New Delhi: With 37 fatalities every 100 road crashes in 2020 as per the figures of the National Crime Records Bureau, Delhi roads are a dangerous place to be on. The roads of New Delhi witnessed 1433 fatal accidents in 2019, which reduced to 1,163 in 2020 due to COVID lockdown. With trials of a special design for road safety inaugurated at Rajghat, one hopes that these numbers will fall.
Tactical Urbanism trials were inaugurated at Rajghat on the morning of 23rd November 2021 to improve road safety in Delhi. Tactical urbanism includes low-cost, temporary changes to the built environment, usually in cities, intended to improve local neighbourhoods and city gathering places. The project has started on a trial basis as of now.
The Delhi Government has collaborated with SaveLIFE Foundation to work on road safety on Delhi’s roads. During the trials, we will see road space being redistributed to ensure modal equity, road geometries being modified, traffic being channelized, vehicular speeds being reduced, and pedestrian and cyclist safety infrastructure being added. If these trials are successful, such trials will be launched at other 20 locations in Delhi.
Dr Sewa Ram, Coordinator of centre for road safety, School of planning and architecture explained that the main objective of these interventions is to provide equity to both the pedestrians and vehicles on the road. In order to achieve that, there is a design that is laid which includes increasing safe zones, reducing the area that the pedestrians have to cross, and adding signs and symbols that the pedestrians can use to reduce exposure to traffic.
While inaugurating the trials, Minister of Transport, Kailash Gahlot said, “Delhi roads belong to all, as much to pedestrians and cyclists as to a motorist and Delhi Government is committed to making Delhi Roads safer for all road users. Small interventions like these, which you and I can take up can effectively drive the behaviour change needed from commuters, and the general public, to enable safe road practices in cities.”
Piyush Tewari, CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation said, “At Rajghat, we have followed a 6-point intervention strategy to redesign the junction. All the elements focus on either reducing the speed or minimising conflict. Through these interventions, we will manage to reduce the Pedestrian Exposure Distance by about 50% and Pedestrian Exposure Time by 30%.”
These trials are being conducted as part of the Zero Fatality Corridor (ZFC) Project with the Transport Department of the Government of Delhi. SaveLIFE Foundation will be testing temporary urban design interventions to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users, starting this week.
Two years ago, a similar urbanism trial was also conducted on Bhalswa Chawk which yielded positive results and reduced the crash fatalities. Following the assessment of the trials and analysis of the impact created, SaveLIFE Foundation would propose recommendations to the authorities concerned for permanent improvements.
CitySpidey reached out to Ullas PR, a well-known Road Safety activist to understand the scope of such trials in ensuring road safety. He said, “From my personal experience I can say that most of the time such projects are merely an eyewash. They grab media headlines and eyeballs, to begin with, but then everything fizzles out after that. I hope this project does better. When it comes to Road Safety, the most important step to be taken is educating people. We can have interventions yet awareness among people is paramount.”
Ashish Kundra, Commissioner of Transport, Delhi said, “ The objective of these trials is to insert safety elements for all road users. Since 2016, Rajghat Intersection and Rajghat Bus Depot collectively witnessed 47 crashes,13 fatalities and 51 injuries. These trials are aimed at making the intersection safe for all in an inclusive, cheap and quick manner.”