The invention of the automobile was is one of the most significant technological advances in history, which has changed the world and the way that society operates forever. However, along with the invention of the automobile came the concept of road safety – and with more than 1.35 million lives claimed globally each year through road traffic accidents, a number which has risen rapidly throughout the years, road safety is important now more than ever.
The rise in the number of vehicles on the road has risen over three times faster than the amount of new road developed, so it’s no wonder that congestion and overcrowding has become a real problem. The question is: what is being done to make our vehicles and roads operate better, and how does technology help to achieve this?
Safer driving standards
India has one of the largest road networks in the world, with over 5.5 million kilometres of road length, and ambitious plans for more, tying in with an increase in industrial activity that has seen far more two and four wheelers actively travelling. Over the last two decades, India has invested heavily in road projects, with the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) and the Pradham Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (providing connectivity for unconnected habitations in order to reduce poverty and sustainably manage rural roads) forming a large part of the development that has taken place.
This increase in industry has driven technological advances in road construction and management, culminating in the creation of IndiaRAP – a public private partnership which brings together road safety experts from around the world to analyse the existing road network. The partnership also aims to recommend technological improvements which will leave India with a five star rated network of smart motorways, urban highways and rural roads in the future.
Smart roads and motorways use technology to manage traffic, analysing the number of vehicles on the road at any one time, and using variable speed limits and hard shoulder running lanes to control traffic flow. This in turn helps make driving safer. The rating system classifies roads between one and five stars, with a five star rating demonstrating that a road is one of the best in the world.
Choosing the best vehicle for you
Improvements to the network aren’t the only issue to consider in relation to staying safe on the road. Technology has had a massive impact on vehicles too, with the cars of today having a vast number of features aimed at improving safety, efficiency, and environmental impact. Choosing a new car now is about much more than colour, engine size, and number of seats – it’s also about the vehicle’s safety features, including autonomous energy braking, lane assist and adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, and blind spot detection. In essence, a car in 2020 has the artificial intelligence to interact with other traffic on the road, understand its own place in the system, and ultimately avoid collisions wherever possible.
Technology is still advancing rapidly, and there will certainly be even more features in the future that ensure roads, and the vehicles that use them, are as safe and sustainable as possible.