Every year, more than 1.2 million people die in road accidents globally, with 130,000 of those deaths occurring in India, which has the worst road traffic accident rate worldwide. The result is an estimated 2 percent loss in GDP in India that not only affects workforce members, but places added pressure on the health care system.
This is why UL, the premier global independent safety science company, and Ashoka, a global network of change makers, launched the Safer Roads, Safer India: Game Changing Innovations that Save Lives challenge in March to mobilise public opinion and crowd source solutions that will reduce fatalities caused by road accidents.
These entries were evaluated per the Ashoka Changemakers criteria -- innovation, social impact, and operational sustainability -- as the best competition entries submitted at or before the March 30, 2014 early entry deadline.
These two submissions stood out from the rest for their innovative approaches to advancing road safety in India. Each will be awarded INR 60,000 to move their work forward!
Raahgiri Day in Gurgaon, India
In Gurgaon, an equal proportion of residents travel by motorized modes, formal and informal public transport, cycling, and walking, but almost all the infrastructure is designed for cars. Raahgiri is an attempt to reclaim what belongs to people by closing certain stretches of roads to automobiles and opening them to the public for four to five hours every Sunday. This approach creates a healthy, sustainable, and vibrant city experience, demonstrating that people in cities such as Gurgaon are willing to cycle or walk, provided they are given safe and secure infrastructure.
Road Accident Sampling System - India (RASSI) in Pune, India
Combatting India’s staggering record of traffic fatalities relies on having quality, in-depth and scientific data available for analysis. Such data is oftentimes unavailable due to lack of accident investigation, poor data collection, and inadequate reporting capabilities in the government. To begin solving the problem, the RASSI consortium launched an on-site crash investigation and accident data collection program. The program, which functions in cooperation with the police and ambulance agencies, helps governments, industry, consumer groups and citizens make more informed and data-driven decisions to improve road safety in India
The Safer Roads, Safer India challenge will accept entries up until the close of the entry period on June 6, 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.
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Photo credit: "Big city street with thousands of people, bikes and the buses on January 18, 2013 in Kolkata, India. Kolkata has a density of 814.80 vehicles per km road length." - via Shutterstock.