Positive Strokes

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Positive Strokes: Positive Strokes - Encouraging Good Road Behavior

Bangalore, IndiaBangalore, India
Year Founded:
2013
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Traffic rules and enforcement do not prevent blatant traffic violations. Youngsters and new drivers quickly pick up and imitate existing road behavior. Positive Strokes is a proactive, community-oriented intervention aiming to flip the balance of unsafe to safe drivers by rewarding good drivers.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

we could make the majority of road users behave responsibly and understand that their vehicles are capable of untold calamity
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Of Bangalore's 1 crore (10 million) population, 62% is between 19 and 34 years of age. Despite official traffic rules that must be studied in order to obtain a license to drive, the behavior of traffic on the road is invariably, in blatant violation of the rules. Regardless of what is learnt, youngsters and new drivers quickly pick up and imitate existing road behavior. This perpetuates illegal and unsafe driving practices.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

This project proposes to identify and positively reinforce good road use, so that we may alter predominant road behavior to be rule abiding and safe. This will also set the stage for introducing new rules with a reasonable expectation that rules will be followed. This project is based on the fact that rewarding good behavior will inspire and motivate greater good behavior. Bangalore is home to a high tech Traffic Monitoring Centre. Using this youth volunteers will be allowed to watch other drivers' behavior and commend good behaviors. This fosters and sense of ownership of the problem and equips the youth volunteers with a personal sense of right and wrong behavior on the road aiding the behavior change that we hope to encourage.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The project will directly/indirectly reach three specific groups of individuals: (1) Youth volunteers who watch other drivers' behavior. One of our volunteers considered himself to be good driver but didn't usually notice the zebra crossing. Another said that he didn't usually use an indicator. They both said that they would pay more attention to these behaviors in future. Watching others made them more aware of these issues. (2) People getting commended for good behavior will be given a sticker to place on their vehicles, will be reminded each time of their good behavior and will hold themselves to a higher standard. (3) Others who see the sticker or hear about the program will be influenced to earn a commendation for themselves.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The program was launched on April 5, 2014. It is divided into 4 campaigns - the first of these ended on April 26, 2014. In the 1st campaign 35 volunteers captured around 327 vehicles demonstrating close to 450 good behaviors. About 200 vehicles are violation-free for 6 months. Please see Impact Reports 1 & 2 under the Update tab in this project entry, for information on good behaviors recorded and the publicity and awareness generated by the first campaign. During the Junction Event on April 26, 2014, we gave away on-the-spot commendations to 100 vehicles and rule-abiding pedestrians. We expect to scale up this to 500 to 700 commendations in the 2nd campaign starting on July 19, 2014, and gradually increase this number further in the 3rd and 4th campaigns. We expect more people to become aware that they can individually be responsible for a behavior change among road users.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The aim is to influence behavior change using experiential learning. Working alongside the police gives a new perspective & ownership of issues. These spread strategies will be employed: (1) Get insurance companies on board to provide good driver discounts, based on commendations received from the Positive Strokes program (2) Have companies that own large vehicle fleets, cab companies and contract cab agencies employ Positive Strokes within their programs (3) Work on Positive Strokes with public transportation (4) A forum for working on ideas and strategies for long term development.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The plan is to run this as a joint initiative for one or two years and then institutionalize this within the Bangalore Traffic Police organization. Right now, the project has received an annual sponsorship from Fastrack, a division of Titan. In the meantime, we would like to develop a task force or forum that will be involved in strategic planning, infrastructure and policy recommendations in the field of road safety.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are many road safety initiatives today such as educating school children, distributing educational material, demonstrations etc. This project is different in these ways: (1) Youth and new drivers will be engaged in identifying good road behavior. This exercise will allow them to observe driving behaviors from outside the road situation inculcating a sense of ownership in them. (2) This will be a sustained effort to change road use behavior. A prominently displayed reward on the vehicle will serve as a reminder to the driver and serve as a positive influence on other road users.
Team

Founding Story

After living and working in the US for over 16 years, when I returned to Bangalore, I found myself shocked at the culture on the road. What's worse, I slowly found myself picking up some behaviors I wouldn't have approved of earlier. I had heard the story of positive-tickets, a system used by the Vancouver police force to reduce juvenile crime. Today, 62% of Bangalore's population is youth aged 19-32 - these are young/new drivers who are highly influenced by popular road culture. They are also the group that most respond to positive reinforcement. The idea of using positive reinforcement to change road behavior was born. It was developed by meeting and talking to various subject experts in the community, police officers etc.

Team

Dr. Manjunath Sadashiva: Director, CMCA. Track record of working in Civil Society Organizations & initiatives, Participatory Governance. Mrs. Vrunda Bhaskar: Managing Trustee, CMCA - Resource Mobilization, track record in execution of public events specifically with Traffic Police dept. Mr. B. Dayananda, IPS: Addl. Commissioner of Bangalore Traffic Police. Advisor Provides access to tech infrastructure at The TMC, resources and support.
About You
About You
First Name

Anusha

Last Name

Jaishankar

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

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Project
Organization Country

, KA, Bangalore

Country where this project is creating social impact

, KA, Bangalore

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Businesses.

Supplemental
Partnerships

CMCA: This idea is currently being incubated by CMCA, an NGO that works with children and youth.
Bangalore Traffic Police: The idea has reached start-up stage as an initiative of CMCA and the Bangalore Traffic Police.
Fastrack: The annual sponsor for this program is Fastrack, a division of Titan.

How does your idea encourage citizens to participate in making roads safer?

Road Safety (or the lack of it) is every road user's problem. However, for most people standing out in traffic to try to affect change is out of the question.
This program is designed so that youth can watch traffic from the safety and comfort of an indoor high tech traffic monitoring system and get a sense of participation and ownership.

Beneficiaries are youth who watch other road users' behavior and road users who receive rewards.

Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

1. Change in policies regarding the use of the Traffic Management Centre - will negotiate continued use of the TMC facility or else scale up on on-road junction events.
2. Availability of volunteers - if volunteers are not available, will sponsor/employ dedicated staff at the TMC to monitor good road behavior.
3. Government changes causing a reshuffling of priorities - will maintain records to show positive impact that the program is having.

Additional Information

Positive Strokes is based on the belief that a proactive pat-on-the-back is better than a slap-on-the-wrist after the fact.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following challenges?

Active citizenship: Projects that work to promote active engagement with road safety from individual citizens, pedestrians, communities, and social networks, or that use education as a tool to raise awareness and promote engagement, Technology: Projects that leverage technology to promote road safety.

Would you like your project to be considered for the Bangalore People’s Choice Prize?

Yes

If yes, how is your project applicable to the Bangalore context?

Bangalore has a fully functional Traffic Management Centre which is currently used to identify violators. As of today in a 12 hour period each day, about 1900 to 2000 violations are captured through the Traffic Management Centre alone. In addition, many more violations are captured through Blackberry smart phones, interceptors and other high-tech means. All these violations are recorded in a central violations database.

About 80-90% of these violating vehicles have recorded addresses in the RTO (Regional Transportation Office, the vehicle and driver licensing authority in India) database.

The RTO database together with the Violations database make the system a formidable instrument in the implementation of Positive Strokes.

Bangalore has a population of over 100 lakh residents, 89% of which is educated. Along with enforcement, a gentle nudge in the right direction could provide the impetus required to change the predominant road behavior and make way for a more courteous, responsible and rule abiding culture on the roads.

Comments

Sachin Malhan's picture

Love the project. It's great that it takes a different approach to dealing with road behavior I.e. Reinforcing what is good. I've seen it being done elsewhere so it's not absolute new but it's new and innovative in the indian context and that's key. Couple of thoughts - one, there are so many ways you can ultimately make it sustainable by involving companies who want to associate these brands with good behavior; and two, look for partnerships to access volunteers, get some mobile app support around capturing good behaviour vehicles etc. there are good partners amongst other participants in this competition.

In a city like Bangalore, everything moves on the road, including water to garbage. There is eventually a lot of stress on the roads and road users.
This program gives an opportunity to groom good road usage. As a participant in the first edition, I am committed to provide support for subsequent programs of this sort.

Anusha Jaishankar's picture

Thank you Sachin! You're right, this project was inspired by the work done in reducing crime rates among youth by the Vancouver Police. Positive reinforcement is becoming quite popular in other areas as well!

In addition to the sustainability idea you mentioned, we are also considering the following two:
1. To make this part of the work that the BTP staff do at the TMC - along with capturing violations, also capture and reward good behavior

2. Build up a database of good behaviors and rope in Insurance companies to provide good driver discounts/bonuses to vehicles that consistently demonstrate good behavior

I've read some other entries that sound like good potential partnerships too!

The second campaign of positive strokes just launched last Saturday. We logged a much bigger turn out this time than the last. The campaign runs for 2 weeks and we are on track to capture many more good behaviors, engage more volunteers and hopefully grow our impact.

RA Venkichatalam's picture

Can we be looking at Positive F/B for Police Men as an addition ? How do we measure impact ?

I feel proud to be a volunteer and part of this program. On our daily life, we could see a lots and lots of offenders and willful violators on road. We could do just nothing, but to ignore them or think ourselves not to be the one at least.

However, this program looks at them from the other perspective by commending the ones following the regulations and be an example. This could certainly turn at least a bit from the other lot and make a huge difference in the society in a course of time. Let's be and spread positive waves around us!

Thanx - Subbu.

Anusha Jaishankar's picture

Dear Mr. Venkitachalam,

About Positive F/b for the police:
The NGO that Positive Strokes is being incubated at, conducts a Traffic Police Day when students meet their local traffic police and honor and thank them. This is an annual event for the past 5 years.

Last month, BPAC - the Bangalore Political Action Committee’ also took nominations from the citizens of Bangalore for traffic police who do great work and rewarded them

Impact measurement for Positive Strokes is being done in the following 3 ways:

1. Reach:
a. Direct reach = number of volunteer participants + number of people who receive rewards
b. Indirect reach = (Number of volunteers * 5)+ (Number of rewardees * 10)

2. Number and types of good behaviors captured by volunteers at the TMC

3. Coverage in the media – publicity about the initiative is critical as it feeds back into the number of people we reach through the initiative

Another measure we are considering is to scrutinize rewardees’ violation record at regular intervals to check if they have remained violation free.

Sanu Mathew's picture

An amazing idea . Appreciation for good road behaviour and what shd be the strategy for addresing the wrong behaviour. It should also be included to make the campaign more strong and result oriented . Good luck

#Positive Strokes.very innovative and thought provoking idea. keep it up. all the best.

Anusha Jaishankar's picture

Dear Sanu - Thank you for your message.

The Bangalore Traffic Police captures about 2000-2500 violations a day from the Traffic Management Centre and in fact, from the TMC, it is quite easy to capture several violations. Many of our volunteers have been tempted to capture violations when they are looking for commendations on the junction camera feed!

We are poised to start our second Positive Strokes campaign in a couple of weeks. During this campaign, we plan to focus on seatbelt usage. First we will increase awareness of the seatbelt requirement for both the driver and front seat passenger in the days ahead of the event using local radio and other media, then we will have our volunteers commend seat belt usage and then we have discussed with the BTP to step up the enforcement of this same rule. This is the strategy we're exploring for our second campaign. We expect that the information-commendation-enforcement cycle together with the media and traffic police to help with this particular behavior change.

Thanks again - we do hope that we are able to start some ripples.

An interesting idea indeed. As a next step there should be an effort to drive scalability as the problem is too huge to be resolved via the TMC. In my mind the biggest challenge on the roads today is cell phone, especially those stuck inside the helmet of a two wheeler driver. You would also observe that very often drivers behind four wheels speak on the phone while driving slowly on the right lane, thereby avoiding traffic police attempts to flag them down. This leads or the second problem.

That of of moving vehicles on the right lanes that leads or forced lane changing to overtake from the left.

It may be interesting if we start using big data to identify violations and then offer sops like lower insurance premiums in collaboration with insurance companies.

I do sincerely hope that your movement receives the attention it requires and becomes a game changer in traffic management. Wishing you all the very best and always assuring you of my support as a safe driver who hasn't had a single brush with the law even in the smallest form.

Anusha Jaishankar's picture

Thank you Raj! Yes, the Bangalore Traffic Police's databases contain a wealth of information that can be put to good use.

The insurance company collaboration is also an angle we are developing.

Lastly, your impeccable driving record is commendable. I couldn't claim that for myself :P