Under the move, highways will be assessed under three parameters: Efficiency (45%), Safety (35%) and User Services (20%)
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, is taking various measures to improve road conditions and services for Indian citizens. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport, Highways and MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprised), has stressed the need for a performance audit of road maintenance and related infrastructure projects.
Under this initiative, a ranking system has been introduced wherein NHAI conducts a performance audit. Highways will be ranked on the basis of three parameters: Efficiency (45%), Safety (35%) and User Services (20%).
Criteria checked by for auditing include operating speeds, access control, waiting time at toll booths; signage displays, road marking and rate of accidents or similar hazards. NHAI will also take into account the average response time in the event of an accident, availability of grade separator at intersections; installation of crash barriers and whether the roads are properly illuminated.
The system employs an Advanced Traffic Management System to do a structural audit. It assesses the cleanliness, available amenities and plantations alongside the highway. These assessment parameters are based on international standards and practices. Each corridor gets a final score, based on which NHAI will take steps to improve quality and level of service wherever it is found lacking.
Highways are rated on a scale of 0-100 marks for all 570 stretches in the country. One stretch extends between two toll plazas on a specific route. The study is being undertaken to ensure that all highway users paying toll are assured a quality travel experience.
Along with assessing India’s network of highways, there will be a separate ranking programme for BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer), HAM (Hybrid Annuity Mode) and EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) projects. The primary aim is to enhance operational efficiency and improve the quality of road maintenance.
Earlier last month, NHAI adopted a new model to get advance alerts in terms of delays and disputes in the execution of an ongoing project. Data Lake and Project Management software was launched to make the entire workflow online. NHAI confirms that all project documentation and contractual decisions will be done only via the online portal.
This helps make a quick decision as the system would predict the financial impact of different alternatives based on historical data. There are several pending arbitration cases related to delay in handing over encumbrance free land, shifting of utilities, idling charges, etc.