1.1 Introduction to Indian Roadways
Roads are considered to be one of the most cost effective and preferred modes of transportation. Roads are critical for country's overall socio-economic development. Anefficient and well-established road network is inevitable for promoting trade and commerce aswell as meeting the needs of a sound transportation system in the country. Road transportaccounts for about 65 per cent of freight (in ton-km) and 86.7 per cent of passenger traffic (inpassenger-km) in India. India has one of the largest road networks in the world with a totalroad length of 3.34 million kilometres. Indian road network consists of expressways, nationalhighways, state highways, district roads and village roads. The number of vehicles has beengrowing at an average rate of 10.16 per cent per annum over the five years (2003-2008). Theshare of road in total traffic has grown from 13.8 per cent of freight traffic and 15.4 per centof passenger traffic in 1950-51 to an estimated 65 per cent of freight traffic and 86.7 per centof passenger traffic by the end of 2004-05. This rapid growth in traffic has led to deteriorationof road infrastructure, traffic congestion and increase in the cost of transportation. Thereforethe road infrastructure needs to be improved for better energy efficiency, lesser pollution andenhanced road safety. The Indian economy has been one of the fastest growing economies inthe world. To sustain this growth, there is a need to improve and expand the roadinfrastructure.
1.2 Indian Road Network
India has the second largest road network in the world. Indian roads can be broadly classifiedin four categories as shown in the table below.
Table 1: Indian Roads Classification
1 National Highways/Expressways 66754 km2 State Highways 128000 km3 Major and other District Roads 470000 km4 Rural Roads 2650000 kmSource:
Department of Road Transport and Highways, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. 2008. Annual Report 2007