Context India reports the highest number of road deaths globally, with nearly 150,000 people dying annually. Public buses in India play a major role, serving 70 million passengers daily. Safety of these buses is a major concern.Aligned to SDG 3.6, this initiative is aimed to reduce public bus crashes.
Process Between 2015–2017, WRI India and UL studied historical crash data of 13 bus transit agencies to analyze the reasons of crashes and drive programmatic interventions to improve safety. One finding was that a majority of buses were plying with substandard mirrors, which greatly compromised the field of vision of drivers, resulting in crashes involving motorcyclists and pedestrians.
Analysis In 2017, we retrofitted 46 buses with standard rear-view mirrors in Bengaluru and evaluated the impact on blind spots and driver experience. The results indicated that the replacement of small mirrors with standard-sized rear-view mirrors improved the field of vision significantly (11% on the driver’s side and 103% on the passengers’ side). Further, 80% of the drivers surveyed felt this improved their experience and comfort.
Outcomes This evidence was used to nudge bus transit agencies to improve the quality of mirrors in their bus fleets; subsequently, two agencies issued tenders to procure standard rearview mirrors.
Learning Outcomes To ensure sustainable impact, there is a need for overhauling the current regulatory policies and practices to enforce the usage of standard mirrors in buses. This should include capacity building activities like training the drivers and other agency staff to facilitate compliance.
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