Cost-effective public transport would cut road accidents: Experts

Chennai: By 2030, India will be ranked fifth in the number of deaths due to road accidents, said experts at a seminar on urban transportation at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Chennai, on Friday.
Of the total accident fatalities, 63% was reported in India in 2016, according to World Bank data presented at the seminar. India was ranked ninth in road accidents in 2004. More than 1.5 lakh people died across the country and Chennai topped the city-wise accident chart in 2016 and 2017.
Experts said cost-effective public transportation system, pricing for road use including paid parking and promotion of non-motorised transportation are the ways to cut accidents and ease the urban transport scenario.
Speaking at the event, Madhav G Badami, associate professor at School of Urban Planning, McGill University in Canada, underscored the need for proper infrastructure for the safe commute of pedestrians and cyclists. "We are spending excess money for fancy pedestrian walks at some places, but the condition of most of the pedestrian walks in the city as well as throughout the country is in a very bad condition.

This is the gap between policy and reality," Badami added.
Chennai had recently come up with a pedestrian plaza in T Nagar as a part of the Smart City mission.

Though cycling tracks were set up, the project failed miserably at the implementation stage.
Badami also pitched for minimising the use of private vehicles by strengthening public transportation systems.

The session ended with a question and answer session.
Responding to a question on whether electric vehicles will reduce the burden, Badami said they have got nothing to do with this and indeed they are even more dangerous than conventional vehicles as their engines don't make noise and people might not recognise them on the roads.

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