IDFC Institute and the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) formerly known as the Nudge Unit, a social purpose company that was originally set up in the UK Prime Minister’s Office, are collaborating to improve traffic compliance and management in Chennai, using behavioural insights aimed at reducing fatal accidents.
A behavioural intervention is a subtle ‘nudge’ that can either trigger favourable outcomes or tackle unfavourable ones in a targeted way. Governments are increasingly using behavioural interventions to design, enhance, and reassess their policies and services. While traffic management is a long-term effort, ultimately requiring the scaling-up of infrastructural capacity, there are pertinent issues that can be tackled by nudging citizens to adopt better driving behaviours and adhere to traffic regulations.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), in its report, Road Accidents in India 2017, observed that Tamil Nadu has the highest number of road accidents and the second-highest number of fatalities due to road accidents in India. This is attributed to various reasons including poor infrastructure and lighting, over-speeding, fault of drivers / pedestrians, poor road conditions, and vehicular defect.
The Ride Safe Initiative falls under a key area of interest within IDFC Institute’s work, namely deepening and enhancing state capacity. India, like most rapidly growing emerging markets, faces a severe issue of lack of state capacity at all levels of Government. Our work has helped us identify a set of specific tools/interventions that can build and strengthen state capacity. One such tool is the use of behavioural interventions.
The project is supported by the Chennai City Traffic Police, Office of the Finance Secretary (Government of Tamil Nadu), Chennai Smart Cities Limited, and Eicher Group Foundation.