UL and Ashoka Launch Safer Roads, Safer India

 

Every year, road accidents create an estimated 2 percent loss in GDP by affecting workforce members and placing added pressure on the health care system. According to the World Health Organisation, there are 1.24 million road traffic deaths worldwide with 130,000 occurring in India, the country with the worst road traffic accident rate worldwide. 

This is why UL, the premier global independent safety science company, and Ashoka, a global network of change makers, have launched Safer Roads, Safer India: Game Changing Innovations that Save Lives to mobilise public opinion and crowd source solutions that will reduce fatalities caused by road accidents. This pilot project will focus on Bangalore’s citizenry including the general public, social innovators, media partners, policymakers and business leaders.

Born out of the belief that everyone can be a change maker, this initiative will mobilise people and move policy towards ensuring better roads and watertight enforcement of safety rules. It invites any Bangalorean who is keen to make the city’s roads safer to participate.

UL and Ashoka will jointly source and incubate the most innovative ideas, foster active citizenship and enable collaboration with civic authorities to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads. As a first step towards realising this goal, UL and Ashoka are launching a competition that invites participation and ideas to help reduce fatalities. The deadline to enter the competition is June 4, 2014.

Six solutions will be picked for incubation and implementation, and the winners  will be awarded prizes of INR 300,000 each. The jury will be leading social entrepreneurs that work in diverse fields such as human rights, education, and health.

Details of the competition can be found at http://www.changemakers.com/saferoads. UL and Ashoka are seeking innovative solutions that are focused on, but not limited to, one or more of the following areas:

•        Active Citizenship (e.g., awareness campaigns; empowering citizens to create change)

•        Technology (e.g., safe and affordable vehicles; traffic and safety data tracking)

•        Governance (e.g., laws and regulations; protecting bystanders; improving law enforcement) 

•        Infrastructure (e.g., safer road design and planning; improving emergency response)

One special focus prize will be chosen by the residents of Bangalore via SMS public voting. Five other winners will be selected by an expert panel of judges. All competition entrants are invited to join the India road safety network that will connect key players who are working to transform India’s roads. 

“Road accidents not only cause a tragic loss of life, but have a negative effect on economy as well,” said R. A. Venkitachalam, UL’s vice president for public safety. “Indians tend to see accidents as a ‘part of life’ in India – a mindset that needs to change.”

“We, as a country, need to bring road safety into mainstream discussion and forums, and collectively work towards safer roads. UL and Ashoka are led by this singular objective. We want to make this effort inclusive – citizens, law enforcement, media, businesses, government and NGOs – and pledge to bring down the number of fatalities on Indian roads.”

“The challenge aims to support system-changing, disruptive, creative ideas to ignite change for achieving safer roads in India,” said Vishnu Swaminathan, director of Ashoka India. “We are excited that this partnership leverages the Ashoka community of social entrepreneurs, experts, and investors to bring together the best ideas for large scale social transformation and catalyze this critical movement.”

Additional information about how to enter the competition, plus guidelines and assessment criteria, can be found at www.changemakers.com/saferoads