Road Safety

IIT Madras’ CoE for Road Safety partners with SNS Foundation

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS), is partnering with SNS Foundation on capacity and capability improvement, Research and Development on Human Behavioural Aspects of Road Safety. There will be a focus on school bus drivers.

A MoU towards this collaboration was signed on 1st March 2023 between CoERS, IIT Madras and SNS Foundation with an aim to train nearly 2000 drivers in the near future.

Marking the beginning of this partnership, Shri. S. Sarathi, Group President, Anand Group, and Joint Managing Director, HLMAIL, said: “As an automotive components manufacturer working in safety systems, we are deeply concerned with the number of accidents and fatalities on road. As socially responsible organisations, we are happy to partner with the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety to work on research on direct intervention to improve stakeholder capacity and capabilities in India. We look forward to having a long-term role in this journey towards safe roads in India.”

The key outcomes targeted from this collaboration include:

  • Build a simulator-based curriculum and delivery for training of trainers on road safety rules, driving etiquette and behaviour for school and college buses and vans in and around Chennai who are in contact with children at an impressionable age and can help develop adherence to road rules.
  • Nurture ideas in the field of road safety help mature them into products using the CoERS ecosystem by organising hackathons that can identify promising ideas and mature them to the prototype stage.

Highlighting the need for such collaborations, Prof. Manu Santhanam, Dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, said: “Recently, there is a lot of coverage in the news media about road accidents, which happen despite good roads. Not just in Tamil Nadu but across India, there are many accidents and fatalities that are avoidable. A lot has to be done with respect to driver behaviour and enhancing vehicular safety.”

Prof. Manu Santhanam added: “We also need to increase the awareness among people about how they utilise the road resources provided. There are different interventions being done at different levels, including policy work. I’m hopeful that the research being done by IIT Madras under this agreement will look into these aspects of driver behaviour and help train people to understand what it takes to have a safe driving approach, for ultimately, we need to work on safety from various different approaches. This presents an opportunity for the Centre of Excellence for Road Safety to bring out all the challenges towards the goal of having zero accidents.”

Elaborating on this engagement, Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Head, CoERS and Professor, RBG Labs, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, who is coordinating this initiative, said: “The key components involved in having safe roads are the vehicle, infrastructure and human interaction with the two. While there has been significant research and development in vehicle and road engineering, there is a significant opportunity for improvements in Human Behavioural Aspects. In this partnership, we aspire to train drivers who shall be further training impressionable children during their transit on the road to school. We hope this intervention will result in not only development of participants but also help put together an objective driver training manual for drivers involved with logistics operations, particularly with impressionable children.”