The Times of India, October 07, 2009

Pedestrian safety has been a concern for long with rising number of fatalities all over the country. Theres no better example than Bangalore which records 60% of fatalities involving pedestrians in road accidents. This issue came to the fore at a seminar on the project Traffic calming strategies to improve pedestrian safety in India , held at IISc on Tuesday. The pilot project was taken at Jaipur by CUTS International and the Department of Technology and Society (DTS), Lund University , Sweden. The project was supported by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and IIT Delhi.

What is Traffic Calming

Dr Christer Hyden from Lund University , Sweden said: Traffic calming has the same definition all over the world, which is to reduce vehicle speeds to below 50 kmh. This is in order to reduce injury, accidents , pollution and make the area more pleasant for people.

Dr Hyden along with CUTS had initiated the project in Jaipur in November 2007. They selected 24 accident-prone sites, and on each site, road-user behaviour was captured with a video recorder. Based on the recordings, they arrived at a perspective called conflict technique . The team observed that increased car and motorcycle speed caused conflicts or accidents, and the solution is to calm vehicle movement.

Traffic Calming includes several accident- and speedreducing measures such as raised area for pedestrians, and marked zebra crossing along with scientific humps and rumbler stripes. According to Dr Hyden, the problems and solutions identified in the Jaipur project are general enough to be replicated elsewhere in India.

KSRTC MD Gaurav Gupta said pedestrian-friendly measures should be included as a long-term policy. BMTC MD Syed Zameer Pasha was also vocal about the will to facilitate such initiatives. He said: We have every facility today in every aspect. But what is lacking is the commitment from all stakeholders like the several civic agencies involved.