The Mumbai–Pune Expressway is a controlled-access highway that connects Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, to the neighbouring city of Pune, an educational and information technology hub. MPEW, operationalised in 2002, is India’s first six-lane
concrete, high speed, access controlled, and tolled expressway. It is an alternative to the old Mumbai–Pune highway and helps in reducing travel time between the two cities. It has a speed limit of 80 km/h along most parts of the stretch. Officially, two-wheelers and three-wheelers are not permitted to use most parts of the expressway. Common vehicle types plying on the expressway are cars, trucks and buses. The expressway is 94.6 km long and witnesses a large number of traffic crashes, fatalities and serious injuries.
It is one of India’s busiest roads and used to be one of it’s deadliest as well. Since it started operations, the death toll on the expressway had climbed steadily until it recorded a peak of 151 deaths in 2016, roughly 3 deaths every 2 kms vs the national average in 2016 of 1 death per 2 kms,making MPEW one of the deadliest expressways in the country.
The Zero Fatality Corridor (ZFC) is a pioneering attempt to build a replicable model for road safety that can be implemented on any road. The aim of the initiative is to reduce the number of road crash fatalities on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway (MPEW) which recorded a peak of 151 deaths in 2016. These staggering figures of roughly 3 deaths every 2 kms whereas the national average in 2016 was 1 death per 2 kms, made MPEW one of the deadliest expressways in the country.
Through data-driven research and forensic crash investigations, SLF determined why, where, when, and how crashes took place on the expressway. Subsequently, implementing a 360 degree road safety solution across the 4 E's of Road Safety - Engineering, Enforcement, Emergency Care and Engagement.
The initiative is led by SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) support of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) in partnership with Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) the owners of the Expressway and the Government of Maharashtra.
Together SLF, M&M, MSRDC and the Government of Maharashtra officially launched the initiative on February 22nd, 2016 through signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) committing to the success of the initiative.
Highway-in-a-Box is a one-stop comprehensive toolkit for decision makers to reduce the fatalities on a highway or expressway. Understanding the reality that authorities need to make decisions to reduce fatalities on the highway, which requires teams of niche experts in Traffic and Transportation, Enforcement, Healthcare, Management, Education, and Advocacy - SaveLIFE Foundation developed Highway-in-a-Box toolkit.
This toolkit is a six-step solution developed from the SLF’s experience in working on road safety and the numerous trials conducted over many years. The following approach is adopted to implement the Zero Fatality Corridor project.
Since 2016, we have been working with the state highway police, state highway authorities and Mahindra & Mahindra intending to make the expressway a ‘Zero fatality corridor’. Multiple 360° interventions across the 4 E's of RoadSafety- Engineering, Enforcement, Emergency Care & Engagement taken over the last few years, have helped reduce the fatality on the expressway to a certain extent. Over 2016-’20 this joint initiative has been able to demonstrate a 52% decline in road crash deaths from 151 in 2016 to 66 in 2020 (The impact percentage has been corrected downwards to account for Covid 19 lockdown). The severity of crashes, defined as the number of deaths per 100 crashes, has also come down from 53.5 per cent to 24.8 percent in these three years. This has happened, even as traffic volumes on the expressway have risen continuously from 3.6 million vehicles in 2016 to 4.2 million vehicles in 2019.