Roads in India

Roads are an important mode of transport in India. India has a network of over 6,215,797 kilometres (3,862,317 mi) of roads as of 31 March 2020. This is the second-largest road network in the world, after the United States with 6,853,024 kilometres (4,258,272 mi).[2] At (1.90 km, 1.18 mi) of roads per square kilometre of land, the quantitative density of India's road network is equal to that of Hong Kong, and substantially higher than the United States (0.71 km, 0.44 mi), China (0.54 km, 0.34 mi), Brazil (0.23 km, 0.14 mi) and Russia (0.09 km, 0.056 mi).[2] Adjusted for its large population, India has approximately 5.13 kilometres (3.19 mi) of roads per 1,000 people, which is much lower than Unites States 20.5 kilometres (12.7 mi) but higher than that of China 3.6 kilometres (2.2 mi). India's road network carries over 71 percent of its freight and about 85 percent of passenger traffic.[3]

Indian National Highway network map
Indian highway density map in lane kilometers s per 100,000 people as of 2012. Average lane kilometres per 100,000 equals average kilometres of road per 100,000 multiplied by average number of lanes per road for a country. India's average was 7.7 lane km per 100,000, compared to 49 for Japan and 114 for the US.[1]

Since the 1990s, major efforts have been underway to modernize the country's road infrastructure.[4] As of 31 March 2020, 70.00% of Indian roads were paved. As of March 2020, India had completed and placed into use over 136,440 kilometres (84,780 mi) of four or more lane highways connecting many of its major manufacturing, commercial and cultural centres.[2] According to Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as of March 2020, India had about 138,531 kilometres (86,079 mi) of national highways and expressways, plus another 176,818 kilometres (109,870 mi) of state highways. Major projects are being implemented under the Bharatmala, a government initiative. Private builders and highway operators are also implementing major projects.[5][6]

OrganizationEdit

The Indian road network is administered by various government authorities, given India's federal form of government. The following table shows the total length of India's road network by type of road and administering authority as of 31 March 2020.[2]

Category Managing Authority Length (km) Length share
National highways Ministry of Road Transport and Highways 151,000[2] 2.19%
State highways Public works department of state/union territory 186,528 3.00%
District Roads Public works department of state/union territory 632,154 10.17%
Rural roads Panchayats and PMGSY 4,535,511 72.97%
Urban roads Municipal corporations and municipalities 544,683 8.76%
Project roads Various government departments of states/union territories, and SAIL, NMDC and BRO 354,921 5.70%
Total Total roadways 6,215,797 100%

HistoryEdit

The first evidence of road development in the Indian subcontinent can be traced back to approximately around 2800 BC in the ancient cities of Harrapa and Mohenjodaro of the Indus Valley Civilization. Ruling emperors and monarchs of ancient and medieval India continued to construct roads to connect the cities. The existing Grand Trunk Road was re-built by the Mauryan Empire, and further rebuilt by subsequent entities such as the Sur Empire, the Mughal Empire and the British Empire.[7]

In the 1830s, the British East India Company started a programme of metalled road construction (a.k.a. gravel road), for both commercial and administrative purposes. The Grand Trunk Road – from Calcutta, through Delhi to Peshawar – was rebuilt at a cost of £1,000 per mile; roads from Bombay to Pune, Bombay to Agra and Bombay to Madras were constructed; and a Public Works Department and the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee were founded, to train and employ local surveyors, engineers and overseers, to perform the work, and to maintain the roads. This programme resulted in an estimated 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) of metalled roads being constructed by the 1850s.[8][9]

In December 1934, the Indian Road Congress (IRC) was formed, on the recommendations of the Indian Road Development Committee (Jayakar Committee) of the Government of India. In 1943, they proposed a twenty-year plan to increase the road network from 350,000 kilometres (220,000 mi) to 532,700 kilometres (331,000 mi) by 1963, to achieve a road density of 16 km per 100 km2 of land. The construction was to be paid in part through the duty imposed, since 1939, on petrol sales. This became known as the Nagpur Plan. The construction target was achieved in the late 1950s.[10] In 1956, a Highways Act was passed, and a second twenty-year plan proposed for the period 1961–1981, with the ambition of doubling road density to 32 km per 100 km2. This second plan became known as the Bombay Road Plan.[10]

In 1988, an autonomous entity called the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was established by an Act of Parliament and came into existence on 15 June 1989. The Act empowered NHAI to develop, maintain and manage India's road network through National Highways. However, little happened until India introduced widespread economic liberalization in the early 1990s. Since 1995, NHAI has increasingly privatized road network development in India.[11]

 
Golden Quadrilateral connects the four major Metropolitan Cities of India, viz., Delhi (north), Kolkata (east), Chennai (south) and Mumbai (west).
 
NH76: Part of India's Golden Quadrilateral highway network

In 1998, National Highways Development Project (NHDP) was started by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The flagship project of the NHDP is the Golden Quadrilateral, a total of 5,846 kilometres (3,633 mi) of four-to-six-lane highways connecting the four major cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. The total cost of the project is 300 billion (US$4.0 billion), funded largely by the government's special petroleum product tax revenues and government borrowing. In January 2012, India announced that the four-lane GQ highway network was complete.[12][13]

 
North-South East-West Corridors connects Srinagar to Kanyakumari and Porbandar to Silchar
 
NH75: Part of India's NS and EW Corridor highway network

Another important road project of the NHDP is the 7,142-kilometre (4,438 mi) four-to-six-lane North–South and East–West Corridor, comprising national highways connecting four extreme points of the country. The project aims to connect Srinagar in the north to Kanyakumari in the south (including a spur from Salem to Kanyakumari, via Coimbatore and Kochi), and Silchar in the east to Porbandar in the west. As of 31 October 2016, 90.99% of the project had been completed, 5.47% of the project work is under implementation and 3.52% of the total length is remaining.[14]

As of May 2017, under NHDP, about 28,915 kilometres (17,967 mi) of four-to-six-lane highways have been constructed (including the GQ and N–S/E–W Corridor), while a total of 48,793 kilometres (30,319 mi) of road has been planned to have four-to-six lanes under the NHDP.[15]

The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) is a special agency created by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India in the year 2014 to build highways in technical challenging and high altitude regions of Northeastern states, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. It has the task to implement the Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North Eastern Region (SARDP-NE) in National Highways portion. The SARDP-NE is under implementation in Phases.

  • Phase-A: Approved in 2005, it included about 4,099 km length of roads (3,014 km of NH and 1,085 km of State roads). The SARDP-NE Phase ‘A’ is expected to be completed by 2023-24.[16]
  • Phase-B: It covers 3,723 km (2,210 km NHs and 1,513 km of State roads) of road. Phase ‘B’ of SARDP-NE shall be taken up after completion of Phase ‘A’.[17]


Bharatmala is a centrally-sponsored and funded road and highways project of the Government of India,[18] started in 2017, with a target of constructing 83,677 km (51,994 mi)[19] of new highways at an estimated cost of 5.35 trillion (US$71 billion). Bharatmala Phase I plans to construct 34,800 kilometres (21,600 mi) of highways (including the remaining projects that were under NHDP) by 2021–22, at an estimated cost of 535,000 crore (US$71 billion).[20] In 2021, Asia's longest high speed track, National Automotive Test Track was inaugurated in Indore, which would be used to measure the maximum speed capabilities of high-end cars and other categories of vehicles.[21]

India's rate of road building has accelerated since 2010s. It averaged about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) per day in 2014–15 and 30 kilometres (19 mi) per day in 2018–19.[22] The country's target is to build 40 kilometres (25 mi) of highways per day.[23]

On July 21, 2021, Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Nitin Gadkari said that India has created a world record of constructing 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) of four-lane concrete road in 24 hours and 26 kilometres (16 mi) of single lane bitumen road in just 21 hours as per the highest IRC norms and specifications of the MoRTH to ensure quality control. Also, an average of 36.5 kilometres (22.7 mi) of highways have been constructed every day during 2020-21.[24]

Growth of Road Network by Categories (km)[2]
Road Category 1950–51 1960–61 1970–71 1980–81 1990–91 2000–01 2010–11 2015–16 2020-21
National Highways 19,811 (4.95%) 23,798 (4.54%) 23,838 (2.61%) 31,671 (2.13%) 33,650 (1.45%) 57,737 (1.71%) 70,934 (1.52%) 101,011 (1.80%) 151,000 (2.51%)
State highways ^ ^ 56,765 (6.20%) 94,359 (6.35%) 127,311 (5.47%) 132,100 (3.92%) 163,898 (3.50%) 176,166 (3.14%) 186,528 (3.00%)
District roads 173,723 (43.44%) 257,125 (49.02%) 276,833 (30.26%) 421,895 (28.40%) 509,435 (21.89%) 736,001 (21.82%) 998,895 (21.36%) 561,940 (10.03%) 632,154 (10.17%)
Rural roads 206,408 (51.61%) 197,194 (37.60%) 354,530 (38.75%) 628,865 (42.34%) 1,260,430 (54.16%) 1,972,016 (58.46%) 2,749,804 (58.80%) 3,935,337 (70.23%) 4,535,511 (72.97%)
Urban roads 0 46,361 (8.84%) 72,120 (7.88%) 123,120 (8.29%) 186,799 (8.03%) 252,001 (7.47%) 411,679 (8.80%) 509,730 (9.10%) 544,683 (8.76%)
Project roads 0 0 130,893 (14.31%) 185,511 (12.49%) 209,737 (9.01%) 223,665 (6.63%) 281,628 (6.02%) 319,109 (5.70%) 354,921 (5.71%)
Total 399,942 524,478 914,979 1,485,421 2,327,362 3,373,520 4,676,838 5,603,293 6,215,797
Figures in parenthesis indicate the percentage of total road length for that fiscal year.

Types of roadsEdit

ExpresswaysEdit

 
Delhi Noida Direct (DND Flyway)
 
Mumbai Pune Expressway

Expressways are high-speed roads that are four- or more lanes, and are access controlled where entrance and exit is controlled by the use of ramps that are incorporated into the design of the expressway. Most of the existing expressways in India are toll roads.[25] Expressways make up approximately 2,091 km (1,299 mi) of India's road network, as of 2020.[26][25] The government has drawn up a target to build a 18,637-kilometre (11,580 mi) network of new expressways by 2022.[27]

National Expressways Authority of India (NEAI) operating under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will be in-charge of the construction and maintenance of expressways.[28] The NHAI by Government of India aims to expand the expressway network and plans to add an additional 18,637 km (11,580 mi) of expressways by 2022 apart from existing national highways.[29]

India's first 8-lane wide access-controlled expressway, the Delhi Noida Direct Flyway (DND Flyway), operational in January 2001, is an expressway connecting Delhi and Noida in the states of Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The Mumbai Pune Expressway, connecting Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra fully operational in 2002, is India's first 6-lane wide access-controlled tolled expressway.[30][31] The Yamuna Expressway is a 165 km (103 mi) six-lane controlled-access expressway opened on 9 August 2012.[32] On 21 November 2016, the 302 km (188 mi) six-lane Agra Lucknow Expressway was opened.[33][34] Under construction as of 2019, the Mumbai–Nagpur Expressway is expected to become the largest expressway in the country. Several expressway projects, such as the Chennai-Bangalore Expressway, Chennai-Salem Expressway, Delhi-Jaipur Expressway, Lucknow-Kanpur Expressway are planned/under-construction. Ganga Expressway is approved and expected to be under-construction by end of 2021.[35]

National highwaysEdit

 
National Highway 16 (old NH 5) running through Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, a part of the Golden Quadrilateral highway network

National highways are highways connecting major cities throughout the country and are at-grade roads. National Highways are designated with NH, followed by the highway number. Indian national highways are further classified based on the width of the carriageway of the highway. India has 142,126 km (88,313 mi) of National Highways as of April 2019.[36] National Highways constituted 2.7% of India's total road network, but carried about 40% of road traffic, as of 2013.[37] In 2016, the government vowed to double the highway length from 96,000 to 2,00,000 km.[38]

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) are the authorities responsible for the development, maintenance and management of the National Highways in India. The NHAI has been undertaking developmental activities under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) in five phases. From 2018, the pending projects under NHDP are expected to be subsumed under Bharatmala. The NHAI is also responsible for implementing other projects on National Highways, primarily road connectivity to major ports in India.

The Golden Quadrilateral and North–South and East–West Corridor were major ongoing highway development projects in India.

National Highway classification (as of 31 March 2016)[2]
Lanes Length (km) Length share
Single-lane/intermediate lane 20,703 20.49%
Double-lane 55,603 55.05%
Four-lane/six-lane/eight-lane 24,705 24.46%
Total 136,440 100%

State highwaysEdit

 
Gujarat State Highway 41

State highways are highways connecting major cities throughout a state and are also at-grade roads. They also connect with National Highways or state highways of neighboring states. State Highways are designated with SH, followed by the highway number and preceded by state code. As of 31 March 2020, the total length of state highways was 186,528 kilometres (115,903 mi).[2] As of 31 March 2020, Maharashtra has the largest share of state highways among all states (22.14%), followed by Karnataka (11.11%), Gujarat (9.76%), Rajasthan (8.62%) and Tamil Nadu (6.67%).[2]

State governments have the authority and responsibility to build state highways. Most of the state highways are developed by state public works departments. Independently of the Bharatmala program, state governments have been implementing a number of state highway projects since 2000. By 2010, state highway projects worth US$1.7 billion had been completed, and projects worth an additional US$11.4 billion were under implementation.[39]

District roadsEdit

 
District roads in India

District Roads in India are approximately 632,154 kilometres (392,802 mi), of which 14.80% of the total length was surfaced.[2] Zila Parishads also have the authority and responsibility to build district roads.

Rural roadsEdit

 
A rural road in Jharkhand

Rural roads form a substantial portion of the country's road network, forming 72.97% of the total of roads, as of March 2020. As of the same date, the percentage of unsurfaced roads to the total road length was 31%.[2]

For the development of these rural roads, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister's Rural Roads Scheme) was launched in December 2000 by the Indian government to provide connectivity to isolated rural habitations. The scheme envisions that these roads will be constructed and maintained by the village panchayats. In some parts of India, the government has attempted to manage the programme directly as a local social spending program.[40]

In other parts of India, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and a sister program named Bharat Nirman (Build India) have privatized the rural road construction projects and deployed contractors. The effort has aimed to build all-season single-lane asphalted roads to connect India's rural and remote areas. A significant portion of funding for these projects has come from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.[41]

Growth of Rural Road Network (km)[42]
Length
2001
Length
2011
Length
2021
Total rural roads 2.7 million 3.1 million 4.5 million
Paved unmaintained rural roads 0.5 million
Unpaved rural roads 2.2 million 1.9 million
Paved maintained rural roads 728,871
New rural roads 322,900 82,743 1,500,000

Border roadsEdit

IssuesEdit

CongestionEdit

India's intra-city vehicle speed is among the lowest in the world. As per a study by Ola Cabs, in 2017, the average traffic speed in Delhi was 25 km/h (16 mph).[43] Amongst other major cities, the average traffic speed in Chennai was 18.9 km/h (11.7 mph), in Mumbai was 20.7 km/h (12.9 mph), in Kolkata was 19.2 km/h (11.9 mph), in Hyderabad was 18.5 km/h (11.5 mph), and in Bengaluru was 17.2 km/h (10.7 mph).[43]

FatalitiesEdit

The World Health Organization's compilation of road network safety data for major economies found India to have the highest number of road fatalities in the world, with 299,091 deaths caused by road accidents in 2016. Also, fatalities per 100,000 population stay among the highest, at 22.6.[44] Of total fatalities, 40% were of riders of 2 or 3 wheelers, 18% were of drivers and passengers of 4-wheeled cars and light vehicles, 18% were of drivers and passengers of buses and heavy trucks, 10% of pedestrians, 2% of cyclists and 13% of other.[45]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Table - Distribution of density of road network, Ministry of Roads Transport and Highways, Government of India (2013)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Annual Report 2020-2021" (PDF). Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  3. ^ "Annual Report 2020-2021" (PDF). NITI Aayog. 1 June 2021.
  4. ^ "India en route for grand highways". BBC News.
  5. ^ Yamuna Expressway to open in April, trial runs on The Times of India
  6. ^ Gadkari to open 53-km stretch of Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway today hindustantimes (5 Apr 2016)
  7. ^ Taylor (1995). A Star Shall Fall. Collins. ISBN 978-81-7223-066-1.
  8. ^ St. John, Ian (2011). The Making of the Raj: India under the East India Company. ABC-CLIO. pp. 83–84. ISBN 9780313097362. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  9. ^ Gupta, Das (2011). Science and Modern India: An Institutional History, c.1784-1947: Project of History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Volume XV, Part 4. Pearson Education India. pp. 454–456. ISBN 9788131753750.
  10. ^ a b Jagarlamudi, Vishnu. "History of Road Development in India". Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via Scribd.
  11. ^ "Roadways in India - Road Industry, Network, Projects & FDI". www.investindia.gov.in. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Govt declares Golden Quadrilateral complete". The Indian Express. 7 January 2012.
  13. ^ "National Highways Development Project Map". National Highways Institute of India. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "About NHDP". NHAI. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  16. ^ "SARDP NE MoRTH".
  17. ^ "SARDP NE MoRTH".
  18. ^ "Bharat Mala: PM Narendra Modi's planned Rs 14,000 crore road from Gujarat to Mizoram", The Economic Times, New Delhi, 29 April 2015
  19. ^ "Ministry proposes construction of 20,000 km of roads under Bharat Mala project", The Economic Times, New Delhi, 9 January 2016
  20. ^ "Bharatmala Pariyojana - A Stepping Stone towards New India | National Portal of India". www.india.gov.in. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  21. ^ Jun 29, ANI |; 2021; Ist, 16:04. "Javadekar virtually unveils Asia's longest high-speed track in Indore - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 June 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ "Highway construction grew 20 pct in 2017-18". The Financial Express. 4 April 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Budget 2018: Allocation for highways set to treble in Modi's term - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  24. ^ "2020-21 में भारत में प्रतिदिन बनी 36.5 KM लंबी सड़क, अब तक सबसे बड़ा रिकॉर्ड". Falana Dikhana. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  25. ^ a b "Check out India's 13 super expressways". Rediff. July 2011.
  26. ^ "India Roads – November 2010" (PDF). IBEF. November 2010.
  27. ^ "Project Report on Indian National Expressway Network". Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India. October 2011.
  28. ^ Dash, Dipak Kumar (23 November 2009). "By 2022, govt to lay 18,637km of expressways". The Times of India.
  29. ^ Kumar, Ashutosh. "Expressway cost pegged at Rs 20 crore/km". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Mumbai-Pune Expressway, India". Road Traffic Technology. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  31. ^ "Rs 7,000-cr project to add more lanes to expressway, NH-4". The Indian express. Express News Agency. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  32. ^ "Yamuna Expressway from Delhi to Agra opens: 10 facts".
  33. ^ "Eight fighter jets to land on Agra-Lucknow expressway". Business Insider.
  34. ^ "6 Jets Touch Down For Opening of Agra-Lucknow Expressway, India's Longest". NDTV.com.
  35. ^ "UP to build world's longest Expressway: Yogi Adityanath". The Economic Times. 29 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Ministry of Road Transport and Highways". Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  37. ^ Mahapatra, Dhananjay (2 July 2013). "NDA regime constructed 50% of national highways laid in last 30 years: Centre". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  38. ^ "National Highways road length to be increased from 96,000 km to 2,000,000 km: Nitin Gadkari". The Financial Express. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  39. ^ "Compendium of PPP Projects in State Highways" (PDF). Secretariat for Infrastructure, Govt of India. June 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2012.
  40. ^ "India's boom bypasses the poor". The Wall Street Journal. 29 April 2011.
  41. ^ "New all weather roads boost rural incomes, India". The World Bank. 2009.
  42. ^ "Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) including Bharat Nirman (Rural Connectivity) Program Review". Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India. July 2011.
  43. ^ a b "Surprise Surprise, Bengaluru traffic speed slowest says study by Ola". The News Minute. 30 December 2017. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  44. ^ "Global Status Report on Road Safety". World Health Organization. 2018.
  45. ^ "Global Status Report on Road Safety". World Health Organization. 2018.

External linksEdit