The Government of India has partnered with the University of Birmingham in the UK to facilitate the monitoring and rehabilitation of rural roads.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed that enables the university to provide the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) with the necessary technology to carry out automated analysis of rural road conditions.

University of Birmingham vice-chancellor David Eastwood was quoted by news agency PTI as saying: “We are a global ‘civic’ university, and proud that our civil engineering experts are working with partners in India to contribute to improving the well-being of its citizens.

“The agreement will see the University of Birmingham and MoRD working together on promoting research, building traffic capacity and redefining standards of practice in the construction and maintenance of rural roads.”

The collaboration also includes setting up a Global Centre of Excellence in Rural Roads.

In addition, the University of Birmingham will organise professional development programmes for groups working on rural roads, based on MoRD-identified requirements.

MoRD Additional Secretary Alka Upadhyaya was quoted as saying: “We look forward to working with the University of Birmingham to create a partnership that will further improve India’s road network connecting towns and villages, benefiting a host of communities across the country.”

Notably, a recent World Bank report identified that India needs an investment of around $109bn over the next decade to halve road crash fatalities.

The report highlighted that the lack of systemic investments in road safety programmes contributes to the high death rate on India’s roads.