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16th International Conference on Humanizing Work and Work Environment (14-16 December 2018)

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7th Asian Joint Workshop on Thermophysics and Fluid Science (AJWTF 7) during November 21-24 2018

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Report on one-day Symposium on “Road Safety: Mission towards Safer Roads”

The one-day symposium was held at College of Engineering Trivandrum, organised by Transportation Engineering Research Centre (TRC). Delegates from PWD, RSA, MVD, VicRoads, KSTP, National Highways, NATPAC, and educational institutions participated in the symposium. Dr.B.G. Sreedevi, Director, NATPAC inaugurated the symposium. Prof. Dr. P.K. Sikdar, Former Director of CRRI and President, Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt. Ltd (ICT) delivered a Keynote Address on “Issues and Challenges” and urged the audience to follow approach by Sweden, Japan and New Zealand in road safety matters. He emphasized on a safe system approach. Prof. Dr. J .David, Principal, CET Presided over the function. Dr. R. Padmakumar, coordinator of symposium welcomed the dignitaries and delegates, Dr. Ashalatha R, Coordinator TRC gave an overview of TRC and it’s activities, Prof. Preethi P., coordinator of symposium presented an overview of the symposium and its objectives. Prof. Jyothis Thomas, Dean P.G. studies and Dr. P.G. Jairaj, Professor and Head of Civil Engineering Department delivered felicitations. Prof. Salini S, coordinator of symposium delivered vote of thanks. A technical session then followed. Mr. Jim Jarvis, Team Leader, VicRoads presented “An Institutional Framework to support coordination of Road Safety Activity”, and discussed a safe corridor demonstration program. Mr. P.M. Shaji, Assistant Transport Commissioner and Mr. Mahesh delivered a talk on Kerala Road Safety Authority and projects under Motor Vehicles Department. Mr. Tony Mathew, Vice President, ICT, delivered a talk on “Designing for safety”, emphasizing on a proactive approach and use of advanced signs and marking concepts. The afternoon session began with a session on Enforcement and Education. Mr Muhammed Najeeb, Kochin Metro Ltd. presented concept and technical details of enforcement. Mr. B. Zubin (NATPAC) presented the importance of Road Safety Education. There was a very good response from the audience in the form of queries on different aspects.



Report on Panel Discussion

Professor (Dr.) P K Sikdar, moderator of the discussion expressed his concern over the influence of vehicle advertisements in media that promote rash driving. He highlighted the role of institutions and NGOs in the field of road safety. He suggested approaching road safety as a multi-disciplinary task. He was of opinion that driver licensing should be strictly done, and any violation should be recorded in the license.

Mr. Jim Jarvis of VicRoads was for coordination and cooperation among the institutions and stake holders. He emphasized on the need of a Traffic and Safety Engineer. He suggested that it should be easier to tackle road safety issues along corridors than over the entire network. Mr. Greg Rowe was concerned more with the drunken driving, lack of helmet use and speed.

Er. Anil N T. Executive Engineer, Road safety cell, PWD discussed about the limitation of work force in coordinating various aspects. They were just seven engineers working for the entire Kerala state. The entire staff in the field is busy. They are not able to report any accidents occurring at their place. Accident data involving teenagers are not available with them. Lack of coordination between the departments involved, for instance the Motor vehicles department make changes in system (speed limits, for instance) and takes things forward without even consulting with the concerned officials in PWD. They are not ready to go by the rules and design aspects of PWD. The coordination between MVD and PWD should be improved.


Mr. Aravind, NGO, CanWalk discussed about Trauma and other related issues. He informed that Road Safety campaigns are being conducted in campuses for creating awareness. This NGO is working on helping incapacitated people. He informed that every year during the Second Sunday of November a candle light march is held for people who are disabled; they are brought out of their houses and pooled at public places like say Trivandrum Museum. He suggested that generating awareness on traffic safety is needed as a first step, thus making people not to blame others for not following traffic safety as they themselves are the ultimate losers.

Prof. Dr. Sikdar accepted the concluding point of Mr. Aravind that road users are the ultimate losers if they do not follow road safety and not abide by the laws. Rules should be strictly enforced on ourselves. He stated that targets and sub-targets should be set for accident reduction, engineering improvements, enforcements and campaigning. New roads and sub-roads should be subjected to preventive Road safety audit at all stages of development and correcting design issues using the recommendations of RSA team. Network should be developed and maintained strictly according to the nature of traffic demands.

Mr. Tony Mathew had the opinion that State should have clear targets for reduction of accidents and should set rules for enforcement. E.g. drunken driving, speeding etc. The results are to be monitored annually. Every road network in Kerala should have a Junior Engineer assigned. An Assistant Engineer should be assigned to any part of this network. This Assistant Engineer contact should be in touch with the local police station and there should be a mechanism where the police straight away reports details of accidents to the respective Assistant Engineer. This helps to record the accident easily the same day itself. The details could be sent as notification to CE and DGP to discuss about the road safety problems which caused the accident. Some mechanism should evolve in defining speed limits in the road network under the leader ship of road safety department. Regarding KSTP and World Bank projects, he commented that designs are not based on the demands on the road like parking, space for pedestrians etc. He recommended that road marking should be done in the entire network, state, highway and district roads. Road marking should be included in the routine maintenance. All engineers, particularly Assistant Engineer should be trained in traffic engineering. Transport department should initiate this with other agencies and conduct training for engineers. It has to be undertaken every year. This enables them to be updated with the latest technology and they can apply the knowledge to transportation systems in real time. At AE should recommend at least 10 to 15 black spot improvements in a target oriented way.

Er. L Beena, EE, KSTP while talking on capacity building projects (World Bank Funded) associated with VicRoads. She raised concern over land acquisition problems in Kerala. If TRC can arrive at the social and environmental factors related to traffic the road acquisition committee can be convinced regarding road safety. Despite having funds and being ready to develop single lane, or multiple lane road networks considering the topography of Kerala, it is very difficult to move forward without land acquisition. As of now, KSTP is forced to limit the land acquisition to minimum. There are certain places, especially with MC roads, where there are social issues such that medians along roads, sign boards, foot paths etc. can’t be provided especially in the Vettu Road – Kottarakkara stretch, which has made it an accident pone area. She was hopeful that TRC could address these problems. Road safety problems are now developing in multi dimensions. Along the footpaths there are so many trees and it is difficult to cut these off. This makes pedestrian ways impossible to use even though they are provided.

Dr. R Padmakumar, Assistant Professor, CET presented issues faced by road safety engineers in the city. He expressed concern over dangerous two-wheeler riders’ practices like keeping kids standing on platform and facing rider, overloading of two-wheeler with bags etc. He also opined that stray dogs need to be controlled as they appear out of nowhere in traffic, endangering two-wheelers. He informed authorities on the underutilization and misuse of bus bays, and parking on footpaths and issues such as exit ramp of airport in to by-pass, improper road maintenance, uncovered drains and vehicle alterations. Unauthorised access to highways was another issue mentioned. While supporting the views expressed by Mr. Tony Mathew during technical session, he suggested that the hazard markers are improperly placed at many locations and, hence do not serve the purpose. He also mentioned issues regarding non-availability of reliable crash data and need for establishing a crash data base, with coordination among departments, research organizations and TRC.


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