In its effort to improve the quality of roads, the state-owned builder of expressways under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to undertake performance assessment and ranking of highways in the country. The road assessment audit and national highways rankings are aimed to take corrective action, wherever needed, to improve the quality and provide a higher level of service to users.
The assessment parameters are based on different international practices and studies for benchmarking highway performances in the Indian context. The criteria for the assessment have been broadly categorised in three main heads: Highway Efficiency (45%), Highway Safety (35%) and User Services (20%). On the basis of the outcome of the assessment, the authority will undertake a comprehensive analysis and decide on the level of intervention required to enhance the overall service quality.
Additionally, important parameters like operating speed, access control, time spent at the toll plaza, road signages, road markings, accident rate, incident response time, crash barriers, illumination, availability of advanced traffic management system (ATMS), the functionality of structures, provision for grade-separated intersections, cleanliness, plantation, wayside amenities and customer satisfaction will also be considered while conducting the assessment.
The score obtained by each corridor under the identified parameters will provide feedback and corrective recourse for higher standards of operation, better safety and user experience to improve existing highways. This will also help in identifying and filling gaps of design, standards, practices, guidelines and contract agreements for other NHAI projects.
The ranking of the corridors will be dynamic and the concessionaire, contractor or operator will get the opportunity to improve upon their ranking by enhancing services on that corridor. Apart from the overall ranking of all the corridors, separate ranking for build-operate-transfer (BOT), hybrid annuity model (HAM) and engineering procurement construction (EPC) projects will also be done. This process of ranking will bring out operational efficiency and ensure high-quality maintenance of roads.