News Roads

PWC, Infra News, ET Infra


<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

NEW DELHI: With the aim of reducing fatalities on roads, global consultancy firm PWC in its report has said that the designing of national highways needs regulatory changes for improving the quality of infrastructure design.

“The highway design practice needs to undergo a regulatory change wherein highway engineers ought to be licensed to practice and be held liable for designs that do not follow the prescribed norms. Mandating licensing will help in ensuring higher standards of professionalism, expertise, ethics and accountability while safeguarding the integrity of the highway network,” PWC report said.

Technological advances in the field of highway designing are yet to reach Indian shores where highway design practices are still rooted in paper-based plans.

A transformative leap is necessary to embrace 3D corridor design as well as simulation models that involve creating digital representations of highway corridors. Engineers can use 3D models to simulate access ramps, interchanges and intersections to optimize the design and construction of a highway and identify potential conflict points, the report said.

The proposed measures will not only contribute to a more efficient transportation infrastructure, they may also unlock social and economic benefits for the nation.

For starters, the design template for the highways must be overhauled to ensure smoother transitions and to minimize intersecting conflicts.

The number of conflict points is a crucial aspect to consider at a typical intersection.

The current design template for service roads often results in a higher number of conflict points, exacerbating congestion and increasing the possibility of road crashes. By reassessing the design and implementing measures such as dedicated turning lanes, signalized intersections, and roundabouts, road-owning agencies can effectively reduce the number of conflict points and enhance safety at junctions along the national highways. Embracing these changes will contribute to the development of a modern and well-functioning transportation network that serves the needs of India’s growing population and fosters the country’s economic growth.

The report added, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) acknowledges that given the high number of fatalities and crashes, it is necessary to bring about systemic changes in road safety on national highways by all roadowning agencies.

As observed earlier, the deficiencies in the design of our highways admittedly pose safety risks for drivers and increase traffic disruptions. Therefore, MoRTH has formulated a multipronged strategy to address the issue of road safety based on engineering, enforcement and emergency care and learning from global best practices.

The ministry has accorded high priority for identification and rectification of blackspots (crash prone spots) on national highways. About 5,352 blackspots have been identified on the national highways based on road crash and fatality data from 2015–2018 in 30 states/UTs.

The ministry has said that the blackspots are being rectified using short-term measures such as cautionary road signs and markings, rumble strips, and solar blinkers. For long term rectification, measures such as flyover, underpasses, footbridges, and service roads are being provided wherever required.

Under the enforcement and emergency care, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 has been amended by The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 to bring several reforms, including harsher penalties for those who do not adhere to the rules.

Several countries have implemented innovative solutions to enhance safety on their respective highways.

Countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Germany share some common characteristics with respect to their highway agencies. In each of these countries, a national agency is responsible for developing and maintaining the national motorway system. Each government has given these agencies a safety mandate, with target levels ranging from no fatalities to a 40% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries.

This focus on safety sets the stage for most actions regarding roadway geometric design and project development.

  • Published On Sep 18, 2023 at 01:22 PM IST

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