ConnectKaro conclave moots effective vehicle management and tech

Auto Car Professional - 11 March, 2014



The second edition of ConnectKaro, the national conclave organised by Embarq India in Bangalore on ‘Sustainable Transport’ yesterday, analysed various issues in the road transportation sector including improving vehicle technology and management. Over 200 experts from urban transport, automotive industry and policy makers attended the event. In the opening session titled ‘Sustainable Transport Trends & Opportunities for Indian Cities,” Dr Dario Hidalgo, Head (Research and Practice), Embarq India, said around 20 percent of carbon emissions are from the transport sector worldwide.


If the trend continues, he said the sector would account for 80 percent of total carbon emissions by 2050. Commenting on road accidents, he said, “Around 1.2 million people die in accidents every year (globally) while 40 percent of these mishaps are reported inside urban cities, which shows poor management of transportation and vehicle technology.” In the discussion on ‘Road Safety through Sustainable Transport’, Giri Kumar, Specialist Accident Research India attached to Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Ltd (RBEI), said that two-wheelers currently account for 70 percent of the total vehicle population in India and that 26 percent of road accidents are two-wheeler-related. RBEI, which has been analysing road mishaps to develop Indian auto industry-specific safety solutions and products, has collected details of 1,000 road accidents in the past three years and is analysing them from 1,500 different parameters. Bosch Ltd in India has a bouquet of safety products including Antilock Braking System (ABS) for the Indian two-wheeler market. RBEI is working with other OEMs like Daimler, Nissan, Renault, Toyota and Hyundai under the Road Accident Sampling System-India (RASSI) consortium to improve vehicle safety in the country. He said that most vehicle safety technologies featured in developed countries are in the above-250cc two-wheeler segment, which accounts for only one percent of the total two-wheeler market in India. Another speaker, J P Gupta, commissioner of transport of Gujarat State government, said there is no proper policy framework to address issues in road transportation.


He said OEMs have sold around 15 million vehicles in India in 2012-13. A whopping Rs 350,000 crore had been spent on new vehicles while the Union government has pumped in Rs 70,000 crore for road development. Fuel consumed in the transport sector alone amounts to Rs 800,000 crore. In total, Rs 12,00,000 crore has been collectively spent on various components in the transport and road sector, he said. Manjula Vinjamuri, Commissioner-Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), said the government has taken steps to implement Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in Tier-2 cities like Hubli and Dharwad in Karnataka. Currently, she said the government has finalised a mobility plan for seven cities for effective transport management. She said the government is considering implementation of a comprehensive mobility plan in 58 other Tier-2 cities in the state. Madhav Pai, director of Embarq India, said mass transport in India still depends on the bus sector. In Bangalore, around 5 million people prefer buses to commute. He added that major Indian cities need at least 50,000-60,000 buses as against the 30,000 vehicles at present. He said the quality and quantum of the buses must improve, for which the Union government should welcome global CV makers. He also called upon government to abolish excise duty on imported buses for STUs, which would in turn get domestic players to improve their product quality. Pai said that Embarq has been coordinating with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to transform the Bangalore city bus system under the BIG Bus Network (Bangalore Intra-city Grid Bus Network). Launched in September 2013, the new integrated transport system introduced express service and BRT help save passengers an average 20 minutes a day. Over the next two years, the BIG Bus Network will expand to include over 2,000 buses and serve two million people a day. Binoy Mascarenhas of Embarq India demonstrated best practices for road design in the urban Indian context and stressed that junction design should be contextual. Rather than a standard design, a standardized process for design is required. Binoy stated that “although junctions take up only a fraction of the road space, they typically account for more than half of all road accidents.” 


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