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  • Press Release

UL and Ashoka Collaborate for “Safer Roads, Safer India” Campaign

March 27, 2014

A global competition to crowdsource innovations that enhance road safety

  • Six best ideas to be awarded prizes worth INR 1.8 million
  • The winning ideas will be incubated jointly by UL and Ashoka in partnership with civic authorities and key stakeholders
  • One of the chosen ideas will be piloted in Bangalore
  • Develop a network of individuals, organizations and agencies focused on road safety



Bangalore, March 27, 2014: Consider this: Every hour 19 people are killed and 40 are disabled due to road accidents in India. In 2012 alone, there were 2, 10,000 fatalities according to the World Health Organisation in India. Annually road accidents create an estimated loss of 2 percent of the GDP by reducing valuable workforce and stressing the health care system. Now is the time to rise together to address this challenge.

In a move that is geared to provoke thought and action, UL (Underwriters Laboratories) the global safety science leader and Ashoka, the international network of change makers launched "Safer Roads, Safer India" campaign, a global competition to crowd source innovations that will enhance road safety.

While the government, NGOs, active citizens and organizations are aware of the crisis and certain steps have been initiated, road deaths and accidents continue to climb. Underlining the need for new solutions, UL and Ashoka are partnering to activate road safety networks in India.  This will connect active citizens, social innovators, media partners, policy makers, business leaders and other key stakeholders working to transform India's roads and save lives.

As a first step towards realising this goal, the "Safer Roads, Safer India" competition aims to identify the best solutions in the following categories.

  • Active Citizenship (e.g. innovative awareness campaigns)
  • Technology (e.g. use of everyday technologies like GPS and smart phones)
  • Policy and Governance (e.g. improving bystander response)
  • Smart urban design (e.g. better pedestrian facilities)

One winner will be chosen per category. A panel of safety experts and thought leaders led by Prof. Dinesh Mohan, Henry Ford Professor for Biomechanics and Transportation Safety, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi will pick the winning ideas for their innovation, ease of implementation, impact and sustainability. The winners will be awarded prizes of INR 300,000 each.  In addition to the above four categories there will be two additional prizes:

a) Most innovative idea
b) People's choice idea

The details of the competition can be found at The deadline to enter the competition is June 4, 2014.

Speaking on this initiative, R. A. Venkitachalam, Vice President, Public Safety, UL said, "Road accidents not only cause tragic loss of life, but have a negative impact on economy as well. We in India tend to see accidents as a ‘part of life'. This must change. We, as a country need to bring road safety into mainstream discussion and forums and demand safer roads. This means effective policy and regulatory framework and its implementation, better infrastructure especially better road designs and investment in public transportation."

"The competition aims to support system changing disruptive creative ideas to ignite change for achieving safer roads in India. We are excited that this partnership leverages the Ashoka community of social entrepreneurs, experts, and investors to bring together the best ideas for large scale social transformation and catalyze this critical movement." said Vishnu Swaminathan, Director of Ashoka India.

Additional information on entering the competition, plus guidelines and assessment criteria, can be found at

About UL
UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for 120 years. Its more than 10,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit

About Ashoka
Founded in 1980, Ashoka is the world's working community of over 3,000 leading social entrepreneurs. It champions the most important new social change ideas and supports the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, succeed, and collaborate. Ashoka's vision is to create change today, for an Everyone A ChangemakerTM society to become the reality of tomorrow. Ashoka India was founded in 1981. It has built a rich network of more than 350 Ashoka Fellows that are creating unique, pattern-changing solutions to the country's most critical social problems. The Ashoka Changemakers program convenes and connects high-potential changemakers, their ideas and their resources, through the power of collaborative competitions and partner networks.