Not enough is being done when it comes to road safety issues. While IT can play a major role in monitoring the overall safety issues, a holistic approach from all the stakeholders is necessary for an efficient safety system.
What are the road safety issues in Indian cities? Arabolu The need for consistent and predictable behaviour while on the road is important otherwise each one using the road will not realise the other road users actions and reactions. So the first issue on behaviour, and which in Indian cities is quite unpredictable and undisciplined. The second factor is about the road design itself. This covers not just the road and traffic, but must consider the diversity of users and most importantly the pedestrians. The third factor is lack of concern and attitude. Fourth is selfishness which is increased due to more uneducated road users who don't even realise their impact. The fifth factor is aggressiveness which gets compounded by substance abuse. Adding to this are inadequate punitive deterrents by enforcement authorities.
Baindur Road accidents in India are one of the highest in the world. The absence of separate lanes for pedestrian, cyclists and fast moving vehicles, the shared ROW are some of the important factors leading to unsafe roads in Indian cities. Policy makers have to contend with incomplete NCRB road safety data which does not capture vital details about causes of crashes, useful for remedial action. No single agency or department responsible for improving safety in a comprehensive, scientific and a systematic manner in a city.
How can city planners/municipalities leverage technology to address the various safety issues that currently plague Indian cities? Kadam The obvious answer to the problem is to have better infrastructure, maintain it properly and monitor it continuously:
Mascarenhas When it comes to road safety issues, not enough is being done. The bigger issue is that there is no infrastructure for pedestrians. And whatever infrastructure is present, is faulty and inadequate. In terms of recommendations, while they are good on paper, implementation is missing across the country. And within the urban areas, one needs more than recommendations. What also needs to be looked at is road designing and need to be looked at as complete entities.
How are cities coping with safety issues and what kind of infrastructure are they building? Baindur Road design and standards: Delhi has established Unified Traffic And Transportation Infrastructure (Planning & Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) to audit all road designs. But so far no other city has a similar auditing authority.
Automation in traffic information centre: Bangalore has initiated the Bangalore Traffic Improvement Project that uses the latest traffic management technology to address issues of traffic congestion, safety etc. It is aimed at complimenting efforts done by other agencies to upgrade road infrastructure, efficient mass transport system.
Reactive measures: Private colonies have built speed breakers in traffic accident hotspots in their neighborhoods. Traffic Police have done so as well at city scale. Enforcement for drunk driving, seat belt use and wearing of helmet on two-wheelers has become stringent in metropolitan cities but not so in smaller cities. In any case there has not been any concerted effort in addressing the road safety issue.
How can IT governance enable cities authorities to effectively and efficiently drive the technology infrastructure, which helps in road safety management? Kadam Since, singly or collectively, none of the systems seem to be adequate to handle the type of vehicle growth that we observe today. We need IT governance to offer a holistic solution to the problem because whereas IT can help only in monitoring the traffic, IT governance can help in influencing the first two parameters also, namely, the creation of infrastructure and the maintenance of infrastructure.
How can cities build and use big data infrastructure for better predictability? Baindur Public transport companies have much to gain from the use of big data. Therefore the state transport departments should support public transport companies in developing and using technologies for tracking vehicles, ticketing systems and bus performance monitoring.
Sen It's an interconnected world and data is flowing from every conceivable direction. Citizens are talking on social media, sensors are capturing information, past data is being digitised, and much more. Traffic and road authorities must look at creating infrastructure that captures and integrates data in its entirety and in near real time. It is important to maintain data quality and be able to develop a single version of truth. Good quality data lays a strong foundation for analytics.
How can analytics help cities to analyse and assess the effectiveness of various road safety initiatives? Arabolu Risk analysis using techniques such as Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) is a good way to understand and manage road safety. This technique is easy to use as well as gives not just the risk but gives a method to minimise the effects though design and not by gut feel or experience, which is the technique that is resorted to mostly.
How can analytics help cities to analyse and assess the effectiveness of various road safety initiatives? kolar There are tonnes of opportunities in this area. To name a few, recognising the useful end applications and monitoring systems given the large-scale sensor data availability, instrumenting the city with appropriate sensors, building big-data systems and analytics that can digest and act on this data. This will revolutionise the way citizen safety services are provided.
Our Experts:Avinash Kadam, Advisor, ISACA, an independent association that advocates for professionals involved in information security, assurance, risk management andgovernanceBinoy Mascarenhas, Manager - Urban Transport, EMBARQ India, a not-for-profit initiative of the World ResourcesInstitute (WRI)Deepak Baindur, Consultant – Practise, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlementsSudipta K Sen, Regional Director - South East Asia, Vice Chairman and MD, SAS Institute (India), business analytics and business intelligence software solution providerVenkataram Arabolu, Managing Director, British Standards Institution, a multinational business services provider involved in the writing of standards and standards-related services.Vinay Kolar, Researcher, IBM Research - India, leading software solution provider.