India has a vast network of National Highways (NHs) totaling to 34,298 km connecting important towns cities, ports and industrial centres of the country. Industrialization of the country has induced a traffic.
growth of 8-12 percent per year on many sections of National Highways and this growth trend is expected to continue. While the traffic on National Highways has been growing at a rapid pace, it has not been possible for the Government to provide matching funds due to competing demand from other priority sectors. This has led to a large number of deficiencies in the network. Many sections of the NHs are in need of capacity augmentation by way of widening grade separation construction of bypasses, bridges and expressways etc. Many bridges are in need of replacement. The traffic movement on NHs is also hindered due to a large number of Rail-Road crossings where road traffic has to per force stop due to the frequent closures. The overall scenario on the highways has led to economic losses by way of longer turnaround time for the vehicle fleeting rising vehicle operating costs and dissipation of human energy in the driving. This calls for urgent remedial measures.
Road transport and road transportation are essential for rapid growth of an economy and is an important input in an economy which depends on the transport of people and goods. Transport costs reduction promotes specialization and extension of markets. Global competition has made the existence of efficient transport and logistics systems in delivery chain an absolute necessity. Easy accessibility, flexibility of operations, door-to-door service and reliability has earned road transport an increasingly higher share of both passenger and freight traffic compared to other transport modes. Road transport has emerged as the dominant segment in India’s transportation sector with a share of 4.5 per cent in India’s GDP in recent years (NRTP, 2008). However, the road infrastructure industry has become inadequate and is increasingly unable to meet emerging requirements on Indian industry and people. This is mainly due to the shortcoming of the road network in terms of mileage as well as quality. Overhaul of the infrastructure will go a long way in promoting efficiency of vehicles’ operations. Part of the problem also lies in the inability of service organizations, especially in the public sector driven mechanism, to deliver outcomes.