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IITM Researchers Developing Data-Driven Strategies To Enhance Road Safety

 
IITM Researchers
Chennai (The Hawk): Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers are developing data-driven strategies to enhance road Safety in Tamil Nadu. Towards this, a one-day workshop on developing an action plan was organized today (12) by Center of Excellence for Human Factors and Safety Science @ RBG Labs, IIT Madras, in coordination with the National Health Mission.
Various stakeholders involved in road safety include the Police, Health, Transport, Road owning agencies, Education, Rural Development, and Local Self Government, among others, participated in the workshop held at IIT Madras Research Park.
The outcomes of this workshop will be used to help a focused action plan and be used as a policy advisory to help reduce road accidents and fatalities in Tamil Nadu.
Conveying his message for the workshop, Thiru Ma. Subramanian, Minister for Health, Medical Education and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “This workshop is the first of many such design-thinking based strategizing workshops for road safety. This coordinated knowledge sharing session among all the road safety stakeholders in Tamil Nadu will be a pathway to continuously evolve successful road safety policies in the State.”
The key outcomes envisaged from this program include:
Ø  Clear long term policies and strategies for moving towards an ‘accident-free Tamil Nadu’
Ø  Short term strategies to improve road safety and minimize road traffic accidents during the next 3 months (November 2021 to January 2022)
Ø  Action Points and Key Performance Indicators for each of the Stakeholder Departments, including Health, Police, Road owning agencies, Transport, Education and Local Bodies.
Ø  Modalities for sharing and utilizing the data available with Stakeholder departments for collective action in ensuring road safety. For example, Grid Analysis data available with Health Departments shall be used for enforcement, preventive action awareness creation, among others, by the stakeholder departments concerned.
Elaborating on this engagement, Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Faculty In-Charge, Center of Excellence for Human Factors and Safety Science @ RBG Labs, IIT Madras, who is coordinating this workshop, said, “Avoiding accidents and fatalities in accidents is an essential requirement to be a developed nation. Roads are shared assets and the safety on them is a collective responsibility of all the stakeholders.”
Further, Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian said, “We have been advocating a data-driven systems approach to road safety through our Transportation Safety Framework (TSF) to have a holistic improvement. While TN has been performing well on reducing the fatalities from road accidents, in 2021, after the lockdown there has been a steady increase in fatality. Therefore, it is quintessential to develop a good strategy based on data to address this on a priority basis. It is, therefore, necessary to have a design thinking approach to solve the problem by not just identifying the issues but implementing changes that are sustainable in the local conditions.”
In 2020, Tamil Nadu became the first State in India and globally, the only administered territory to have achieved a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of reducing deaths due to road accidents by 50 per cent. However, there has been a steady increase in the number of road fatalities in 2021.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Ravindra Gettu, Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, said, “The Action plan that has been drawn up is expected to make a significant impact on fatalities and road safety in general, especially due to the involvement of all stakeholders concerned through this design thinking approach.”
To curb the seasonal peak traffic crashes in the fourth quarter of 2021, a strategic team of TN stakeholders involved in road safety were identified to prepare a strategic short-term and long-term action plan for improving road safety in the State.
The RBG Labs at IIT Madras conducts Research on four major streams under Innovation and Lean Operations, Medical Devices and Implants, Public Policy Initiatives and Human Factors in Transportation. The primary focus was on working on various problems of disruptive innovations in product and process developments. Members are actively involved in working with police and health departments of multiple States to develop innovative applications, products and process to improve the transportation safety systems of the State.