Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has criticised some of the surprisingly slow speed limits on multi-lane roads in India. Speaking at a road safety virtual conference Way to Vision Zero last week, Gadkari said it is unfortunate when vehicles plying on such roads are penalised for breaching speed limit of a mere 40 kmph.
The Union Minister came out strongly in support of increasing speed limits, especially on multi-lane roads and sought state road administration to go easy on penalising vehicles for speeding.
Gadkari said that rules regulating speed limit of vehicles, especially on the multi-lane roads, should be reworked. “I have already discussed this issue with my officials. We need to revise our speed norms considering the new roads being built, including expressways and Greenfield highways, widening of highways to four and six lanes," said Gadkari.
Speaking elaborately on the state of Indian roads and high number of accidents, Gadkari admitted that one of the reasons behind high accident rates in India is road engineering, road design. He said his ministry has identified such black spots, and has removed one thousand such spots to improve road conditions. Gadkari also assured that the Centre will help state governments to develop and maintain state highways.
The average speed on Indian roads is one of the slowest across the world. According to study published by a panel from various US universities, titled Mobility and Congestion in Urban India, the average speed of vehicles on Indian roads was less than 35 kmph. The study was based on 154 cities across India.
According to a Mint report in 2019, 10-km commute in Hyderabad takes 26 minutes on average. In Chennai and Delhi, it takes 29 minutes while the same distance takes 34 minutes in Bengaluru, 37 in Mumbai and 39 minutes in Kolkata. The average 10-km urban commute takes 24 minutes, according to a World Bank study that calculated commute times across 154 Indian cities. In Singapore and London, the 10-km commute takes an average of 21 minutes.
On most Indian city roads, the speed limit for vehicles top out at around 50 kmph. It’s only on the highways and expressways when the speed limit goes up to three figures. For instance, the Yamuna Expressway connecting Delhi and Agra, has a speed limit of 100 kmph. The Eastern Peripheral Expressway, a high-speed bypass corridor built around Delhi, has speed limit of 120 kmph. However, some of the highways in India have sections that fall under the state authority and they are free to fix speed limit of their own choice.