Improving pedestrian safety

Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, October 02, 2009

Seat belts are effective only up to a speed of 60 km per hour. This fact was revealed in recent study on Traffic Calming Strategies to Improve Pedestrian Safety in India.

The necessity to slow down speed limits of vehicles to decrease the incidents of accidents was deliberated extensively at a seminar organized in the city.

The observers identified seven sites in the city. These included the crossing at RIICO Gate, Galta Gate, Phakiron ka Mohalla and Gopalpura.

The traffic there was also recorded on video to identify specific needs for pedestrians from safety point of view.

Smoothening traffic flow means slowing the speed of the vehicles on roads.

Citing the study of American Journal of Public Health, 2004, Professor Dinesh Mohan, from IIT, New Delhi said, “Those colonies with speed breakers at every 80 meters and odd have 50 percent less chances of pedestrians being hit.”

He said that the city traffic commuted at a fat pace compared the other cities. Study suggest that pedestrians cannot be killed if hit by a vehicle if the speed of the particular less than 30 km per hour.

Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), Jaipur and Department of Technology and Society, Lund University, Sweden, in partnership with Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi jointly organized the study.

Professor Christopher Hyden, from Lund University, Sweden said that calming traffic not just decreased the injury accidents, but also helped in controlling pollution and making the area more pleasant for the people.

“Speed Control is necessity, which could be done by road designing. Physical strategies include installation of a classical watts hump.”

“With them the average speed decreases from 47.7 km per hour to 36.6 km per hour, which corresponds to a 24 per cent reduction in speed and an expectant 42 per cent reduction in accidents.”

The roundabouts are another effective to decrease speed. Studies show that they are very good for vehicle safety as they help in reducing the accidents by almost 30 per cent to 50 per cent, Hyden said.

Referring to the observation collected from the sites, Hyden said, “The reason for the chaos is because road users lack safe road measures,” he said.

Jaipur, Traffic Superintendent of Police (SP), Vijendra Jhala, who also attended the seminar, specifically pointed to the big problem; of traffic in the walled city area.”

“We need separate lanes for specific vehicles. Subways are also needed. The other problems prevalent in the area include parking facilities, large number of non-motorized vehicles plying on the roads and the dharnas, that keep occurring have to be restricted,” he said.

Contradicting Transport Minister Brij Kishore Sharma said, “In my opinion, the speed of the two-wheelers, mini buses, auto rickshaws are creating more problem”.

Pointing issues such as religious processions and fairs, he said they were running throughout the year flouting all traffic restrictions.

Stressing for improving the traffic system of the state he said, any findings in the study could be sat together with the JDA to be implemented that promised improving the traffic situation.