Safety first for Mumbai! (to analyse crash data to promote safe driving)

mumbai safety
With approximately 0.15 million deaths and almost thrice that number injured every year in India, road crash fatalities are becoming a serious concern. It is indeed an alarming situation for all the citizens, including officials associated with road traffic management. The importance of efficient and accurate data collection and its clinical analysis plays a crucial role in effective enforcement as it helps various authorities to understand the issue and take corrective measures.

That said, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) and the city of Mumbai are making great strides to prevent crashes and saving lives with the use of data. Since the kick-off meeting with international partners and government representatives in Mumbai, the Bloomberg partners have worked with counterparts across various government agencies including the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), Mumbai Traffic Police (MTP), Regional Transport Office (RTO), BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport Company (BEST), and others to jointly develop the detailed work plan, collaborate, and implement various activities under the initiative.

Data source
Crashes in Mumbai are first documented in a form called ‘First Information Report’ (FIR). An FIR can be filed by any witness, traffic police official or even the victim. Based on the location of the crash, an FIR is filed at the nearest police station as per the jurisdiction.

It is the responsibility of the concerned police station to further examine the crash and bring each investigation to its satisfactory conclusion. Before arriving at the final conclusion for the cause of each crash, various data parameters, such as victims involved, act of the accused and behaviour at time of the accident, feedback from any witness, autopsy report of the victim and technical reports of the vehicle along with internal investigation are gathered by the Police.

Summary details from an FIR are compiled and sent by the concerned police station to the MTP headquarters on a monthly basis in a tabled format commonly referred to as the data sheet. At the MTP headquarters, the information from data sheet is manually tallied and cross checked to avoid double counting. The information received from various police stations are aggregated to create a manually tallied Mumbai city level dataset and to calculate the parameters required for monthly and annual reports to the state and national level.

As crash data was not stored in digital-tabular format, any additional review and extraction was very labour intensive. Identifying this limitation, the MTP and BIGRS team discussed ways in which such crash information could be better managed and a trial of data digitisation was initiated.

Data entry
BIGRS technical partners and staff together worked to identify all of the variables produced by these weekly data sheets, as well as those required by the monthly and annual reports to the Government of Maharashtra. Once this list of variables was identified, a database (automated) entry system was created in order to enter each fatal crash into the database covering all of these variables.

Analysis
Once this database was completed, the database was analysed in order to produce summary statistics in the form of the tables and figures. The locations of the fatal crashes were mapped by manually entering crash location descriptions into Google maps and identifying the coordinates based on best available information.

Now, this data gathering is likely to be used for:

  • Technical assistance for hard-hitting media campaigns to promote motorcycle helmet use, speed reduction, drink-driving prevention, and seat-belt use;
  • Enhancing police enforcement of motorcycle helmet wearing, speeding, drink-driving, and seat-belt use;
  • Re-designing city streets to protect pedestrians, promote safer driving, and increase access to safer forms of mobility;
  • Enhancing data management and monitoring of road user behaviours (i.e. helmet wearing, seatbelt use, drink driving, and speeding);
  • Enhancing road safety surveillance systems for outcomes data including crashes, injuries, and deaths;
  • Provision of in-house road safety experts to work within the traffic police, transport department, and city leadership;
  • Increasing inter-actor synergy through improved coordination of diverse stakeholders to reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths.