BANGALURU : UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) have announced a three-year partnership to promote road safety initiatives in Bangalore. Under the partnership, UL, a global safety science organization, will support WRI’s EMBARQ project implementing key initiatives to improve road safety on Indian roads, one that intends to have far-reaching effects on the city of Bangalore, as well as for the country.
Every year, traffic accidents claim over 1.2 million lives, and road fatalities are set to become the fifth-leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. India accounts for approximately 10 per cent of all fatalities worldwide. In 2013 alone, 130,000 deaths and 50,000 serious injuries were recorded in traffic-related accidents. By building safety into a city’s infrastructure design, and prioritising the needs of people on the roads, over vehicles, many of these injuries and fatalities can be avoided.
One of the initiatives of the UL and WRI partnership involves a popular, open-streets road-safety campaign pioneered by EMBARQ. The campaign now draws over 150,000 people to participate in car-free Sundays, where road safety is a key message. In addition, the campaign aims to promote non-motorised modes of transport in cities in order to reduce air pollution and encourage healthier lifestyles.
“We were involved in the launch of Raahgiri in Gurgaon in November 2013 and saw an overwhelming response, with over 10,000 people participating on the first day itself. Since then, the campaign has expanded to several cities with our support. Some cities have localised the name to their unique situations.
Through our partnership with UL, we will develop a toolkit that will aid the implementation of this concept in other cities. Our experiences over the last year and a half will serve as a guide to civil society and local authorities toward promoting non-motorised transport modes and infrastructure in Indian cities” said Amit Bhatt, strategy head – Urban Transport, EMBARQ/WRI.
The toolkit will be first piloted in Bangalore, and then used to scale the campaign nationally.
The second initiative under the partnership between UL and WRI involves engaging with the private sector in promoting road safety in cities. The programme recognises that businesses not only contribute significantly to the traffic congestion and movement in a city, but also have an economic impact that is often not quantified.
By working closely with enterprises in developing and piloting a road safety programme that can be implemented with corporate support, the partnership hopes to make a positive impact on the awareness of corporate stakeholders. These would include employees, vendors and contractors, among others.
“The participation of private enterprise in road safety initiatives is an extremely positive step forward since this sector has a big stake both in traffic volumes as well as technologies that can help in road safety.
At UL, we are committed toward road safety by increasing risk awareness. Through this partnership we look forward to working very closely with corporate entities to help ensure higher safety standards on Indian roads” said R.A.Venkitachalam, Vice President of Public Safety, UL.
Through these projects, UL and WRI hope to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities, and make Indian cities safer, healthier, and economically productive.
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