Bangalore initiatives among winners of an all-India road safety innovation challenge

Four road safety entrepreneurs have been selected as winners in the innovation challenge “Safer Roads, Safer India: Game Changing Innovations that Save Lives.” Their projects were evaluated by an expert panel of judges and chosen as the top solutions from a pool of more than 80 entries that activate citizenship, improve governance to be more responsive, update infrastructure, and use technology to protect drivers, passengers, and bystanders.

The four winning entrepreneurs, who were selected for meeting criteria for innovation, social impact, and sustainability, will each receive INR 300,000 as prize money funding to support their road safety innovations. They are the Neighbourhood Improvement Plan (NIP) of Bangalore, Kolkata Emergency Medical System and Service of Kolkata, Home Safe from NewDelhi and Positive Strokes from Bangalore. (see descriptions below).

The Safer Roads, Safer India Challenge was launched earlier this year to increase public awareness of road safety and to stimulate ideation and innovation as well as social entrepreneurship in the Road Safety space.  It is run by UL (Underwriters Laboratories), a premier global independent safety science company, and Ashoka, a global network of changemakers.

India has the worst road traffic accident rate on earth. Every year, the country claims more than 10 percent of the world’s 1.24 million victims of road crashes, collisions, and other incidents, according to the World Health Organization.

“The hazards that exist on Indian roadways place great stress on both the subcontinent’s workforce and its health system,” said Prof Dinesh Mohan, Volvo Chair Professor Emeritus, Transportation Research & Injury Prevention Programme at IIT Delhi, and Judge for the Safer Roads, Safer India challenge. “The Indian road building authorities and vehicle manufacturers must adopt international best practices on an urgent basis.” The Judges Panel comprised Mr.Mohandas Pai, Ms Amritha Kanshal of WHO, Mr Rahul Chandavarkar of Sakal Newspapers and R. A. Venkitachalam of UL.

About the Winners

Neighbourhood Improvement Plan (NIP), Bangalore

The NIP is a new, citizen-driven project operating in Bangalore’s HSR Ward 174 that is designed to make roads safer for pedestrians and vehicular traffic. NIP participants attend regular meetings to discuss local road safety issues, develop solutions, and implement the fixes. Stakeholders can even share feedback online. The NIP in Ward 174 has made small but significant changes to two high-risk junctions—no accidents have been reported since the installation of traffic signals, which has commanded the attention of Bangalore’s Municipal Corporation.

Kolkata Emergency Medical System and Service, Kolkata

This project is a centralized medical emergency system that helps India’s numerous emergency service providers better respond to traffic incidents. The system, updated in real-time, allows citizen bystanders to use their GPS-enabled mobile phones to report incidents. The KMES app informs ambulance services in the area of the location of the victim, who’s picked up free of charge, and the fastest route to the nearest hospital. SMS updates are also sent to volunteer paramedic emergency workers and drivers if no official trauma responders are immediately available.

Home Safe

Home Safe is the first ‘on-call’ chauffeur service in New Delhi, where accidents due to drunken driving are reportedly very common. HomeSafe provides well-trained and qualified drivers on a 24 X 7 basis, who can be booked through hotline numbers, online, or via a mobile app. Home Safe is associated with more than 150 bars and pubs in New Delhi, which promote the safe drive service, and drops off more than 1,000 customers at their doorstep every month.

Positive Strokes

Positive Strokes Campaign with the Bangalore Traffic Police. Pic: https://www.facebook.com/BangaloreTrafficPolice

The Bangalore People’s Choice Award is a special focus prize, the aim being to involve citizens in the process of selecting winning ideas on Road Safety.  From the different shortlisted projects that were reviewed by the Judges’ Panel, the residents of Bangalore were encourage to vote through SMS and select the project that they were most in favor of  and that had a Bangalore focus on implementation.  The prize has been awarded to Positive Strokes.

This project identifies and positively reinforces ‘good road  use behavior’ as a means of encouraging adherence with road rules and road safety. Youth volunteers are selected to watch other drivers’ behavior and ‘commend’ good behaviors. This is expected to foster the 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.

The nature of the challenge faced by India with regard to Safety on Roads is such that multiple innovative solutions that run in parallel are needed, said R.A. Venkitachalam, Vice President – Public Safety at UL. “The Safer  Roads Safer India challenge is a solid first step, and its potential is evident in the impact that the four winners have already had in their local communities.

“By bringing together social entrepreneurs and investors, UL and Ashoka hope to help these road safety innovators scale-up their fixes for social transformation.”

Stay tuned for information about the India Road Safety Summit on November 24-25, 2014 in Delhi. Additional information about the competition, plus guidelines and assessment criteria, can be found at changemakers.com/saferoads.

About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit http://www.ul.com.

About Ashoka

Founded in 1980, Ashoka is the world’s working community of over 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs. It champions the most important new social change ideas and supports the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, succeed, and collaborate. Ashoka’s vision is to create change today, for an Everyone A ChangemakerTM society to become the reality of tomorrow. Ashoka India was founded in 1981. It has built a rich network of more than 350 Ashoka Fellows that are creating unique, pattern-changing solutions to the country’s most critical social problems. The Ashoka Changemakers program convenes and connects high-potential changemakers, their ideas and their resources, through the power of collaborative competitions and partner networks. http://www.ashoka.org.

The content is provided by Meera Vijayann on behalf of Ashoka Innovators for the Public and has been published as is, under the Message Forward section, a space meant for non-profit public interest messages by individuals and organisations.

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