Challenge fund for road safety programmes under KSTP

A challenge fund to develop and implement district-level road safety programmes will be created as part of the ongoing Phase II of the Kerala State Transport Project (KSTP), aided by the World Bank.

The fund is intended to elicit innovative road safety proposals in a collaborative effort by the local road-user stakeholder groups, the Road Safety Authority, the Public Works Department and the KSTP, Arnab Bandyopadhyay, Task Team leader of the World Bank, told The Hindu here.

It will build on the best practices and lessons learnt from the 80-km safe-corridor demonstration project to be set up from Kazhakuttam to Adoor, part of the $445 million KSTP that aims at upgrading 363 km of roads to world-class standards, he said.

The World Bank has earmarked $4 million for setting up the fund. Mr. Bandyopadhyay said the objective would be to develop locally another 10 safe-corridor zones in the State and to evaluate the effectiveness of safety and traffic management strategies.

Lauding the setting up of the Road Safety Authority, he said the district road safety councils, the grama panchayats, non-governmental organisations, Kudumbasree and even anganwadis could become local partners for the outreach activities. The overall responsibility for the management of the fund would be with the Road Safety Authority and they would have to provide matching funds.

Bottom-up approach

He said a “bottom-up” approach at the local level was needed for the successful implementation of the initiative. The fund would target high-risk locations and try to ensure the safety of highly vulnerable road users like pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists in the State. The evaluation criteria for the fund would be accident history, the innovativeness of approach being adopted and the extent of local participation and commitment.

A sum of $22 million had been earmarked in the loan provided by the World Bank for the second phase of the KSTP for road safety management. The component would support strengthening of road safety management systems through focussed road safety programmes.

The safe-corridor demonstration project is a component of road safety management. A programme management team to be set up will support the planning of the safe-corridor project and the challenge fund, Mr. Bandyopadhyay said.

The focus of the programmes will be to enhance the capacity of the road safety authority and to introduce sustainable international best practices in designing, implementing and monitoring road safety interventions.

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