India has one of the largest road networks in the world, aggregating to about 2.3 million km at present. In India, roadways have preceded railways. They still have an edge over railways in view of the ease with which they can be built and maintained. The growing importance of road transport vis-à-vis rail transport is rooted
in the following reasons;
(a) construction cost of roads is much lower than that of railway lines,
(b) roads can traverse comparatively more dissected and undulating topography,
(c) roads can negotiate higher gradients of slopes and as such can traverse mountains such as the Himalayas,
(d) road transport is economical in transportation of few persons and relatively smaller amount of goods over short distances,
(e) it also provides door-to-door service, thus the cost of loading and unloading is much lower, (f) road transport is also used as a feeder to other modes of transport such as they provide a link between railway stations, air and sea ports.
In India, roads are classified in the following six classes according to their capacity. Look at the map of the National Highways and find out about the significant role played by these roads.
Golden Quadrilateral Super Highways:
The government has launched a major road development project linking Delhi-Kolkata-
Chennai-Mumbai and Delhi by six-lane Super Highways. The North-South corridors linking Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir) and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu), and East-West Corridor connecting Silcher (Assam) and
Porbander (Gujarat) are part of this project. The major objective of these Super Highways is to reduce the time and distance between the mega cities of India. These highway projects are being implemented by the
National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
National Highways link extreme parts of the country. These are the primary road systems and are laid and maintained by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD). A number of major National Highways run in North-South and East-West directions. The historical Sher-Shah Suri Marg is called National Highway
No.1, between Delhi and Amritsar.
Roads linking a state capital with different district headquarters are known as State Highways. These roads are constructed and maintained by the State Public Works Department (PWD) in State and Union Territories.
These roads connect the district headquarters with other places of the district. These roads are maintained by the Zila Parishad.
Rural roads, which link rural areas and villages with towns, are classified under this category. These roads received special impetus under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana. Under this scheme special provisions are made so that every village in the country is linked to a major town in the country by an all season motorable road.
Apart from these, Border Roads Organisation a Government of India undertaking constructs and maintains roads in the bordering areas of the country. This organisation was established in 1960 for the development of the roads of strategic importance in the northern and northeastern border areas. These roads have improved accessibility in areas of difficult terrain and have helped in the economic development of these area.
- National urban transport policy adopted by UPA in 2006. However, it hasn’t been implemented properly by the states
- Provides for creation of a statutory United Metropolitan Transport Authority to coordinate and streamline infrastructure creation and land use, and integrate bus, rail and feeder services.
- Fare structure for comfortable bus travel must be pegged at less than the marginal cost of using a two-wheeler. <isn’t it already so?>
- Walking and bicycling should be prioritized and the integrated use of buses and trains promoted with the single-ticket concept