Ah, India, where roads are not a way to get from here to there. Roads are here and there. Roads are slept on, walked on, spat on in India. Roads are used to store and winnow the rice crop, to dry acres of red chillies, to milk the family cow. Roads serve as temporary shops. Not only is every type of transportation found on every road, but every kind of living thing. Goats and ducks are shepherded in front of screeching buses. Elephants stop dutifully at the red lights and water buffalo meander aimlessly and fearlessly.
Indeed, guidelines exist, but like guarded secrets, they are known only by the initiated. To create awareness, Maruti Suzuki, in collaboration with the Times Network introduced a comprehensive India Road Safety Index in 2017 rating 10 cities across India on key parameters like motor laws, traffic control, people safety, pedestrian rights, lighting & maintenance, heavy vehicle management, cleanliness, etc. The study threw up some surprising findings.
Raipur is famous for more than just being the rice bowl of India! One of India’s smaller cities, it ranks surprisingly high in terms of adequacy of pedestrian provisions, subways and over-bridges and pedestrian initiatives such as no-car zones and street events.
Raipur performs best when it comes to wearing helmets, observing rules, using zebra crossings and wearing seat belts. Signage, road safety awareness initiatives are also adequate. Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Indore and Delhi came in just below Raipur.
What do you call a hardworking Kolkatan? A work of fiction goes the old joke! However, Kolkata performed best in lighting and maintenance, installation of green and renewable energy, adequacy of high mast lighting on key roads etc.
Wow, Kolkata topped the chart here as well! The city was rated the best when it came to signage outside schools, traffic monitoring outside schools and residential areas and in terms of safety awareness campaigns for kids.
Chennai is famous for more than having the longest urban beach. The city ranked highest in traffic law enforcement and penalising violators followed by Ahmedabad.
Now Ahmedabad may be famous for auto-wallahs who signal with their feet, but the study found that Gujarat’s biggest city is the best in ensuring prompt and adequate response for emergency services such as police, ambulance, firefighting etc., followed by Chennai.
While Indore’s streets may not quite be the same as Washington, as the politicians would have us believe, but, they are among the cleanest in India. Garbage disposal systems are efficient, littering is less prevalent, and law enforcement on matter such as spitting and open defecation is strict. Making the quality of life way better in the city than many Indian metros.
Delhiites may crib about driving in the capital city where road rage simmers just below the surface, but, they actually have the best connectivity among all Indian cities, with a variety of intra-city public transport options, good roads and intercity connectivity as well.
Mumbai trains probably hold the world record for the highest concentration of humans per square meter during rush hours. However, Maximum city was ranked highest for ease of movement and access to public places for the differently abled. How cool is that?
Delhi road users have the least to complain about here. Roads are smooth and even; maintenance is regular. Surprised? It’s actually a smooth ride for Delhiites!
Heavy vehicles are significant contributors to road congestion and pollution, but Ahmedabad manages this best. There is efficient monitoring of timing for entry and exit, adequate signage and adequate enforcement of traffic regulations. Other cities – are you listening?
Let’s hope the authorities are taking note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads. For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Index - click here.
- "This story is brought to you in association with Maruti Suzuki."
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