The landmark announcement of IndiaRAP, a locally led, globally supported road assessment programme for India by the Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Hon. Nitin Gadkari stands to save thousands of lives and serious injuries.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways reports that 1,50,785 people were killed on the roads in India in 2016, equating to 17 deaths every hour. In addition to the personal cost, the economic cost of road crashes is estimated at over 3% of national GDP every year.
Hosted by the Asian Institute of Transport Development (AITD), with sponsorship from FedEx Express, the IndiaRAP programme aims to tackle the highest risk roads around the country in partnership with national and state agencies. The programme will be led by local experts, using local research and local resources, supported by the global network of the international Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) with experts across more than 80 countries.
AITD Chairman Mr K L Thapar said the Delhi-based Institute is excited to host the programme.
“IndiaRAP will play an important role in mobilizing the scale and results needed to meet national road safety targets. With project level activity across 12 states already, the national programme will bring together all of the existing partners with a single focus on improving the safety of road infrastructure across India and supporting IndiaRAP programmes in new states. As an independent, not-for-profit organization focussed on capacity building, research and regional cooperation in the Indian infrastructure sector, AITD is well placed to lead the partnerships needed to make roads safer through the IndiaRAP programme,” Mr Thapar said.
iRAP Chief Executive Officer Mr Rob McInerney said IndiaRAP will be crucial in bringing together government, investment, research and NGO partners from across the country with the common aim to save lives and prevent serious injuries.
“Thanks to the sponsorship from FedEx Express, we are proud to establish IndiaRAP as a hosted programme of the AITD, and the appointment of Mr. Jigesh Bhavsar as the IndiaRAP Technical Manager based in Delhi.Local leadership is the key to life-saving success in all of our partnerships in more than 80 countries worldwide,” Mr McInerney said.
The programme will be informed by iRAP’s evidence-based Star Rating methodology and investment planning tools which provide a simple and objective measure of the level of safety which is ‘built-in’ to the road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Five-star roads are the safest while one-star roads are the least safe.
IndiaRAP Technical Manager Mr Jigesh Bhavar said IndiaRAP will seek to eliminate 1 and 2-star unsafe roads and to become a world-leader in the design and construction of brand new 5-star safe and smart motorways in the country.
The programme will also provide policy and tools for government to measure and manage road infrastructure safety and optimize investment, and build local capacity and expertise by connecting Indian road safety experts with colleagues around the world. India is investing in large-scale road upgrades across the country and maximizing the safety of this investment will deliver strong transport, health and economic benefits,” Mr Bhavsar said.
Mr Shane O’Connor of FedEx said, “We’re also proud to support this important road safety initiative. It is estimated that by 2030, road traffic crashes will cause more fatalities than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis and, at FedEx, we believe we can help change these outcomes by leveraging our safety expertise and global reach to support IndiaRAP and make roads safer in India.”
The establishment of IndiaRAP builds on a series of road assessment projects that have occurred since 2010 when the World Bank Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) invited iRAP to work with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways India (MoRTH), public works departments, research institutes, local engineering firms and automobile associations to assess the safety of Indian Roads.
To date, 12,000km of iRAP assessments have been undertaken on World Bank, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and State Government supported projects across 12 states (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Assam, Punjab, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh & Haryana). Another 5,000kms are currently under assessment on the Golden Quadrilateral, linking the major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai.
Mr Thapar said IndiaRAP’s vision is for an India free of high-risk roads.
“Through IndiaRAP’s policy leadership to maximise travel on 3-star or better roads across the country and through the implementation of proven road upgrades, many lives will be saved. We look forward to the leading the IndiaRAP programme in the years ahead, with the generous support of FedEx Express,” Mr Thapar said.
IndiaRAP was launched this week at the 98th International Road Federation World Road Meeting being held in Delhi from 14-17 November.
AITD is an independent, not-for-profit organization devoted to capacity building, non-partisan research and regional cooperation in the infrastructure sector with a special focus on transport, trade and logistics. The Institute aims at promoting balanced, efficient, equitable and sustainable development. It also fosters regional cooperation and partnership, promotes human resource development and harmonisation of technologies for enhancing welfare. The United Nations Economic and Social Council has granted AITD a special consultative status.
FedEx Express is a global air, ground and sea courier service whose networks cover more than 220 countries. FedEx has been involved in many road safety initiatives in recent decades and is a key supporter of the UN Road Safety Collaboration and the Global Alliance of Nongovernmental Organizations Advocating for Road Safety and Road Victims.
Photo Caption: Rob McInerney, CEO, iRAP; Hemant Pimplikar, Managing Director Sales, FedEx Express India; & Shane O’Connor, Communications Advisor, FedEx at the IndiaRAP Media Launch 15 November 2017, Delhi