Mumbai- Pune Expressway: Almost zero contribution of infrastructural factors in fatal accidents, says SLF

Beginning the project in February, it began with an infrastructure survey to find out if the expressway’s design was capable of cushioning the impact of an accident.

| Mumbai | Published: February 22, 2017 2:55:42 am

After a year of working with the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to make the Mumbai-Pune Expressway a Zero Fatality Corridor, NGO SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) has claimed that since August last year, there had been almost zero contribution of infrastructural factors to fatal accidents on the expressway. All fatal accidents on the highways can be attributed to three factors — human, vehicular and infrastructural.

According to studies conducted by the road safety NGO, 30 per cent of the accidents are caused due to infrastructural factors, another 30-35 per cent by human errors and the rest due to vehicular issues. A thorough survey of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway revealed that there are 15 infrastructure risk factors spread over 2,150 spots contributing to over 30 per cent of all fatal accidents.

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“There were close to 2,000 faulty spots on the highway that resulted in fatal accidents. We have managed to work in over 1,000 spots and 11 factors and have observed that where the infrastructure factor contributed to accidents they have been brought down to near zero. Eliminating the infrastructure factor in causing fatalities on the expressway is our greatest achievement in the past year,” says Saji Cherian, Director (Operations), SaveLIFE Foundation. As part of the tripartite agreement, SaveLIFE provides the plans, MSRDC executes them, while Mahindra & Mahindra funds the project. Their plan is to make Mumbai-Pune Expressway a ‘zero fatality corridor’ by 2020.

“Through the Zero Fatality Corridor project, we aim to convert the Mumbai-Pune Expressway into a model road safety corridor for the nation. We have made a good start to the project and hope to continue the work towards the goal of zero fatalities by 2020,” said Vijay Nair, CSR Head, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (Auto Farm Sector).

For the first year, they focused mainly on road engineering and emergency care.

Beginning the project in February, it began with an infrastructure survey to find out if the expressway’s design was capable of cushioning the impact of an accident. The interventions included installing Metal Beam Crash Barriers, Wire Rope Safety Barriers, improving road signage and removing visual blockages like flower pots from the carriageway.

Apart from this, the NGO also worked to strengthen the emergency care on the expressway. As a result, five 108 ambulances are now stationed on the expressway to provide timely response to any untoward incident. With a campaign called ‘Safety below Eighty’, they raised awareness about overspeeding on the expressway. For this year, they have aimed to complete work on all the infrastructure risk factors, continue to improve emergency response and bolster the enforcement efforts of the Maharashtra Highway Police. They will also focus on the human factors of causing accidents like speeding, improper lane changing, use of indicators, fatigue, among others.

Satisfied with the effectiveness of the project, MSRDC feels it is a model that can be implemented on other highways as well. “Most of the suggestions have been implemented and since then not just accidents but even landslides have not occurred on the route. It has worked very well for the expressway,” says Kiran Kurundkar, Joint Managing Director, MSRDC.

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