New Delhi : To save lives and make Delhi roads safe for all, the SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF), with support from BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and in close partnership with the Delhi Government and the Delhi Traffic Police has launched a Tactical Urbanism Trial at the Sarita Vihar Intersection. As per the Delhi Traffic Police, the Sarita Vihar Intersection witnessed a total of 50 crashes between 2017 and 2021, 19 of which were fatal. Five fatalities were recorded each in 2017 and 2019, making these two years periods when the highest number of fatalities on record were registered at the Intersection. During this 5-year period, the highest number of road crashes– amounting to 12 such incidents–were registered in 2019 and 2021.
Tactical Urbanism (TU) trials are temporary, quick and relatively low-cost interventions, which test out urban design, transportation planning and infrastructural changes for improving road safety for all road users, especially the most vulnerable, like pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised transport users. Once the interventions are proven, the relevant Government agencies are expected to make them permanent.
As part of the Zero Fatality Corridor (ZFC) initiative, SaveLIFE Foundation tests temporary urban design interventions. An essential component of these trials is road space redistribution to ensure modal equity, road geometrics modification, traffic channelisation, vehicular speed reduction, and addition of pedestrian and cyclist safety infrastructure.
The Sarita Vihar Intersection is a tri-junction located on Mathura Road in Delhi, connecting Delhi to Noida and Faridabad. The Intersection is connected to Jasola Apollo in the west, Badarpur in the east and Madanpur Khadar Village towards the north. It is well-connected by public transport including metro connectivity through the Sarita Vihar Metro Station. The Rama Krishna Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, a government school, is located in close proximity to the Intersection.
Elaborating on the road safety situation at the Sarita Vihar T-point, Vijay Kumar, ACP, Sarita Vihar, said, ”With an average of approximately 14,000 pedestrians and approximately 2,12,00 vehicles using the location on a daily basis, the Sarita Vihar T-point experiences heavy pedestrian footfall and vehicular movement. During night time too, heavy vehicular movement has been witnessed on the road. A Foot Over Bridge (FOB) for pedestrians is required at this location to ensure against road crashes and traffic congestion. With regard to this, the concerned civic authorities have been requested to construct a FOB at the Sarita Vihar T-point.”
The major issues identified at the Sarita Vihar Intersection include two-wheelers using pedestrian crossings despite the installation of Jersey barriers to discourage such behaviour. Such traffic violation by two-wheeler users was seen leading to a greater vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash propensity. The pedestrian vulnerability at the intersection was further exacerbated owing to the unavailability of pedestrian signals, making them susceptible to crashes with speeding vehicles.
The presence of an educational institution in close proximity, was seen leading to heavy pedestrian footfall along the Mathura Road, especially during the school opening and closing hours. This footfall comprised primarily of students boarding and alighting buses, autos, e-rickshaws and private vehicles. Unavailability of boarding and alighting space was making these students vulnerable. A similar concern was witnessed on the Jasola to Badarpur approach, where the unavailability of dedicated bus bays and designated stops was seen leading to unsafe boarding and alighting.
The major TU interventions undertaken at the Sarita Vihar Intersection include streamlining vehicular mobility and school zone-specific traffic calming measures such as rumble strips and signages indicating a 25 km/h speed limit restriction. Other interventions include road dieting, creation of a traffic island to streamline the left turn towards Madanpur Khadar, and the introduction of dedicated spaces for Intermediate Public Transport (IPT) stands at designated bus stops near the Intersection.
Further interventions aimed at pedestrian safety include reduction of pedestrian crossing distance and exposure lengths through the creation of protected continuous pedestrian pathways, extended traffic islands with additional waiting spaces and safe pedestrian crossings. These crossings were created through the staggered placement of the existing Jersey barriers and by closing their gaps to ensure against two-wheelers crossing the road at unauthorised points. The month-long TU trial at the Sarita Vihar Intersection was launched on February 20.
Commenting on it, Piyush Tewari, CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation said, “SaveLIFE Foundation uses scientific research and in-depth analysis to combat the road crash epidemic confronting the country. The Tactical Urbanism trials undertaken by SLF within its Zero Fatality Corridor programme use data, evidence and design thinking to determine the best possible solutions for saving lives. We are grateful to BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, Delhi Government and the Delhi Traffic Police for working with us towards improving road safety in the capital city.”
This redesigning at the Sarita Vihar Intersection has led to a 49% reduction in the total pedestrian exposure distance and a 70% increase in the public space available for pedestrians. This is the eighth Tactical Urbanism trial in Delhi, with the seven previous ones conducted at Bhalswa Chowk, Rajghat Intersection, Gandhi Vihar, Burari Chowk, Signature Bridge, Mukundpur Chowk and Nehru Place.