The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), Volkswagen Group India, and SaveLIFE Foundation have entered into a partnership to drive an initiative called Vision Zero to significantly reduce road-crash deaths and make the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway (NH 48) safe for all road users. The partnership aims to create a scalable and replicable model for road safety across Indian highways and is in line with India’s commitment to reduce road-crash deaths by 50 per cent under the Brasilia Declaration. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra had announced the partnership as part of the Mahaparivartan Programme in February 2019.

The Vision Zero initiative aims to significantly reduce road-crash deaths through data driven and evidence-based interventions. It addresses road-engineering interventions, improved post-crash emergency care, comprehensive research, better police enforcement, and grassroots community engagement. Advocacy and awareness will be created around systemic interventions to prevent road crashes and build effective first responders to aid emergency care on the 111 km stretch. 

While national highways constitute two per cent of the total road network in India, they account for 35 per cent of total road-crash deaths, which is over 145 road crash deaths every day. The Maharashtra Government entered into a partnership with SaveLIFE Foundation and Volkswagen Group India through the MSRDC, Maharashtra Police, and the Public Health Department to tackle this pandemic. 

In a press release shared with CauseBecause, RL Mopalwar, Vice Chairman & MD, MSRDC, said, ‘Road safety needs to be integrated into execution of infrastructure projects right from the planning stage. This must be a primary concern of policymakers as we can definitely bring about a significant change when we come together and take ownership. We are sure that through the Vision Zero approach we can protect many more road users, especially those who are vulnerable.’

Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Volkswagen Group India, added, ‘Safety is integral to our vision of sustainable mobility. We, at Volkswagen Group India, not only want to build safest cars, but through Vision Zero want to work towards a safer ecosystem for commuters against the ills of road incidents and injuries. Through this healthy public-private collaboration with SaveLIFE Foundation and MSRDC we would like to share our road safety expertise and create awareness among local communities.’

Unfortunately, CB’s questions on the details pertaining to the plans to create a model for road safety and the road-engineering interventions and research aspects of this initiative as well as impact assessment did not receive any response.