Modelling of road traffic fatalities in India.

07 Mar 2018

Passenger modes in India include walking, cycling, buses, trains, intermediate public transport modes (IPT) such as three-wheeled auto rickshaws or tuk-tuks, motorised two-wheelers (2W) as well as cars. However, epidemiological studies of traffic crashes in India have been limited in their approach to account for the exposure of these road users. In 2011, for the first time, census in India reported travel distance and mode of travel for workers. A Poisson-lognormal mixture regression model is developed at the state level to explore the relationship of road deaths of all the road users with commute travel distance by different on-road modes. The model controlled for diesel consumption (proxy for freight traffic), length of national highways, proportion of population in urban areas, and built-up population density. The results show that walking, cycling and, interestingly, IPT are associated with lower risk of road deaths, while 2W, car and bus are associated with higher risk. Promotion of IPT has twofold benefits of increasing safety as well as providing a sustainable mode of transport. The mode shift scenarios show that, for similar mode shift across the states, the resulting trends in road deaths are highly dependent on the baseline mode shares. The most worrying trend is the steep growth of death burden resulting from mode shift of walking and cycling to 2W. While the paper illustrates a limited set of mode shift scenarios involving two modes at a time, the model can be applied to assess safety impacts resulting from a more complex set of scenarios.