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Slowing traffic will save lives in Karnataka

Speed management and traffic calming techniques have an important role to play in further reducing deaths and serious injuries on an iRAP safe corridor demonstration project for the World Bank in Karnataka state in south-western India.

An iRAP post-construction Star Rating Assessment in 2016 of the 57km section of State Highway 20 from Belgaum to Yaragatti found that up to 1,280 deaths and serious injuries are already set to be prevented as a result of improvements undertaken since the original iRAP Safer Road Investment Plan was produced in 2012.

The report estimates that if a US$ 12.72 million package of improvements is undertaken it would result in an overall 30% reduction of road traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2018 from the 2011 baseline.

‘At locations where it is not economically viable to lift the Star Ratings past the (proposed 3-star) target using infrastructure improvements, lowering operating speeds shall also be considered,’ the report says.

‘A speed management review to include 50km/h limits in the urban areas and rural villages plus effective speed enforcement will reduce risk for all road users on the corridor.’

Key actions

Other actions recommended for further consideration include:

  • rationalise speed limits so that they are consistent, easily understood and better reflect the needs of all road users, especially vulnerable road users
  • ensure speed limits are clearly signed and that the signs are maintained and in good condition
  • improve enforcement of speed limits and increase presence of traffic police along the corridor
  • traffic calming measures to reduce speed of through-traffic to reduce risk and im-prove quality of life in rural communities

iRAP Senior Road Safety Engineer Luke Rogers, who drafted the report, said: ‘Speed reduction is vital in creating safer road environments in the small towns and rural villages like we have on this corridor. Our post-construction assessment showed that where traffic calming features were introduced traffic speeds dropped considerably. At one location outside a busy temple we saw operating speeds reduced from 75km/h to 35km/h.’

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