International Road Assessment Programme, a UK based organisation that assists governments make roads safer world over, will engage central and state road transport ministries and highway authorities to assess Indian roads on the basis of its risk profile. The India chapter of the organisation (IndiaRAP) has been hosted by the Asian Institute of Transport Development (AITD), a not-for-profit organization devoted to capacity building, non-partisan research and regional cooperation in the infrastructure sector with a special focus on transport, trade and logistics.
Announcing the establishment of IndiaRAP today in Delhi, Rob McInerney, chief executive officer, IRAP said the organisation will bring together "government, investment, research and NGO partners from across the country" to make Indian roads safer. FedEx Express, the world's largest express transportation company and a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. is supporting the venture.
"As India invests in large-scale road upgrades across the country, maximizing the safety of this investment will deliver strong transport, health and economic benefits", McInerney said.
The programme, the framework of which will be finalised through stakeholder discussions over the next 12 months, will be led by local experts, using local research and resources. IRAI's experience in working with partners in more than 80 countries will help.
IndiaRAP will provide policy, performance tracking and investment tools for governments to measure and manage road safety infrastructure and optimize investments across the country. The IndiaRAP team will also build local capacity and expertise by connecting Indian road safety experts with colleagues from around the world.
The programme will be guided by the International Road Assessment Programme's evidence-based Star Rating methodology and investment planning tools which provide a simple and objective measure of the level of safety which is 'built-in' to the road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Five-star roads are the safest while one-star roads are the least safe.
"IndiaRAP will seek to eliminate one- and two-star unsafe roads and to become a leader in promoting the design and construction of brand new five-star safe and smart motorways in the country," added McInerney.
"'Safety above all' is a core FedEx belief and, we are committed towards sharing our safety expertise and global reach to make our roads safer. As one of India's leading transportation companies, we are proud to support the launch of IndiaRAP," said Hemant Pimplikar, managing director of Sales for FedEx Express in India. "FedEx is also a key supporter of the UN Road Safety Collaboration and the Global Alliance of Non-governmental Organizations advocating for road safety and road accident victims."
The establishment of IndiaRAP builds on a series of road assessment projects that have been completed since 2010 in collaboration with various organisations including global institutions, government agencies, public works departments, research institutes, local engineering firms and automobile associations to assess the safety of Indian Roads. To date, International Road Assessment Programme teams have undertaken star rating assessments on more than 10,000 km of roads, across several states in India.
"We are excited to host the programme and as an independent, not-for-profit organization focused on capacity building, research and regional cooperation in the infrastructure sector, we are well placed to lead the partnerships needed to make roads safer," said K L Thapar, AITD chairman. "IndiaRAP will play an important role in mobilizing the scale and results needed to meet national road safety targets. With project level activity across several states, the national programme will bring together all the partners with a single focus on improving the safety of road infrastructure across India."