Linear Settlements and Safety Issues along Highways in India: A Case for integrated Approach for Highway Development - Safety of road users and roads workers Prize

India has a vast network of roads aggregating to around 3.4 million kms which is the second largest in the world. Its road network comprises around 71,000 km of National highways. These carry about 45% of traffic, and account for 25% of road traffic accidents. National Highway development commenced immediately after independence and its length increased more by accretion rather than development of new alignments. As a sequel to this approach large stretches of the alignment suffer from geometric limitations, caused by linear settlements. India has embarked upon a multipronged programme for controlling linear development and reducing fatality by enacting legislation, enabling PPP partnerships. However, their effective enforcements on a large network pose a serious limitation. Recently some safety reduction measures including legal enforcement have been experimented. Studies using before and after approach have revealed that intended measures have aided in fatality reduction, however their integration at the policy level is yet to be done. Conclusively, the paper argues for developing integrated approach for highway and land development.