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Over 2000 pedestrian deaths in the top 8 Indian cities in 2018

June 12, 2019

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Over 2000 pedestrian deaths in the top 8 Indian cities in 2018

As per RTI data obtained from the traffic police, 5320 people were killed due to road crashes in 2018 in the top eight cities in India—Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, and Ahmedabad. 2113, or about 40 percent of those killed, were pedestrians.

This is a small 4% dip since 2017, when 2191 pedestrians were killed in these eight cities. For the same year, 2017, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) reported 20,457 pedestrian deaths in India. If we were to go by this figure, the top 8 cities, which contribute to only about 1.2% of the total road length contributed to about 3.5% of total road deaths and 10.7% of the total pedestrian deaths in the country. It is true that pedestrian crashes are highly concentrated in urban areas. This is primarily because such areas see dense and mixed traffic conditions without the requisite safe road infrastructure, putting pedestrians at a high risk of injuries. Even if we account to this fact, it is clear from the above figures that the actual number of pedestrian deaths in the country could actually be much higher than 20,457. Assessments conducted by IIT Delhi and other independent researchers also point to the fact that pedestrian deaths contribute to at least 35-40% of total deaths, much higher than what was reported by MoRTH in 2017—a mere 13%.

Delhi and Chennai saw the highest number of road deaths and pedestrian deaths in 2018, a status that has been maintained through the years since 2010. Pedestrian deaths as a percentage of road deaths varied between 28% in Chennai to 50% in Kolkata. When compared with figures in 2017, pedestrian deaths came down only by a small percentage (4%) in 2018. While most of the cities have reported a decline, Delhi and Ahmedabad reported an increase. Mumbai saw the steepest decline with a 20% dip in pedestrian deaths and Delhi saw the steepest rise of about 10% since last year.

The table below lists pedestrian crash data between 2010 and 2018 for each of the eight cities. Data could not be obtained for all the years for Pune and Ahmedabad. There were a few marked changes (highlighted in red) during these years. In Mumbai, pedestrian deaths increased by 22% during 2012-13 and decreased by 20% during 2017-18. They dipped by 26% during 2016-17 in Hyderabad and increased by 20% in Pune during the same period. It would be useful to understand the reasons behind such changes to replicate best practices, if any, undertaken by any of these cities.

Pedestrian deaths in Mumbai have decreased at a higher rate than in any other city since 2010. Delhi has fared poorly as compared to other cities, especially due to a steady increase in pedestrian deaths since 2015. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Chennai have fared similarly with a moderate decrease over the years. The data provided was insufficient for Pune and Ahmedabad to analyse this trend.

Examining other factors that could impact pedestrian crashes would be important to gain a deeper understanding of the variations across these cities. Our next blog will look at how pedestrian crashes in these 8 cities varied with factors such as land area, road length, road density, and modal share.

Source: The data presented in this blog was obtained from the city traffic police through RTI applications.

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