Pedestrian Safety in Chennai
ACRS, DOI:10.33492/JRS-D-20-00249, https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-20-00249
Submission Date: August 1, 2020 Journal
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation: Narayanan, S. (2020). “Pedestrian Safety in Chennai”. Journal of Road Safety, 31(3), 15-32. https://doi.org/10.33492/JRS-D-20-00249
Pedestrian and cyclist safety are not considered by urban planners or road users in India. Data on road crashes tend to underreport crashes involving this group. In spite of adopting a Non-Motorised-Transport (NMT) friendly policy in 2014, Chennai city in Tamil Nadu continues to prioritise motorised transport. Five years after the NMT Policy adoption, pedestrian infrastructure was assessed in 11 locations. A perception survey of 37 road users was also conducted as the Policy calls for changing the mindset of motorists towards pedestrians. The pedestrian infrastructure assessment found that footpath and pedestrian crossings are inadequate with only six locations having contiguous, wide, walkable footpaths for some distance. Even in these locations, the footpath is encroached upon by parked vehicles, garbage, utilities, and shops. Even roads which have seen pedestrian-focussed interventions fall short. Pedestrian infrastructure, what little exists, is not friendly towards the elderly and people with disabilities. The perception survey suggests that pedestrians are not safe on the roads and that motorists do not slow down or stop for pedestrians. Some motorists (autorickshaw drivers and bus drivers) felt that pedestrians put themselves at risk by walking on the road and crossing the road as they please. Pedestrians interviewed, however, pointed out that footpaths are few, and those that exist are encroached upon, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. In spite of being the first city in India to adopt an NMT Policy, many pedestrians continues to be precarious.