The transport system in India comprises a number of distinct modes and services, notably railways, roads, road transport, ports, inland water transport, coastal shipping, and pipelines and so on.
Various dedicated ministries, authorities, directorates and departments including Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, National Highways Authority of India, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Civil Aviation are responsible for the establishment and execution of policies and programs for the development of system of transportation in the country.
Traditional Transport System of IndiaThe world we live today is a place that is driven by innovation and technology. Transportation is made easy with diverse means of transport options that come with a wide range of facilities and offer high class services to people.
For instance, even small sized cars in the market today come packed with a long list of interior and exterior feature which include power-assisted steering, airbags, digital dashboard, GPS and so on. Keeping the luxury factory aside, most of the cutting-edge features introduced are primarily for the purpose of making the travel experience easier!
Well, the first transport form of Indians was Shanks pony (walking; your own legs for walking as a means of transport). Those days, people preferred walking as the most important mode of transport even for covering long distances. Adi Sankaracharya travelled all over India from Kalady near Kochi.Walking still constitutes an important mode of transport in rural areas.
The earliest mode of transportation has not lost its sheen that even today; walking is considered as one of the most common mode of transport in India.
Then came a time where the luxury tag entered the transport system of India, for the first time, in the name of Palanquins. Today, the usage of Palanquins is limited to special occasions like wedding ceremonies.
Subsequently, people those days picked up the art of training and using the animals for the purpose of transport, sooner or later. Bullock carts and horse carriages came into existence in India.
Today, bullock carts and horse carriages are mostly banned in the urban centers and are seen as a rare mode of transport, that children today are jaw dropping when spotting one! Hand pulled rickshaws and cycle rickshaws which are operated even today in some parts of the country. Many local governments have proposed a ban on these rickshaws describing them as "inhuman". But in reality the rickshaws are still not yet banned. The Government of West Bengal proposed a ban on these rickshaws in 2005.
Cycle rickshaws were introduced in India in the 1940s. They were banned in several cities for causing traffic congestion. However environmentalists have supported the retention of cycle rickshaws as a non-polluting mode of transport.
Bicycles or cycles, have ownership rates ranging from around 30% to 75% at the state level. In recent developments suggest that bicycle riding is quickly becoming popular in the metropolitan cities of India.
Did you know?
As per 2017 estimates, the total road length in India is 5,603,293 km (3,481,725 mi) making the Indian road network the second largest road network in the world after the United States.
As per the National Highways Authority of India, about 65% of freight and 80% passenger traffic is carried by the roads. The National Highways carry about 40% of total road traffic, though only about 2% of the road network is covered by these roads.
Major road development projects are being carried out under the National Highways Development Project, a government initiative implemented in the year 1998.
For instance, the Yamuna Expressway
- a six lane (extendable to eight lanes), 102.52 miles (165 km) long, expressway exclusively designed for high-speed vehicle traffic, linking Greater Noida with Agra in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Did you know?
India's massive network of road is administrated by assorted government agencies. Find below the information about the classification of roads in India and their length and authority (Data as of 2022):Expressways
Total Length of Expressways in India: 1,455 km. 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.
Total Length of Rural Roads in India: 4,535,511 km. Regulating Body: Municipalities, Panchayats and other Local Governing Bodies
Did you know?
Yamuna Expressway (connecting Greater Noida with Agra) is the longest six-laned controlled-access expressway stretch in India
Bus Transport in India
Bus Transport in India - A Boon to Common Man
Buses are considered as the most affordable and handy mode of transport for all economic classes of society in India. Did you know?
Buses take over 90% of public transport across the cities in India. Typically, state government run corporations like Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (MPSRTC), Nagaland State Transport (NST), Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) and so on.
Across the Indian cities, an interesting initiative, popularly known as BRTS, that is, Bus Rapid Transit systems have been implemented by many state governments to amend the existing public transport facilities and services in systems in cities.
BRTS is all about prioritizing bus commuters with forward-looking facilities and features which include smart ticketing system, lenient boarding system, announcements for passengers, apportioning exclusive space for BRTS and so on.
Furthermore, many Indian cities operate dedicated bus services (sightseeing buses) for visitors like HOHO buses
in the Indian capital Delhi. Important Contact Information (Road Transport)
Honourable Minister of Transport
Shri Nitin Jairam GadkariSome of the Important Agencies Functioning under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India
:National Highway Authority of India (NHAI)
G 5&6, Sector-10, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110 075
Phone Number: 91-011-25074100, 25074200Border Roads Organisation
Headquarters - Director General Border Roads, Seema Sadak Bhawan. Ring Road Naraina,
Delhi Cantt, New Delhi - 110 010
Rail Transport in India
Indian Railways - Lifeline to the Nation
Introduced in 1853, rail transport services in India are one among the prominent and reliable mode of transport in the country. Transporting more than 23,000,000 passengers a day and 1050.18 million metric tons of goods annually.
An Indian state owned enterprise, Indian Railways (shortly written as IR), controlled by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways, run both suburban and long distance services on a network of broad gauge, metre gauge and narrow gauge lines.
The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the first rail system in India, which began services in Mumbai in 1853, transports 6.3 million passengers daily and has the highest passenger density in the world. The Kolkata Suburban Railway was established in 1854, and the Chennai Suburban Railway in 1931.
Mass rapid transit system
The Chennai MRTS, which began services in 1995, remains the country's first and only mass rapid transit rail.
The operations of Indian Railways also offers international services to the Kingdom of Nepal, People's Republic of Bangladesh and Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well.Did you know?
Indian Railways is the third largest network of rail transport in the world after the United States of America and Russian Federation with 116,000 km (length) of rail lines
Indian Railways is separated into various railway zones, which are further sub-divided into various railway divisions. At present, the Indian Railways have seventeen railway zones and sixty-eight railway divisions.
Trains in India are broadly classified based on their average speed. With the introduction of Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express transport in Indian railways has seen new heights of success. Did you know?
Indian Railways operate about 7,172 railway stations of various sizes, located across the nation
Some of the important categories of trains of Indian Railways include Duronto express, Rajdhani express, Shatabdi express, Superfast express, Suburban trains and so on.
Apart from a wide range of passenger and goods trains, Indian Railways also operate several luxury tourist trains, which are a huge hit among the travelers. Some of the most popular luxury tourist trains of India include Maharajas' Express, Palace on Wheels
, Deccan Odyssey, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels
Steam Express, Bharat Darshan, Mahaparinirvan Express.
Ministry of Railways, Government of India
Address: 256-A, Raisina Road, Rajpath Area, Central Secretariat, New Delhi, Delhi 110001Interesting Facts:
- April 1853 - India's first train was operated from Bombay (Mumbai) to Thane
- Bholu, the guard elephant is the mascot of Indian Railways
- Slowest train of India - Metupalayam Ooty Nilgiri Passenger train that is operated at 10 kmph
- Indian Railways (IR) is the seventh largest commercial or utility employer in the world
- 1986 - First computerized reservation counter established in Delhi
- Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh has the longest platform in the world (1366.33 m in length)
Air Transport in India
Air Transport in India - Sky is (not) the Limit!
Transport in India airways comprises of airplanes and helicopters. Planes can be categorized into domestic and international. There are also chartered planes to carry a limited number of people. Helicopters are used regularly to reach long-distance in a pretty short time.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India is the principal governing body responsible for civil air transport in the country. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), a (civil air transport) regulatory body comes under the administrative ambit of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Civil Aviation in India also operates independent establishments like the Air India, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited.Did you know?
On 18 February 1911, the first commercial flight of India departed from Allahabad for Naini
Air India is the national carrier of India, owned by the Air Indian Limited. Air India operates a large group of aircraft operating together, serving several international and domestic destinations. As of 2014, Air India is the third largest civil air transport carrier in the country.
India has more than 100 domestic airports and more than 12 international airports serving the aviation needs and demands of the population. Some of the important international airports in India include:
- Indira Gandhi International Airport (IATA: DEL, ICAO: VIDP)
- Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA: CCU, ICAO: VECC)
- Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) (IATA: BOM, ICAO: VABB)
- Veer Savarkar International Airport aka Port Blair Airport (IATA: IXZ, ICAO: VOPB)
- Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport (IATA: NAG, ICAO: VANP)
- Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA, ICAO: VOMM)
- Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport aka Guwahati International Airport (IATA: GAU, ICAO: VEGT)
- Trivandrum International Airport (IATA: TRV, ICAO: VOTV)
- Goa International Airport aka Dabolim Airport (IATA: GOI, ICAO: VOGO)
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport (SVPIA) (IATA: AMD, ICAO: VAAH)
- Kempegowda International Airport (IATA: BLR, ICAO: VOBL)
- Cochin International Airport (IATA: COK, ICAO: VOCI)
As a part of civil air transport infrastructure, India houses more than 45 heliports across the country. Did you know?
India houses the world's highest helipad located on the Siachen Glacier (altitude of 21,000 ft above sea level)
New Delhi based Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited is the major helicopter services provider in the country. The helicopter company offers charter services to a wide range of locations including Kedarnath, Badrinath and Chardham Yatra etc.Quick Facts (Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited):
Headquarters: New Delhi
Parent Organisation: Air India Limited
Hubs: Juhu Aerodrome, Mumbai
Secondary Hubs: Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi
Fleet Size: 47
Callsign: PAWAN HANSMinistry of Civil Aviation, Government of India
Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi – 110 003
Water Transport in India
Water transport in India is administrated by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), a Government of India Public Sector Enterprise. Headquartered in Mumbai, SCI oversees offshore and other maritime transport facilities and infrastructure in India. Rivers, canals, Creeks, Backwaters are some of the important inland waterways of India.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the supreme agency that manages the waterways in India.
Inland Waterways Authority of India
(Ministry of Shipping)
Head Office, A-13, Sector -1, Noida,U.P.
Pin Code: 201301
Local Transport in India
The number of buses operated across the Indian cities is negligible when compared to the options available for local transport in the country. Find below some of the popular options for local transport in India:Metro Rail
An integral part of rapid transit in India, metro rail services are first introduced in the 'city of joy
Today, metro rail services are operational across six locations and many other metro systems are under construction.
There are currently 15 operational rapid transit (popularly known as 'metro') systems in fifteen cities across India. With Delhi Metro being the largest metro system which connects to few other nearby cities in the National Capital Region.Taxis
Though different in color from state to state, taxis in India are an integral part of day to day local transport options. Taxis operated across the nation have regulated metered fares. Auto Rickshaw
A tough competitor to the taxi cabs in India; auto rickshaws are handy and have regulated metered fares. They provide round the clock services in most of the urban centers. Monorail
The year 2014 witnessed the first operational monorail in India in the form of Mumbai monorail. Light Rail
Considered as a feeder system for the metro rail systems, light rail projects have been proposed in Thiruvananthapuram,
Delhi and Kozhikode.
High-speed rail in India
As of 2021, the fastest train of India is Vande Bharat Express with a top speed of 180 km/h (110 mph).
while the fastest operating train is the Gatimaan Express with a top operating speed of 160 km/h (99 mph). The first high-speed railway corridor of length 508 km is currently under construction.Tram
Introduced during the 19th century by British people, the legendary Kolkata tram
is the only public tram system operated in the country. The Kolkata tram offers an emission-free means of transportation in the city.Other Local Transport
The number of (private) two wheelers and cars (especially compact cars) operated in India are on a rise due to the fact that they are known for their fuel efficient nature and other advantages which include ease of use in busy roads, affordability and so on.
Rural Transport in India
The rural parts of India are hassled by bad roads and transport services that are not frequent. On the other hand, a considerable share of villages in India gained various benefits due to the initiative, schemes and programs implemented by the central government like Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
Today, many Indian villages have good roads and are well connected to the other parts of the country. Buses, minibuses, share autos, tractors and other vehicles are plying in the villages to meet the demands of the population.