The government and the highway police are finally waking up tothe appalling condition of most Indian highways. The state Highway Police and the National Safety Council are jointly developing a new online navigational tool on the lines of Google Map, which can be downloaded and accessed on most mobile phones. This will help drivers navigate highways better and know exact locations of nearest hospitals, accident-prone zones, sharp turns and other important locations.
To make sure that this app matches up to the high standards set by Google Maps, the authorities also launched a ‘wonder car’ on Friday -- a special car fitted with cameras on all sides and a GPS on the roof. A transport expert and a civil engineer who will sit inside the car are expected to monitor driving habits of Indians on highways as well as dangerous spots, curves and other issues, while the cameras record roads as well as cars moving at 15-20 kmph.
“We have started the scientific survey on the Mumbai-Goa highway,” said Vijay Kamble, additional director general of police (Traffic), Maharashtra. Senior government officials say once they know the details of the roads along these highways, they can ask the respective government agencies to do the necessary work to make roads safer.
A local navigator
By end of this year, the mother website www.getlroadsafety.in, which is already up and running, will have a link that would show the inter-city highway routes -- namely Mumbai-Goa, Mumbai-Nasik and Mumbai-Ahmedabad -- on the lines of Google Maps. The portal/application can be accessed and downloaded on android phones, laptops or even by GPS enabled vehicles while it is in motion.
Normally, these navigation sites enable people to know the route with names of areas in and around the vehicle while in motion. “But this application which is in the final stages of being developed, will show vital installations like hospitals, garages, educational institutes, hotels, restaurants and parking facilities,” said
P Masurkar, secretary, National Safety Council (Maharashtra Chapter). Perhaps equally important for motorists, the app will inform drivers about the quality and width of a road along with traffic density, upcoming intersections, nearest bridge, steepness of turns, blind spots, and accident-prone zones. It would also list exact locations and numbers of towing van operators and police stations. These will be individually marked on the route map along with the latitude and longitude of the area. A private agency called Green Earth Translogistics is developing the site.
Officials from the Central Institute of Road Transport told SUNDAY MiD DAY that the training given to most Indian drivers is insufficient, and that the RTO officials are overburdened with both issuing driving licenses as well as testing drivers. “We are working on the app and expect it to be ready by the end of 2013 after our survey on the indigenous vehicle is done,” said G Kamat, general manager (Road Safety), Green Earth Translogistics Pvt Ltd.
How to access the app
once you log on to the website (detailed work is still being carried out) on any android phone, a laptop or on a car GPS, it will open a navigational route showing the starting point of the route along with medium and low risk road stretches along the route. There will also be important installations like hospitals, blood banks, garages, repair centres and helpline numbers. It will warn motorists about an approaching destination 500 meters before arrival.