A new government-backed international partnership between Swedish and Indian companies and institutions has been launched with the aim of improving road safety and helping to reduce the huge number of traffic-related fatalities that occur annually in India.
The governments of Sweden and India originally signed an innovation agreement back in 2018, and the new Sweden-India Transport Innovation and Safety Partnership (SITIS) is a concrete example of the cooperation between the two countries. SITIS was launched in Stockholm last week in the presence of India’s Minister of Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, and Thomas Eneroth, Sweden’s Minister for Infrastructure, as well as CEOs and senior management of various Swedish and Indian companies, academia and research institutes.
Leading Swedish and Indian companies and institutes with expertise in road safety have come together to form the SITIS as a long-term platform for innovation and to act as a centre for excellence on traffic safety research. The SITIS partnership will build deeper understanding of traffic safety in India, and also 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 in both countries. The lessons learned from SITIS research will be used for development needs in different parts of the world in order to strengthen and improve traffic safety as widely as possible.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that while there are more than 150 000 deaths per year on roads in India, progress on reducing fatalities has stagnated in Sweden. Governments agree that there is great potential provided by new developments, such as connectivity, electro-mobility, automation, digitization and artificial intelligence (AI), where both India and Sweden could implement effective technology and system-level measures to improve traffic safety. This demands an integrated approach where mobilising stakeholders and implementing cost effective measures is a key challenge.
SITIS aims to achieve that by bringing together leading organisations in the road safety arena from Sweden and India to help deliver the United Nations’ 2030 Global Goals for sustainable development (SDG) and enable efficient global transport systems, and 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.
“We know that road safety is crucial to driving prosperity and development in the world. 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,” explained Martin Lundstedt, CEO of the Volvo Group, one of the initiators of SITIS. “We can all use these learnings to support our safety efforts across other parts of the world, as well as Sweden. By getting leading companies and premier research and academic institutes of the both countries to work together, we have the combined potential to accelerate safety progress through new and innovative solutions.”
Vikram Nair, Tech Mahindra’s president for the EMEA region, added, “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.”