More than 150,000 traffic-related fatalities occur annually in India. Cooperation between Swedish and Indian companies and institutions is now being formed to greatly reduce these. The lessons learned will be utilized for development needs in different parts of the world in order to strengthen traffic safety as widely as possible.
In 2018, Sweden and India signed an innovation agreement. Sweden-India Transport Innovation and Safety Partnership (SITIS) is a strong and concrete example of how innovation cooperation between the countries actually happens, and can create global values in the security area.
SITIS was launched in Stockholm, in the presence of Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Transport & Highways, Government of India & Mr. Thomas Eneroth, Hon’ble Minister for Infrastructure, Government of Sweden in the presence of CEOs and Senior Management of various Swedish & Indian companies, Academia and Research Institutes from the partnership as well as state representatives.
Leading Indian companies and institutes with expertise in safety have come together to form the SITIS as a long-term platform for innovation and a center for excellence on traffic safety research. The SITIS partnership will build deeper understanding of traffic safety in India, and provide insights into the core challenges facing many fast-growing economies with similar challenges and their potential solutions. This will provide a unique ability to inform and evaluate policy and technology priorities.
“We know that road safety is crucial to driving prosperity and development in the world, and it is a crucial part of our business model. But the biggest gain, and the reason why I am so delighted that SITIS is now in place, is that we can now entwine deeper into India’s ambition to reduce fatalities on road and thus positively touch a key aspect of progress in the lives of people in India – Safer Mobility. We can all use these learnings to support our safety efforts across other parts of the world, as well as Sweden. India’s strengths in the digital arena and getting leading companies and premier research & academic institutes of the both countries to work together – we have the combined potential to accelerate safety progress through new & innovative solutions” says Martin Lundstedt, CEO of the Volvo Group, one of the initiators of SITIS.
The WHO estimates that while there are more than 150 000 deaths per year on roads in India, progress has stagnated in Sweden. At the same time there is great potential provided by the new technology paradigms: connectivity, electro-mobility, automation, digitization and AI – where India stands to leap frog in implementing effective technology and system-level measures to improve traffic safety.
Vikram Nair, President, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Tech Mahindra, said, “The establishment of SITIS is a testimony of how the industry and academia can successfully come together to create value for citizens. Through this platform, our aim is to address the current traffic safety challenges in India and suggest potential solutions be recommending policy reforms to reduce traffic fatalities.”
This demands an integrated approach where mobilizing stakeholders and implementing cost effective measures is a key challenge. SITIS aims to achieve just that by bringing together organizations leading in the safety arena from Sweden & India. Road safety is critical in delivering the 2030 Global Goals for sustainable development (SDG) and enable an efficient transport system, and thus remove obstacles for societal growth and prosperity. Strong action for road safety is essential to support India’s ambition to cut fatalities by half in the next 10 years.
Members of this platform are companies and institutes who lead in the safety area in their respective domains. These include partners such as; Volvo Group, Autoliv, Ericsson, Manipal Hospitals, Altair, Saab and Tech Mahindra, as well as universities and research institutes; India Institute of Science (IISc), Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (TRIPP, IITD), Chalmers University of Technology, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden; and the technical authorities Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI). The platform will also engage the Vision Zero Academy at the Swedish Transport Administration, Niti Aayog [The National Institution for Transforming India] and Sweden-India Business Council.