A new road assessment programme for India has been launched by the Minister for Road Transport and Highways (MRTH), Nitin Gadkari.

IndiaRAP aims to tackle the highest risk roads around the country in partnership with national and state agencies. It is hosted by the Asian Institute of Transport Development (AITD), with sponsorship from FedEx. The global network of the international Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), which has experts across more than 80 countries, will support the programme.

“IndiaRAP will play an important role in mobilizing the scale and results needed to meet national road safety targets,” said AITD Chairman K L Thapar. “With project level activity across 12 states already, the national programme will bring together all of the existing partners with a single focus on improving the safety of road infrastructure across India and supporting IndiaRAP programmes in new states. As an independent, not-for-profit organization focussed on capacity building, research and regional cooperation in the Indian infrastructure sector, AITD is well placed to lead the partnerships needed to make roads safer through the IndiaRAP programme.”

The programme will be informed by iRAP’s evidence-based “star rating” methodology and investment planning tools which provide a simple and objective measure of the level of safety which is “built-in” to the road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Five-star roads are the safest while one-star roads are the least safe. IndiaRAP will seek to eliminate 1- and 2-star unsafe roads, while working to become a leader in the development of 5-star motorways throughout the country.

MRTH reports that more than 150,000 people were killed on the roads in India in 2016, equating to 17 deaths every hour. In addition to the personal cost, the economic cost of road crashes is estimated at over 3% of national GDP every year.