 2010.

According to him, the government made a mistake in approaching the issue of traffic management in the country — right from constructing medians on national highways, which are in complete contradiction with prescribed international standards and norms. In his view, these medians are “designed to kill” since contact with them is the primary cause of tyre-burst incidents, notorious to highway travel in India.

Simple solutions, according to Professor Mohan, can go a long way in reducing road accidents. Solutions like a greater number of speed bumps in cities, roundabouts at intersections and more importantly segregation of traffic, similar to the BRT. Also, prioritisation of stricter enforcement of existing laws is imperative and needs to be placed higher on the agenda of the traffic authorities.

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