Monday, December 10, 2007

Punjab Road Safety Analysis for the year 2006

Special Thanks to Mr. Harman Sidhu, President, ArriveSafe, Chandigarh Based NGO, working in the area of road safety for helping me to perform this analysis.

Faridkot and Firozpur districts are the best and Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala and Roopnagar districts are the worse districts in terms of overall Road safety and Management in the district
Statistical analysis was performed on the Punjab Statistical Abstract for the year 2006, Section XXI, Transport and Communications. Even single road crash and fatality is a loss of nation, family and society. These road safety analyses are performed to highlight the safety situation in Punjab and the comparison of road safety situation amongst various districts of Punjab, so that suitable countermeasures at individual/institutional/NGO and government level shall be taken up to save the precious life of people. Basically these are broad road safety analysis; further these analyses at district/tehsil/village level shall perform to enhance the overall road safety situation in the state. As the more number of high speed corridors are coming up in the state resulting increased road fatalities; in last year road crash fatalities increased by 8.26%, whilst vehicle population increased by 6.75%. Details are discussed below;

In the year 2006 total 4599 road crash occurred on 63102[1] km long road network in state which includes 1729 km of National Highways in 17 districts of the state. Registration of total 4030914 motor vehicles was reported in the year 2006 with an annual growth of 6.75% in comparison to last year growth of 7%.

Detailed statistical analysis was performed on the district wise road crash and road length data of Punjab state. Followings are the key indicators considered for the analysis purpose:-
Severity Index

Severity Index
It indicates that severity of the road crash in the district depends upon many factors, like average vehicle speed in the district, number of vehicles, percentage of National Highways or High Speed corridors in the state etc. Severity Index of the Punjab state was found to be 60.7%, which means 60.7% of the total road crashes occurred in the state are turned out to be Fatal.

Crash Ratio
It indicates the number of road crashes occurred per 10000 registered motor vehicles in the district. Crash ratio of the Punjab state was found to be 11.4 .Only 6 districts were found to be having crash ratio below state’s average value

Vehicle Density (Vehicle per Kilometer)
Vehicle density was calculated as mentioned above. It indicates the number of vehicles per kilometer of road length in the district. Vehicle density for the Punjab state in the year 2006 was 63.9 vehicles/per kilometer of road length.
Considering, the number of fatal accidents district wise then probably Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar are the most unsafe districts in terms of Road Safety, but detailed road safety diagnosis on all the districts based upon the severity index, crash ratio, total road length and vehicle density in the district, resulted in altogether different trends. Whereas Faridkot district shows an excellent road safety and management record followed by district Ferozpur. Fathegarh Sahib, Rupnagar and Patiala were found out to be worse Hit. Based upon the vehicle density and severity Index Amritsar district is on alarming stage, in 86.3% of the total road crashes people died.

6 districts are below the state’s average crash ratio value 11.4, Faridkot is lowest amongst all followed by Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ferozpur. Worse amongst all districts is Fathegarh Sahib and Rupnagar with highest crash ratio and lowest vehicle density.

Generally, as the vehicle density (vehicle per km) goes up, the average speed goes down and that reduces the road crashes. Delhi also followed the same trend, during Asian games (1981) in Delhi; new roads were constructed and widened which resulted in an increased road traffic speed causes highest number of road fatalities in the same year in comparison to previous years. At present in Delhi it road crash fatalities has started going down because of the more number of the vehicles on road and this causing reduction in average speed. Last year total road fatalities in Delhi were reported below 2000.

Coming to Punjab State, reversal is happening in Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar District. Crash ratio of Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar districts is 38.5 and 36.3 respectively; this simply reflects the poor traffic management system, deteriorated road condition and minimum speed control by the local administration and district traffic police. However it is important to note that Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar districts have 0.8% and 2.8% of National Highways in their total road length, still causing more fatal road crashes in comparison to Ferozpur and Faridkot district which has 5.1% and 3.8% of National Highways Length in their total road length. Interestingly Ferozpur and Faridkot has got lowest crash ratio in the state. On all India basis 70% of the total road crashes occurs only on National Highways and length of National Highways is 2% of the total road length of India. Ferozpur and Faridkot districts having maximum road length of National Highways shows significant low crash ratio, which is a good indication of overall Traffic Management and Safety in the district.

If we take number of fatal accidents per 1000 km of the road length in the districts then Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib and Rupnagar falls into same category. These districts were having 50% high fatalities rate per 1000 km of the road length in comparison to the state’s average which is 44.3.

Talking about Amritsar alone, despite of this fact that crash ratio is 5.5 but Severity Index is 86.3%, which means high average speed in the district, more vulnerable victims like cyclist or pedestrians and more heavy vehicles involved in the road crashes turning 86.3% of all the road crashes into fatal. This needs immediate attention from the authorities.
District Rupnagar and Fathegarh sahib are on high alert followed by Patiala, Mansa, Moga, Muktsar and Nawanshahar districts. Government and local administration should take immediate steps to improve the road safety and management scenario in these districts to save the valuable lives of road users.
State’s own online road crash database management system, where scientifically collected traffic and road crash data at village/block/tehsil/road/district wise can be update regularly by various concern agencies. This will help to access the overall road safety conditions in the state.
As per Ministry of Road Surface and Transportation, government of India, Punjab government shall also ensure the implementation of Road safety audits on all upcoming and existing roads in the state. Upcoming BOT roads shall be taken on priority to check overall road safety conditions, specifically in view of heterogeneous nature of traffic in the state like slow and fast moving traffic on the same road.
Special focus by the government on the pre-crash treatments like road safety audits, safety awareness amongst road users, drivers training along with focusing specifically on Post crash conditions like providing Ambulances and Cranes and First Aid. Pre-crash treatments.
Strong enforcement to control the speed preferably by installing traffic calming devices specially in the districts where severity index is very high like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Gurdaspur and Muktsar.
Special and strong policies to control land use and parking pattern in the state to discourage the use of more motorised vehicles in the state.

[1] Maintained by P.W.D. (B&R), Punjab, Chief Conservator of Forest, Punjab Commander Works Engineer, Patiala, Punjab State Electricity Board, Central Public works department, Madhopur division and local bodies Govt., Punjab. it does not include the length of small rural roads under different agencies like Panchayat, Irrigation department and private people
Statistical Abstract of Punjab, Section XXI, TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS, Page 574

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