Scholarly article on topic 'Road traffic crashes and risk groups in India: Analysis, interpretations, and prevention strategies'

Road traffic crashes and risk groups in India: Analysis, interpretations, and prevention strategies Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Raj V. Ponnaluri

Abstract Current literature does not adequately discuss India's quickly changing transportation scenario, especially road traffic crash (RTC) concerns. The objectives of this work were to (a) present the national RTC framework and a case study of Andhra Pradesh (AP); (b) analyze and identify risk types; (c) discuss trends and data deficiencies; and (d) recommend prevention strategies. During the period 1970–2009, the nation's road length increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2%, whereas the number of registered vehicles, RTCs, and fatalities grew at 12%, 3.8%, and 5.7% CAGR respectively. Exposure risk dropped from 103 to 11 fatalities per 10000 vehicles but increased from 2.7 to 10.8 fatalities per 100000 people. In 2001, AP had 7.5% of the nation's population but 10.4% fatalities. In 2009, the share of urban:rural RTCs was 40%:60%, while 4%, 7%, 4.3%, and 7.1% of fatal crashes occurred near schools, bus stops, gas stations, and pedestrian crossings respectively. In 2009, 22% of fatal crashes were due to heavy vehicles, while motorized two-wheeler fatalities more than tripled during the 2001–2009 period. Vehicles under four years old were involved in 43% of the fatal crashes while 11% to 14% of the fatal crashes were due to ‘overturning’ and ‘head-on’ collisions; more than 75% of crashes were due to driver error. 42% of RTCs occurred at ‘uncontrolled’ intersections, while the crash risk at police-regulated locations was 40% less than at traffic signals. Recommended prevention strategies include: developing a road accident recording system and an access management policy; integrating safety into corridor design and road construction; undertaking capacity-building efforts; and expanding emergency response services.

Academic research paper on topic "Road traffic crashes and risk groups in India: Analysis, interpretations, and prevention strategies"

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Road traffic crashes and risk groups in India: Analysis, interpretations, and prevention strategies

Raj V. Ponnaluri *

Operations Management, Administrative Staff College of India, Bella Vista, Raj Bhavan Road, Khairatabad, Hyderabad 500 082, Andhra Pradesh, India

ARTICLE INFO

ABSTRACT

Article history:

Received 27 May 2011

Received in revised form 14 August 2011

Accepted 11 September 2011

Keywords: India

Road crashes Risk groups Prevention strategies Policy implementation

Current literature does not adequately discuss India's quickly changing transportation scenario, especially road traffic crash (RTC) concerns. The objectives of this work were to (a) present the national RTC framework and a case study of Andhra Pradesh (AP); (b) analyze and identify risk types; (c) discuss trends and data deficiencies; and (d) recommend prevention strategies. During the period 1970-2009, the nation's road length increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.2%, whereas the number of registered vehicles, RTCs, and fatalities grew at 12%, 3.8%, and 5.7% CAGR respectively. Exposure risk dropped from 103 to 11 fatalities per 10 000 vehicles but increased from 2.7 to 10.8 fatalities per 100 000 people.

In 2001, AP had 7.5% of the nation's population but 10.4% fatalities. In 2009, the share of urban:rural RTCs was 40%:60%, while 4%, 7%, 4.3%, and 7.1% of fatal crashes occurred near schools, bus stops, gas stations, and pedestrian crossings respectively. In 2009,22% of fatal crashes were due to heavy vehicles, while motorized two-wheeler fatalities more than tripled during the 2001-2009 period. Vehicles under four years old were involved in 43% of the fatal crashes while 11% to 14% of the fatal crashes were due to 'overturning' and 'head-on' collisions; more than 75% of crashes were due to driver error. 42% of RTCs occurred at 'uncontrolled' intersections, while the crash risk at police-regulated locations was 40% less than at traffic signals.

Recommended prevention strategies include: developing a road accident recording system and an access management policy; integrating safety into corridor design and road construction; undertaking capacity-building efforts; and expanding emergency response services.

© 2011 International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

India's rapid economic progress, marked by a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1%, 5.4%, 5.6%, and 10.2% in the gross domestic product during the 1970-1980, 1980-1990, 1990-2000, and 2000-2009 periods [1] has underlined the need for developing reliable transportation solutions. While the Indian Railways have been serving the nation's mobility needs for over 150 years, the operatio-nalization of the National Highway Authority of India in 1995 has encouraged unprecedented growth and improvement in the nation's interstate network. India's National Highway Development Program is developing the Golden Quadrilateral, and the North-south and East-west Connector projects totaling 13 146 km., while building another 1000 km of port connectivity and highway improvement projects [2]. The National Highway Authority's efforts have helped improve mobility and increase route commercialization through project financing methods that include public private partnerships (PPP).

* Administrative Staff College of India, Bella Vista, Hyderabad AP, India 500082. E-mail address: rvp@asci.org.in.

On the passenger transport front, from 1991 - the year generally regarded as marking India's transition to a free-market economy -to 2006, the public:private sector bus ownership ratio changed from 32%:68% to 11%:89% [3]. During this period, the public sector share increased only by 6% from 106 100 to 112 100 buses, while the private fleet rose from 225 000 to 879 900 buses (291% increase). Traditionally, public transport in India has been regulated through state transport units which mostly serve intrastate and city travel. Responding to the increasing competition from private operators and the demand from citizens for good quality services, the state transport units have begun modernizing their rolling stock. From a safety perspective, however, they continue to face challenges. A few studies point to road traffic crash (RTCs) concerns posed by buses [4]. Ponnaluri and Santhi [5] showed that buses contributed 15% and 12% of nationwide fatalities during 2001 and 2005 respectively, while in 35 cities across the country, their shares were 12% and 8% in these two years. In 2005, the three primary risk categories in the nation were trucks, motorized two-wheel vehicles (M2Ws), and buses with fatality shares of 23%, 16%, and 12% respectively. In 35 cities, the three primary risk groups were M2Ws, pedestrians, and trucks with fatality shares of 27%, 20%, and 14% respectively.

0386-1112/$ - see front matter © 2011 International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.iatssr.2011.09.002

2. Research objectives and study methodology

Current literature does not adequately discuss India's changing urban transportation phenomenon, especially RTC concerns. The primary objectives of this work were to (a) present the national RTC scenario and a case study of Andhra Pradesh (AP); (b) analyze and identify risk types; (c) discuss trends and data deficiencies; and (d) recommend prevention strategies including development of a road accident recording system. This research commenced with a review of India's transportation and road safety scenario, and a case study of AP which had experienced high incidence of traffic fatalities in recent years. RTCs for AP during 2001 and 2009 were then analyzed by aggregating data from the perspective of urban-rural incidence, access type, vehicle and object type, vehicle age, impact type, causal factors, maneuver type, and intersection control. Lastly, based on a comprehensive analysis, this work recommended crash mitigation and prevention strategies which include: developing an accident recording system and national access management policy; integrating safety into corridor design and road construction; and expanding emergency response services. Data constraints and inherent weaknesses were also identified. It is worth noting that, despite the limitations, the state's database is one of the best repositories of crash information in India. AP has been serving as a model to other states with regard to the rigor and standardization of processes for collecting RTC information.

3. Road safety — theoretical framework

Recognizing the rapid densification of cities, due partly to people migrating to urban areas in search of employment and better living standards, the Government of India initiated the flagship Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission which provides funding support for cities with a population of over 1 million [6]. The growing demand for transportation services is leading to severe traffic congestion and deteriorating air quality with undocumented public health impacts, and high RTC incidence. This work is significant because it presents RTC trends and impacts on the at-risk groups. Further, it has analyzed the crash data to draw meaningful conclusions while illustrating the limitations caused by the lack of a comprehensive RTC information system and microdetails that could be used for drawing statistically significant conclusions. In this context, it is worth noting that the Sundar Committee Report and the National Urban Transport Policy recommended the need for public awareness, developing accident reporting systems, and imprinting road safety into project design [7, 8]. Drawing from these documents, the Government of India's Draft National Road Safety Policy recommended the creation of a National Road Safety Board, a nodal agency responsible for policy implementation [9]. Further, the National Road Transport Policy suggested initiatives such as traffic management and post-incident trauma care [10].

Mohan and Tiwari studied RTCs from both traffic and biomedical engineering perspectives, and commented on infrastructure and policy issues [11]. As of 1992, India had 71% of South Asia's1 population but 87% of the RTCs and 83% of the road traffic fatalities [12]. World fatality trends indicate that the largest impact of RTCs was experienced by Asia relative to any other region [13]. Further, the World Health Organization's observation that road traffic fatalities in South Asia are likely to increase by 144% from the year 2000 to 2020 is noteworthy [14]. The World Bank also observed that institutionalization of roles and responsibilities among partnering agencies and funding provisions for road safety are required in India [15]. Besides, the Bank noted that institutional reforms, driver behavioral modifications, and

sound engineering practices are imperative to mitigate RTCs. The Bank is therefore actively investing in road infrastructure with an aim toward improving the existing transport systems [16].

4. Demographics and road safety scenario

4.1. Demographics

In 1991, 2001, and 2011, the population density of India was 267 persons per square kilometer (sq. km.), 325 persons per sq. km., and 382 persons per sq. km. respectively while that of AP was 242 persons per sq. km., 275 persons per sq. km., and 308 persons per sq. km. respectively [17, 18]. As of 2011, AP is the fourth largest in terms of land area and the fifth most populous state in India with 7% of the country's 1.21 billion people. In 2001-2002, India had a total road network of 2.457 million km. with AP accounting for 7% or 178 474 km. [19]. The share of the population living in cities increased from 17.3% in 1951 to 27.8% in 2001, indicating that India has been experiencing unabated urbanization [20]. As of 2011, 31% of India's population lives in its urban areas. During the 1951-2009 period, registered vehicles increased from 0.306 million to 114.951 million at a CAGR of 10.8%, while road length increased from 0.4 million km. to 4.12 million km. at a CAGR of 4.1% [21]. The demand-supply gap would have been more pronounced had it not been for the 5.3% CAGR in road length during 1990-2000.

4.2. Safety scenario

Between 1970 and 2009, RTCs in India increased from 114 100 to 486 400 (3.8% CAGR) while fatalities and injuries rose at CAGRs of 5.7% and 5.2% respectively. During the period, the number of registered vehicles increased from 1.401 million to 114.951 million at a high CAGR of 12%, while population grew at 2% CAGR. Road length grew at a moderate 3.2% CAGR. These data are presented in Table 1. Fig. 1 shows that, between 1970 and 2009, the fatality rate gradually decreased from 103 to 11 fatalities per 10 000 vehicles and from 500 to 45 injuries per 10 000 vehicles. The drop in vehicle-based exposure risk is primarily due to a sharp increase in motorization and not so much to crash mitigation strategies. The exposure risk increased from 2.7 to 10.8 fatalities per 100 000 people and from 13 to 44 injuries per 100 000 people; and this, despite the 2% CAGR of the nation's population.

4.3. 2001 vs. 2009 crash scenario

During 2001, AP recorded 8 374 of India's 80 262 reported fatalities while in the year 2009, the state experienced 14 516 of the nation's 126 896 fatalities [22]. Fig. 2 compares national and AP fatalities on a 100% scale. During the two study years, the fatalities due to trucks decreased from 26% to 20% nationwide. In AP, however, the fatalities due to trucks dropped sharply from 32% to 21%. During 2001, buses were the second most risky vehicle type in both AP (12% fatalities) and India (15% fatalities). In 2009, however, M2Ws ranked the second highest in both AP and India accounting for 15% and 21% of all fatalities respectively. In AP, in 2009, the three-wheel 'auto rickshaws' were the third most risky (14% fatalities), while nationally, buses were the third most risky vehicle type (10% fatalities). The fact that the state alone accounted for 30%, 12%, 11%, and 11% of the nation's three-wheel, truck, bus and 'all' fatalities deserves special attention. These data represent the general trend in other states of the county and are important because the working class population, women, and children depend on buses and three-wheelers for commuting to work and to school.

5. AP case study - data, analysis and discussion

1 South Asia comprises the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries, i.e., India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Pakistan.

In 1991, excluding one state and two Union Territories for which fatalities data were unavailable, AP ranked fourth in the nation,

Table 1

Growth in number of vehicles and road accidents in India (1970-2009).

Source: Reserve Bank of India & Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, GoI.

GDP Road Crashes Fatalities Persons Injured Registered Vehicles Road Length Population Fatalities per

(INR in 10 M) ('000) ('000) ('000) ('000) ('000 km) ('000) 10 000 Vehicles

1970 474131 114.1 14.5 70.1 1401 1188.7 539000 103

1980 641 921 153.2 24.6 109.1 4521 1491.9 673 000 54

1990 1 083 572 282.6 54.1 244.1 19152 1983.9 835 000 28

2000 1 864 773 391.4 78.9 399.3 48 857 3316.1 1 014 825 16

2006 2 848157 460.9 105.8 496.5 89 618 3880.6 1 112186 12

2009 4 464 081 486.4 125.7 515.5 114951 4120.0* 1 160 813 11

1970-1980 3.1% 3.0% 5.4% 4.5% 12.4% 2.3% 2.2%

1980-1990 5.4% 6.3% 8.2% 8.4% 15.5% 2.9% 2.2%

1990-2000 5.6% 3.3% 3.8% 5.0% 9.8% 5.3% 2.0%

2000-2009 10.2% 2.4% 5.3% 2.9% 10.0% 2.4% 1.5%

1970-2009 5.9% 3.8% 5.7% 5.2% 12.0% 3.2% 2.0%

*2009 Road Length is estimated.

recording 10.4% of the country's 53 741 fatalities (Ministry of Home Affairs). With all states reporting RTC data for 2001 and 2009, AP ranked 4th and 2nd with 10.4% and 11.4% of the nation's fatalities. The 1991 and 2001 census showed that AP had 7.83% and 7.37% respectively of the nation's population, but it registered 10.4% of the fatalities in each year. Between 1991 and 2009, the exposure risk increased from 8.4 to 17.5 fatalities per 100 000 people. The AP data presented here are from a collation of information obtained from various sources including the Ministry of Home Affairs. In all states, the RTC data are compiled at the State Crime Records Bureau for onward transmission to the National Crime Records Bureau.

5.1. Urban vs. rural crashes

Fig. 3 shows a comparison of crashes in 2001 and 2009 for urban and rural areas. In 2001, of the 27 419 crashes categorized as fatal, grievous injury (GI), minor injury (MI), and non-injury (NI) crashes, urban and rural areas experienced 12 639 (46%) and 14 780 crashes (54%) respectively. The fatal, GI, MI, and NI crashes in the state were 23%, 22%, 52%, and 3% respectively; in urban areas, they were 20%, 22%, 55%, and 3%; and in the rural areas, they were 25%, 22%, 50% and 3%. In 2009, the urban and rural RTCs were 17 435 and 26 055 respectively with a split of 40%:60%. The fatal, GI, MI, and NI crashes in the state were 28%, 19%, 49% and 3% respectively; in the urban areas, 26%, 20%, 50%, and 4%; and in the rural areas, 30%, 19%, 48%, and 3%. In people terms, between 2001 and 2009, the fatalities in urban areas increased by 71% while in rural areas, they increased by 86%. By 2009, person injuries in urban areas dropped marginally by 1% but in rural regions there was an 80% increase. In 2001, urban and rural fatalities were in the ratio 39%:61% while in 2009, the ratio was 37%:63%. In person injury terms, the urban:rural ratios

Fatalities per 10 000 Vehicles (left axis) —•— Injuries per 10 000 Vehicles (left axis) Fatalities per 100 000 People (right axis)--Injuries per 100 000 People (right axis)

Fig. 1. Exposure risk per 10 000 vehicles and 100000 people.

during 2001 and 2009 were 50%:50% and 35%:65% respectively. These results are a cause for concern as they show sharp fatal crash increases of 81%, 111%, and 99% in urban, rural, and statewide areas respectively. The results also point to the contrasts between urban and rural RTCs, which require further analysis and research.

5.2. Access management

Of the 15 location categories by which the RTC data were segregated, five are presented to illustrate the effects of the lack of access control. Fig. 4 shows the locations at which vulnerable groups, i.e., children, women, senior citizens, and M2W drivers are experiencing high crash risk. Increasingly, pupils under 18 years of age are at risk as can be inferred from the 3% to 4% of fatal crashes and fatalities occurring near schools and colleges. About 6% to 7% of all fatal crashes and fatalities occurred near bus stations where lack of space to stop or for vehicle maneuvering operations, or conflicts with bus movement, and unregulated pedestrian activity are routinely observed. In 2009, about 4% of all fatalities and fatal crashes occurred in the vicinity of gas stations. Observations show that there is a need to design and build ingress and egress points with proper signage. These crashes occurred mainly because of obstructions to through-flowing traffic. At pedestrian crossings, the share of fatal crashes increased from 3.7% to 7.1% while the fatalities contribution percentage remained about the same. Roadside encroachments contributed about 1% to 2% of all fatal crashes and fatalities. Though smaller in value, the risk from encroachments is significant because roadside obstructions not only impede vehicle movement and dampen road capacity utilization but also pose threats to pedestrians. In addition to poor pedestrianization, street vendors and unauthorized constructions obstruct vehicle and people movement, thereby posing a challenge to traffic access management. Fig. 5 shows the percent change in crash types at these locations. Between 2001 and 2009, the fatal crashes due to encroachments increased by 275% while at gas stations and pedestrian crossings, they grew by 213% and 258% respectively. At schools and colleges, fatal crashes increased by 156%. A 133% (GI) and 188% (MI) increase at pedestrian crossings and schools/colleges is also noteworthy.

5.3. Vehicle type and objects involved

In 2001, trucks posed the highest crash risk, accounting for 22% of all fatalities and 17.9% of grievous injuries. With 15% of MI crashes, M2Ws were at the highest risk but in MI person injury terms, trucks posed the most risk with a contribution of 18.3%. Overall, trucks posed the most risk having been involved in 15.3% of all crashes and 23% of person injuries. In 2009 also, trucks posed the most risk, causing 22.4% fatal crashes, 23.8% NI crashes, and 22.4% fatalities. M2Ws were

2001 AP 2009 AP 2001 India 2009 India

□ Trucks QBus DVan DJeep QCar Q3-W □ M2W □ Bicycle DPeds. QOther

Fig. 2. 2001 vs. 2009 fatal crash comparisons — AP and India.

involved in 16.8% of fatal crashes, 17.1% of GI crashes, and 18.6% of MI crashes. M2Ws, as a vehicle category, need an in-depth study for crash mitigation and prevention. Auto rickshaws also posed/faced a significant threat with contributions of 12.4% (fatal crashes), 22.1% (MI crashes), 11.8% (fatalities), 20.8% (GIs), and 23.7% (MIs).

Consistent with observations and an understanding of the crash scenario in India, between 2001 and 2009, the fatal, GI, MI, and 'all' crashes among M2Ws increased by 277%, 8%, 52%, and 66% while fatalities and person injuries increased by 209% and 81% respectively; GI crashes dropped marginally by 1%, indicating a trend toward increasing severity of accidents and possibly to a larger number of fatalities.

contribution of under-two year old vehicles to Ml crashes doubled during the period. Similarly, the contribution of four- to six-year-old vehicles to fatal crashes increased sharply. The contribution to NI crashes, not shown in the Figure, decreased by about 50%, thus indicating a possible shift to fatal and GI categories. Lack of vehicle age-specific data makes this analysis inadequate; further research is required as the unit risk rate calculation (per registered vehicle) with the available data is not possible — a measure that can establish correlations and statistical significance of vehicle age vis-à-vis RTC incidence.

5.5. Impact type

5.4. Age of vehicle

'Age' has been measured from the year the vehicle was registered with the government. During 2001 and 2009, about 40% to 43% of the fatal crashes involved vehicles four years or under; vehicles in other 2-year age groups contributed between 10% and 18% of all fatal crashes. Similarly, among the GI, MI, and NI types, each age group contributed about 10% to 20% of the crashes. It is worth studying the increased incidence during the 2001-2009 period (Fig. 6) when the contribution of two- to four-year-old vehicles to, or involvement in, fatal crashes increased by 200% while the GI crashes and fatalities increased by 78% and 95% respectively. While the contribution of vehicles under-two years of age to fatal crashes increased by 70%, their role in fatalities and persons injuries grew by 191% and 83% respectively. The

Fatal Crashes

Grievous

Injury Crashes

Minor Injury Crashes

Non Injury Crashes

Persons Killed

Persons Injured

2001 Urban s 2001 Rural □ 2009 Urban □ 2009 Rural

Of the nine crash categories for which data were segregated, in 2001 and 2009 the share of fatal, GI, MI, and NI crashes, and fatalities and persons injured for 'other' impact types ranged between 36% and 50%. While the analysis provides general trends, this work shows the need for improved crash data collection processes to better understand 'other' causal factors and impact type. Observations suggest that crash investigations may have been performed cursorily, the stress probably being on opening roads to traffic rather than on comprehensive collection of evidence — a case of mobility at the expense of mortality. Evaluation of fatal crash data also pointed to 'overturning' and 'head-on collision' as having the most frequent occurrence with a combined contribution of 22% to 25%. Fig. 7 shows the percentage change in crashes and person impacts. Large increases in RTCs under several categories during 2001 -2009 are a cause for concern. Observations and crash reviews suggest the debilitating role of poorly maintained roads

№î.

School College Bus Stop Gas Station Ped. Crossing Encroachments

2001 Fatal Crashes

i 2009 Fatal Crashes

: 2001 Fatalities □ 2009 Fatalities

Fig. 3. Urban and rural crash scenario — 2001 vs. 2009.

Fig. 4. Percent contribution at vulnerable locations — 2001 vs. 2009.

Grievous Injury

Minor Injury

All Crashes

] School/College ss Bus Stop □ Gas Station □ Ped. Crossing □ Encroachments

Fig. 5. Percent change in crash types — 2001 vs. 2009.

though data does not exist to prove this point. Head-on collisions, especially due to median crossovers, are a major cause for concern since they have been found to result in fatalities or GIs. Most state and rural highways in India are undivided — hence the median crossover concern.

5.6. Causal analysis

During 2001 and 2009 respectively, 68% to 85% and 68% to 75% of RTCs and person impacts were due to driver fault. In all, driver error was identified as one of the primary causes of RTCs and impact severity. Poor 'mechanical condition' caused 5% to 8% of the crashes during 2001. This dropped to 2% in 2009 which indicates (confirmed by observations) that people are paying more attention to proper maintenance of their vehicles. Further analysis showed that about a quarter to one-third of all incidents and person impacts were due to vehicle overloading which, during 2001 and 2009, caused 24.6% and 25.4%; and 27.4% and 27% crashes and fatalities respectively. Vehicle defects noted as 'defective brakes', 'defective steering', 'punctured tire' and 'bald tire', in that order of decreasing incidence, caused about 20% to 40% of crashes and person impacts.

5.7. Vehicle maneuver

Three movements — 'diverging', 'crossing', and 'overtaking' — accounted for 46% (2001) and 51% (2009) of RTCs. While the data categories by themselves are debatable, indications point to improper vehicle movement, poor steering control, lack of properly designated lanes, and driving without attention to the environment as reasons for crash incidence. Analysis also pointed out that there was two to three times the likelihood of a crash being caused by a diverging maneuver than by a merge movement. Observations indicated that drivers paid less attention to vehicles 'behind' and 'beside' than those in front — evidence of more diverging maneuver crashes. In a nation where vehicles travel on the left side of a roadway, right-turn movements — due to conflict

— 92 81 — — 50 37 - 03 88 —

— - 32 17 TTq 62 46 — — = 44 6 46 All Ages

si? 35 — 19 7 78 42 16 — 59 3TF > 10 years

93 108 > 7- 8 92 ■ • 57 87 13 ■ Vi 1 50 33 8 to 10 years 6 to 8 years

& l i 57 44 * ' -> 95 w 54 4 to 6 years

200 37 65

% 79 2 to 4 years

70 100 71 191 83 < 2 years

1 1 _ "V 1 1 1 1

59 7 70

187 83 22 É 17 30 12

145 83

55 37 127 122

i 112 61

107 32

41 91 61

33 36 -Ï3-

150 44 77

87 182

57 29 67 39

□ Others

□ Hit and run

□ Right-turn coll.

□ Skidding

□ Right-angled coll.

□ Side-swipe

□ Read-end coll.

□ Head-on coll.

□ Overturning

Fig. 7. Percent change by impact type — 2001 vs. 2009.

points — caused about 7% of RTCs and 6% fatalities. Interestingly, left-turn movements also showed a similar pattern, indicating that lane definition and discipline are a matter ofconcern. Change in people's driving etiquette and government's resolve to design and construct good road infrastructure can help alleviate this problem.

5.8. intersection type and traffic control

During 2001 and 2009, the fatal, GI, and MI crashes, and fatalities at 'uncontrolled' intersections2 ranged between 41% and 56%. 'Staggered' intersections posed the next highest risk during 2001 with 8% to 17% of fatal, GI, MI, and all crashes; in 2009, these figures dropped to between 7% and 11%. At roundabouts, during 2001, the contributions of RTCs and fatalities were 2.9% and 1.9% respectively, while in 2009, they were 5.1% and 5.3%. In terms of risk at railroad crossings, during 2001, the contribution of RTCs and fatalities were respectively 2% and 1.2% (manned crossings), and 2.8% and 3.6% (unmanned crossings). In 2009, while data were not available for manned crossings, at unmanned crossings, the RTCs and fatalities were 2.8% and 2.6% respectively. It is clear that urgent attention is required to address the crash concerns at railroad crossings. Interestingly, the RTC likelihood at traffic signals and at locations with police presence switched between 2001 and 2009. During 2001, the contribution of RTCs and fatalities at traffic signals ranged between 0.4% and 1.3%, as compared to 1.9% to 2.9% where traffic police were present. During 2009, the contribution of RTCs and fatalities at traffic signals ranged between 1.7% and 2.2%, while at police-controlled intersections, the range was 1.1% to 1.3%. Thus, in 2009, the likelihood of RTCs at police-controlled intersections was less, indicating increased compliance and vigilance when law enforcers were present; observations also show that the traffic police were efficient at handling peak traffic conditions.

6. Mitigation and prevention strategies

The data presented here are macroscopic and aggregated, and therefore lack the detail necessary to conduct statistically valid causal analyses that could provide better insights to mitigate RTCs. However, based on the comprehensive assessment of one of the best datasets in the country, the following crash prevention strategies are recommended.

6.1. Road accident recording system

The current method of collecting, compiling, and recording data requires improvement. Accident reports, though prepared at the crash location, are rudimentary and non-analytical for any purpose beyond

Fig. 6. Percent change by vehicle age — 2001 vs. 2009.

2 'Uncontrolled' implies a lack of traffic signal or a policeman to monitor the traffic movements.

aggregation and general reporting; this makes the data less meaningful for suggesting tangible safety improvements. Therefore, this work recommends the creation of an accident recording system as a way to comprehensively collect RTC data and other relevant information such as driver characteristics, residence, gender, precise crash location and time, road characteristics, weather conditions, assessment by the crash investigator, and a collision diagram. The purpose of the road accident recording system is to provide a record of RTCs, perform thorough analysis, recommend improvements and priorities, and develop strategies to mitigate and prevent RTCs. The current data collection procedures do not allow statistical analysis beyond the rudiments, and therefore do not offer opportunities to support hypotheses or draw correlations between risk factors such as alcohol use and nighttime driving. Further, high-crash location determination is also not possible. Crash prevention due to any aspect — driver, vehicle, or the roadway — is possible through an accident recording system. In addition to proper data collection, recording, compilation, analysis, reporting, and dissemination, the accident recording system can aid in the monitoring of interventions and strategy implementation.

6.2. Access management policy

Lack of access control has a negative impact on traffic operations since random entry and exit points lead to abrupt vehicle speed reduction, inefficient use of road capacity, and impedance to traffic flow. Encroachments are known to cause unanticipated driver behaviors, frequent vehicle acceleration and deceleration, and improper weaving maneuvers. Proper implementation of the building permit process, a commitment to developing transportation plans, and the conduct of traffic impact analyses should be mandatory, particularly in cities since they can drastically improve mass mobility and address road safety concerns. This work therefore recommends the development of a national access management policy which can provide guidelines for managed growth in all states and cities. While crafting the policy, it is important to ensure translation to reality through linkages to funding for projects which will design the roads according to established standards and build per accepted norms. Policy implementation should ensure that all projects have embedded project management consultancy oversight.

6.3. Back to basics

Observations point to the poor condition of roads, a likely result of improper construction practices, which lead to inferior pavement structures that carry heavy axle loads. Poor quality mix, incorrect edge terminations, and persistent waterlogging from rains are known to accelerate surface deterioration and pavement erosion, which create unwanted features; potholes, for example, are known to cause fatalities due to waterlogging and invisible pavement when it rains. Proper road design, adherence to standards during construction, attention to quality control, and proactive maintenance including periodic milling and resurfacing programs are required to reduce RTCs. In addition, operable storm water drainage systems are required to prevent waterlogging. Observations have shown that several RTCs during inclement weather have resulted in fatalities; the risk to M2Ws is multiplied manifold because of crash severity when drivers lose control over their vehicles. Observations also reflect instances of a lack of coordination among utility companies that disturb new pavement surface but do not reinstate status quo. The government requires coordination among utility providers but proper supervision of works implementation is desired. Further, the quality in engineering design and construction practices deserves attention. AP state has highly qualified engineers and officers working for the government, but they need continuing education and skill-enhancing/capacity-building training programs so that their services can result in safer transport systems for all people.

6.4. Emergency management

India has embarked on providing emergency management services with primary emphasis on post-incident trauma care for RTC victims. AP is the first state to implement the service which is delivered through the PPP mode by the state government and the Emergency Management Research Institute, headquartered at Hyderabad, AP. The flagship '108' system has since become India's program similar to '911' in the United States of America. The 108 system operates 24 x 7 and caters to medical, police and fire emergencies. The AP government contributed 95% of the revenue required to operate the service while the private partner contributed the remaining 5%. The state government thus plays an important role in the financial sustainability of the model and ensures institutional stability as well. Both parties see the service as one that benefits the people and therefore contributes to the welfare of the society. The AP state government's service-orientation, coupled with the private sector's operational efficiencies, transparency, and accountability are at the heart of successful emergency service delivery. The 108 system is attracting the attention of many states and is now operating in about a half-dozen states with many more in the pipeline. There is still the need for aggressive and accelerated investments in the emergency management sector since many parts of the country are yet to gain from this initiative. The true impact of 108 services can only be known if studies are conducted in a transparent manner; such studies should collect useful data from the law enforcement at the crash site, the emergency crew during transport, and medical professionals at the hospital. In all, this initiative serves as a boost to India's transportation system and people safety.

7. Conclusions

The 5.9% CAGR of India's gross domestic product since 1970 and the transportation supply-demand gap continue to put pressure on the nation's road infrastructure with the added disadvantages of decreased transit ridership, increased urban traffic congestion, air quality deterioration, and compromised road safety. During 1970-2009, while road length increased at 3.2% CAGR, motor vehicles, road crashes, and fatalities increased at CAGRs of 12%, 3.8%, and 5.7% respectively. During 1970-2009, exposure risk dropped from 103 to 11 fatalities per 10 000 vehicles and from 500 to 45 injuries per 10 000 vehicles but increased from 2.7 to 10.8 fatalities per 100 000 people, and from 13 to 44 injuries per 100 000 people.

AP, the case study state presented here, ranked 2nd in the nation in terms of fatalities in 2009. With about 7.4% of India's population, the state had 11.4% of the nation's fatalities. In 2001 and 2009, the ratios of urban:rural crashes were 46%:54% and 40%:60% respectively, indicating an RTC shift to rural areas. Further, while the state showed a 99% increase in fatalities, the rural regions experienced a 111% growth. Analyses showed that educational institutions, bus stops, gas stations, and pedestrian crossings were high risk locations. During 2001 and 2009, trucks posed the most risk, being involved in 24% and 22% fatal crashes respectively. Two-wheeler crashes should be studied further since during 2001 -2009, the M2W fatal crashes more than tripled. Among crash impact types, 'other' category caused 40% to 55% of all crashes thus pointing to the need for better data collection. 'Overturning' and 'head-on' collisions caused over 25% of crashes, thus pointing to possible over-speeding and median crossovers. During both years, 68% to 85% of RTCs were due to driver error, while 'diverging', 'crossing', and 'overtaking' accounted for about 46% to 51% of all crashes. Over 40% of RTCs occurred at 'uncontrolled' intersections while the crash risk at unmanned railroad crossings is also a matter for concern. Further, locations with traffic police were about half as risky as those with traffic signal control, thereby suggesting that the police presence helped mitigate RTCs. It is worth noting, however, that compliance with traffic signals is on the rise in the country.

Based on data analysis, observational experience, and crash reviews, this work recommends the development of a road accident recording system and national access management policy; integrating safety into corridor design and construction practice; undertaking capacity-building initiatives; and expanding RTC emergency services. Despite the emergency service and its quality response, the governments should invest in measures that can systematically prevent RTCs. The strategies suggested in this work can provide a sustainable mechanism to mitigate RTCs in the short-term while offering a long-term plan to fully utilize the proposed accident recording system, access management policy, and road safety integration with corridor design as a means to prevent road crashes.

8. List of abbreviations

PPP Public private partnership

CAGR Compounded annual growth rate

AP Andhra Pradesh

RTC Road traffic crash

GI Grievous injury

MI Minor injury

NI Non-injury

M2W Motorized two-wheel vehicle

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