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IIT Madras COERS conducts training on scientific crash investigation

IIT Madras COERS conducted a programme for Greater Chennai Traffic Police on ‘Training on Structured Crash Investigation using Root Cause Analysis Matrix (RCAM)’ from 6 to 9 September 2023.

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The programme by IIT Madras COERS aimed to impart design thinking skills to the investigation officer (IO) to adopt a human factors or empathy-based approach in identifying the root causes of an accident.

IIT Madras COERSThis comprehensive systems approach to scientific enforcement powers them to communicate their hypothesis effectively, say sources from IIT Madras COERS.

Two parts

Event by IIT Madras COERS (IIT Madras Centre of Excellence for Road Safety) was conducted in two parts, the workshop consists of three-day hands-on training session at IIT Madras followed by application of the learnings on field by the IOs in live cases and presenting their findings after a two-week period.

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This workshop aims to equip the IO of the traffic police with the practical skills required for on-field data collection, collation, and analysis in a structured format, say sources from IIT Madras COERS.


Explaining the need for the programme, R Sudhakar, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Greater Chennai Police, said this course will have immense value for the police.

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We sometimes miss the human aspect when investigating traffic accidents and this will help us understand that by instituting a mind-set change in how we conduct investigations. With a change in approach of our investigative methods, we hope to achieve better closure rate which in turn will help us in bringing out more meaningful interventions to prevent future accidents from occurring, he said at the event conducted by IIT Madras COERS.

IIT Madras COERSOutcomes

The key outcomes targeted from this workshop by IIT Madras COERS include:

Ø Hands-on training on using the root cause analysis matrix (RCAM) methodology for performing a structure crash investigation.

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Ø Knowledge sharing of best practices on design thinking approach to creative problem solving for better understanding of various human factors leading to road crashes.

Ø Encourage use of data-driven and scientific strategies to develop targeted interventions.

Ø Improve the capacity of the investigation officers to perform death audits.


Elaborating on this program, Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian, Head of IIT Madras COERS and RBG Labs, Department of Engineering Design, IIT Madras, said, “By applying design thinking principles in a co-creative environment, we hope to introduce the investigating officers to a more result-oriented approach to crash investigations.

Towards this a structured framework called RCAM based on ‘Man, Machine (Vehicle), Method (of driving) and Environment (3M&E)’ model was developed by IIT Madras CoERS. This is a human-centric model towards arriving at a root cause, said the head of IIT Madras COERS.

Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian added, “By following a structured analysis, data-driven interventions can be formulated to prevent repetition and overlapping of activities.

Often, the human element is forgotten when investigating a crash. Through this course, we are trying to initiate a mind-set change where investigating officers will have more empathy, said Prof Venkatesh of IIT Madras COERS.

IIT Madras COERSAbout Centre Of Excellence in Road Safety (IIT Madras COERS)

The Centre of Excellence in Road Safety (IIT Madras COERS) is funded by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India, to perform evidence-based integrated approach to Road Safety.

IIT Madras COERS works on various aspects of human factors engineering, road engineering and vehicle engineering to bring about significant improvements in road safety globally.

This IIT Madras COERS also advices various stakeholders and Governments to bring about a data-driven systems approach to road safety.

About IIT Madras

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) was established in 1959 by the Government of India as an ‘Institute of National Importance.’

The activities of the Institute in various fields of Science and Technology are carried out in 17 academic departments and several advanced interdisciplinary research academic centres.

The Institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes leading to B.Tech., M.Sc., M.B.A., M.Tech., M.S., and Ph.D., degrees in a variety of specialisations.

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