You are on page 1of 7


Meaning of Transport
Transport refers to the activity that facilitates physical movement of goods as well as
individuals from one place to another. In business, it is considered as an auxiliary to trade,
that means, it supports trade and industry in carrying raw materials to the place of production
and distributing finished products for consumption.

Importance of Transport
Followings are the points of importance of transport.
a. Makes available raw materials to manufacturers or producers: Transport makes
it possible to carry raw materials from places where they are available, to places
where they can be processed and assembled into finished goods.
b. Makes available goods to customers: Transport makes possible movement of
goods from one place to another with great ease and speed. Thus, consumers
spread in different parts of the country have the benefit of consuming goods
produced at distant places.
c. Enhances standard of living: Easy means of transport facilitates large-scale
production at low costs. It gives consumers the choice to make use of different quantities
of goods at different prices. So it raises the standard of living of the people.
d. Helps during emergencies and natural calamities: In times of national crisis, due
to war or internal disturbance, transport helps in quick movement of troops and the
supplies needed in the operation.
e. Helps in creation of employment: Transport provides employment opportunity to
individuals as drivers, conductors, pilots, cabin crew, captain of the ship, etc. who are
directly engaged in transport business. It also provides employment to people indirectly
in the industries producing various means of transport and other transport equipments.
People can also provide repairing and maintenance services by opening service centres
at convenient locations.
f. Helps in labour mobility: Transport helps a lot in providing mobility to workers.
You may be aware that people from our country go to foreign countries to work
in different industries and factories. Foreigners also come India to work. In India,
people also move from one part to another in search of work. Similarly, it is not
always possible to have workers near the factory. Most industries have their own
transport system to bring the workers from where they reside to the place of work.
g. Helps in bringing nations together: Transport facilitates movement of people from
one country to another. It helps in exchange of cultures, views and practices between
the people of different countries. This brings about greater understanding among people
and awareness about different countries. Thus, it helps to promote a feeling of
international brotherhood.

Road Transport(

The Indian Roadways play a crucial role in connecting the different parts of India. Over the years after independence
there has been an extensive development of the network of roads across the length and breadth of India. Road
network of India is the largest road networks(3.314 million kilometers ) in the world. India's road network consists of
national highways, state highways, district roads and village roads. National Highways are found all over the country.
They are indispensable as far as communication by
roads is concerned. National highways connects States,states' capitals, big cities and ports. National highways carry
approximately 40 % of the total traffic but they are only 2 % of the entire road network. Where as State Highways are
considered as the main roads of the State. Major cities of the States and capital of the state are connected by state
highways. While District roads are connecting with major roads and village roads. Village roads provide linkage to
other roads in order to meet their daily needs and access to nearby markets.


Roadways in India have come a long way. Starting from the pugdandies (a small path created naturally due to
frequent walks) of earlier times to the present-day Rajpath of Delhi ,the country has crossed many spheres of road
travel. The 'thread that binds the nation together' is truly a deserving metaphor for a road network that is one of the
largest in the world.

In the Atharva Veda, we find references to road construction and information on precautions to be taken. Kautilya's
Arthasashtra mentioned about mechanism of roads for chariots and stresses upon the traffic rules and road safety.
With the development of culture and trade, cities like Vaishali, Sravasti, Rajagriha, Kurukshetra, and Ujjaini had roads
to facilitate socio-economic intermingling. Ujjaini, capital of Avanti, was an important trade center and connected with
northern trunk routes to modern Bharuch, an important seaport.

Development of roads took a new turn during Mauryan rule in the 4th century. The administration constructed Rajpath
(high roads) and Banikpaths (merchant roads). Megasthenes, the Greek traveler, wrote that the Mauryan Empire took
a big stride to develop roads for communication. He recorded a Rajamarga or the king's highway, which was also a
trade route and a precursor to the modern Grand Trunk Road. This tradition continued and Chandragupta's
grandson, Ashoka, who was a great and compassionate ruler, strengthened the system immensely. At time of
Mauryan's , roads played a key role in military operations to keep the vast country united.

Records reveal that during the Gupta era there was also a road connection with South India. There were three major
routes-one was a connection with Northeast India via Didisa, the other connected to the seaport of the Western coast
and the third connected to Pratisthana, the capital of Satvahana Empire. There are also evidences of a route
facilitating trade with Iran and China.

The Mughal era was the golden era for roads. India was effectively connected to control the vast empire. With the
advent of the British, a new awakening dawned upon India. The East India Company revived ancient routes and
renovation was initiated. The technology of the West came into play and linkages were well established which
provided the British the inroad to rule India for over two hundred years.

Roads also worked as inroads to the development of civilizations, and provided human beings a corridor of
communication for venturing out to newer frontiers of achievements.

Present Scenario

Today, alternative modes of transport are on the anvil. Yet, amidst all this, Road transport is still the dominant mode
of transportation - both for moving goods and passengers. India has a huge network of roads comprising of National
Highways, State Highways, Major District Roads and Village and other roads . Out of total length of national highways
, 27 % is single lane/intermediate lane; whereas 59 % is double-lane standard; and the rest 14 % is four-lane/ six-
lane/ eight lane standard. The road network is assuming a pivotal role in the movement of goods and passengers.
There has been a substantial shift in the mode of transportation from Railways towards the road sector. While the
Railways handle only 40% of the freight and 20% of the passengers load, 60% of the goods and 80% of passenger's
movement takes place through roads. It is anticipated that the function of the road network will further increase in the
foreseeable future.


Roads are the vital lifelines of the economy making possible trade and commerce. Roads are most preferred modes
of transportation and considered as one of the cost effective modes of transportation. Roads are easily accessible to
each individual. Roads facilitate movement of both men and materials anywhere within a country. It helps in socio-
economic development as well as brings national integration. It provides linkages to other modes of transportation
like railways,airways, and shipping, etc. An efficient and well-established network of roads is desired for promoting
trade and commerce in any country and also fulfills the needs of a sound transportation system for sustained
economic development. Road transport is contributing 3.69% to GDP where as all transportation modes are
contributing a total of 5.5% to GDP.

Advantages of Road transport(

Road transport has the following advantages.
(i) It is a relatively cheaper mode of transport as compared to other modes.
(ii) Perishable goods can be transported at a faster speed by road carriers over a short
(iii) It is a flexible mode of transport as loading and unloading is possible at any
destination. It provides door-to-door service.
(iv) It helps people to travel and carry goods from one place to another, in places
which are not connected by other means of transport like hilly areas.
Limitations of Road transport
It has the following limitations.
(i) Due to limited carrying capacity road transport is not economical for long distance
transportation of goods.
(ii) Transportation of heavy goods or goods in bulk by road involves high cost.
(iii) It is affected by adverse weather conditions. Floods, rain, landslide, etc., sometimes
create obstructions to road transport.


Indian Railways abbreviated as IR is the state-owned railway company of India, which owns and operates
most of the country's rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India.

Indian Railways has the largest rail network in Asia and the world's second largest under one management,
transporting 20 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily. It is one of the world's largest
commercial or utility employers, with more than 1.6 million employees.
Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India's independence, there were forty-two
rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the
world. IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network
of broad, metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities.

Initially, the Indian railways were both designed and built by the British, during their colonial rule of
the subcontinent.

Many railway stations are in gross disrepair, dirty, outdated and overcrowded, especially when compared
to stations in developed countries. Sometimes passengers are seen on trains hanging out windows and
even on the roof creating safety problems.[34] The interior of many train compartments are poorly
maintained from rust, dirt and common wear and tear. Given the political infighting and inefficiencies, it is
understandable that there are overcrowding, cleanliness and other maintenance issues. Although
accidents such as derailment and collisions are less common in recent times,[35]many are run over by
trains, especially in crowded areas. Indian Railways have accepted the fact that given the size of
operations, eliminating accidents is an unrealistic goal, and at best they can only minimize the accident
rate. Human error is the primary cause, leading to 83% of all train accidents in India. [36] While accident
rates are low - 0.55 accidents per million train kilometre,[36] the absolute number of people killed is high
because of the large number of people making use of the network. [37] While strengthening and
modernisation of railway infrastructure is in progress, much of the network still uses old signalling and has
antiquated bridges.[36] Lack of funds is a major constraint for speedy modernisation of the network, which
is further hampered by diversion of funds meant for infrastructure to lower-prioritised purposes due to
political compulsions.[37] In order to solve this problem, the Ministry of Railways in 2001 created a non-
lapsible safety fund of Rs. 17000 crore exclusively for the renewal of overaged tracks, bridges, rolling
stock and signalling gear.[38] In 2003, the Ministry also prepared a Corporate Safety Plan for the next ten
years with the objective of realising a vision of an accident-free and casualty-free railway system. The
plan, with and outlay of Rs. 31835 crore, also envisaged development of appropriate technology for
higher level of safety in train operation

Advantages of Rail transport

(i) It is a convenient mode of transport for travlling long distances.
(ii) It is relatively faster than road transport.
(iii) It is suitable for carrying heavy goods in large quantities over long distances.
(iv) Its operation is less affected by adverse weathers conditions like rain, floods, fog, etc.
Limitations of Railway transport
(i) It is relatively expensive for carrying goods and passengers over short distances.
(ii) It is not available in remote parts of the country.
(iii) It provides service according to fixed time schedule and is not flexible for loading or
unloading of goods at any place.
(iv) It involves heavy losses of life as well as goods in case of accident.

Notable trains and achievements

There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on IR — the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and
the Mountain railways of India:

 The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a narrow gauge railway in West Bengal.

 The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a metre gauge railway in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu.
 The Kalka-Shimla Railway, a narrow gauge railway in the Shivalik mountains in Himachal

The Palace on Wheels is a specially designed train, frequently hauled by a steam locomotive, for
promoting tourism in Rajasthan.

The Lifeline Express is a special train popularly known as the "Hospital-on-Wheels" which provides
healthcare to the rural areas. This train has a carriage that serves as an operating room, a second one
which serves as a storeroom and an additional two that serve as a patient ward. The train travels around
the country, staying at a location for about two months before moving elsewhere.

Among the famous locomotives, the Fairy Queen is the oldest operating locomotive in the world today,
though it is operated only for specials between Delhi and Alwar. John Bull, a locomotive older than Fairy
Queen, operated in 1981 commemorating its 150th anniversary. The Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi
Express are the superfast, fully air-conditioned trains that give the unique opportunity of experiencing
Indian Railways at its best.

I. Inland water transport

Inland water transport use boats, launches, barges, streamers, etc., to carry goods and
passengers on river and canal routes. These routes are called inland waterways and
are used in domestic or home trade to carry bulky goods. Passenger transport through
waterways is not so popular in our country. Inland water transport system exists only
in few states like. West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, etc.
II. Ocean transport
Ocean transport refers to movement of goods and passengers with the help of ships
through sea or ocean waterways. It plays an important role in the development of
international trade. It is also used for transporting goods and passengers in the coastal
areas. Ocean transport has its fixed route, which links almost all the countries of the world.
India has 12 major and 187 minor and intermediate ports along its more than 7500 km long coastline.
These ports serve the country’s growing foreign trade in petroleum products, iron ore, and coal, as well as
the increasing movement of containers. Inland water transportation remains largely undeveloped despite
India's 14,000 kilometers of navigable rivers and canals.

Advantages of water transport

Water Transport has the following advantages:
a. It is a relatively economical mode of transport for bulky and heavy goods.
b. It is a safe mode of transport with respect to occurance of accidents.
c. The cost of maintaining and constructing routes is very low as most of them are naturally
d. It promotes international trade.
Limitations of water transport
Water transport has the following limitations.
i. The depth and navigability of rivers and canals vary and thus, affect operations of
different transport vessels.
ii. It is a slow moving mode of transport and therefore not suitable for transport of
perishable goods.

Air transport
This is the fastest mode of transport. It carries goods and passengers through airways by
using different aircrafts like passenger aircraft, cargo aircraft, helicopters, etc. Besides
passengers it generally carries goods that are less bulky or of high value. In hilly and
mountainous areas where other mode of transport is not accessible, air transport is an
important as well as convenient mode. It is mostly used for transporting goods and passengers
during natural calamities like earthquake and floods, etc. During war, air transport plays an
important role in carrying soldiers as well as supplies to the required areas.
Air transport may be classified as domestic and international air transport. While domestic
air transport mainly facilitates movement within the country, international air transport is
used for carrying goods and passengers between different countries. Air transport is carried
out in fixed air routes, which connect almost all the countries.

The Indian air transport services were initially developed under
private initiatives. However, in 1953, under the Air Corporation Act,
the operation of scheduled air services was made a public monopoly.
This monopoly lasted for almost 40 years until it was repealed by the
Air Corporations (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 1994. At
present, the air transport sector is fairly liberalized with Air India and
Indian Airlines – both public sector undertakings – providing
international air services together with a host of foreign carriers. Apart
from Indian Airlines some private airlines, such as Jet Airways and
Sahara, operate domestic air services. Infrastructure facilities at airport
terminals are provided by the Airport Authority of India (AAI),
Advantages of Air transport
It has the following advantages.
i. It is the fastest mode of transport. (not an advantage)
ii. It is very useful in transporting goods and passengers to the area, which are not
accessible by any other means.
iii. It is the most convenient mode of transport during natural calamities.


• India’s roads are congested and of poor quality. Sign-Up

To receive information on
• Rural areas have poor access..
• The railways are facing severe capacity constraints.
Urban centres are severely congested.
• Ports are congested and inefficient.
• Airport infrastructure is strained. .