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Topic : All about New technologies
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Industry : Technology Consulting Functional Area : India
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            Healthy and strengthen road network is essential for socioeconomic development of a country. There must be matching growth between roads, traffic, vehicle population and population. Over crowded, overloaded, poorly funded, poorly constructed, poorly maintained roads can not be of much use for the development of a country and will create indiscipline and other problems. So in budget and during preparation of plan for a country road development must be placed at suitable serial and must not be neglected.

'Discipline on Roads & Manners in Travel Indicate

Good Government, Effective

Administration and Sensible Citizens'

            In this article an attempt has been made to cover a vast topic in brief covering main headings such as: Road Statistics, Road Transport Problems and Suggestions.


1. The condition of Roads and the way how users use them is a critical indicator of a Nation's Ruling/ Administrative system and working/ nature of its inhabitants.

2. In this country Highways/ Roads are being exploited. Expenditure in terms of road revenue generated is about 35%, while is USA, JAPAN, Germany is 96%, 128%, 82% respectively, similar trend is in UK and Australia.

3. The World Bank study carried out has brought out that a Dollar reduction in road maintenance expenditure can increase the cost of vehicle operation by two to three Dollars.

4. In India most of the Highways/ Roads need proper planning and adequate maintenance. In terms of capacity to sustain present traffic volume and load they are of inadequate structural specifications. They are being misused by users and inhabitants. Effective traffic rules and public awareness is not there. There are two reasons, one is insufficient funding for roads and the second is non availability of effective 'Roads and Road Users Act' and its enforcement.

5. The total economic loss due to road accidents is estimated to be over Rs. 4000 crores per year.

6. The annual total VOC is estimated to be around Rs.  100000  crores (1000   billion). The World Bank studies have confirmed that the economical losses due to inadequate  capacity, insufficient  pavement  thickness  and  poor  riding quality is estimated to be of the  order  of  Rs. 30000 crores (300 billion) per annum. These losses are interims of fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance. Adverse effect on user's health due to poor roads is beyond imagination and estimation. Such losses are adversely affecting the Nation’s economy and human life, this need to be reduced.

7. Road user cost study in India carried out, has brought out some eye- opening conclusions about the economic losses on account of the poor condition of roads. For example, the fuel consumption for a truck will increase by 26 percent when roughness of the road surface increase from 3000 (asphalted surface) to 15000 (gravel surface) mm per km. The fuel consumption can increase as high as 56 percent if speed of a truck fall from about 45 kph to 20 kph. Widening of pavement as 15 percent. It is concluded that road improvement, will save 1/5 of fuel bill of  the country, apart from substantial saving of accidents etc. and total economic return on cost of road improvement would be as high as 50 - 60 percent in one year alone.

8. Despite the impressive growth in road traffic and vehicles population (3 lacs in 1951 and 270 lacs in 1995) there has not been a matching growth of the highways network, both interims of the length and breadth as well as their quality. This is mainly due to less availability of funds for road construction and maintenance, which in real terms, have not increased substantially.

9. The Indian road network has increased from 0.4 MK (Million Kilometer) in 1951 to 3.30 MK. Much of the increase in the road network has come through the construction of rural roads built to provide connectivity to remote rural areas.

10. In, India category wise road shares are Primary Roads i.e. National Highways-1.58%; Secondary Roads i.e. State Highways and Major District Roads-13.12% and Village & Other Category Roads-85.30% of total length. While the traffic share of Primary and Secondary Roads is about 90% of the total road traffic.

11. Highway does not last forever. Even the most modern and best designed projects are subjected to the stresses and strains of an ever increasing traffic flow and require regular maintenance.

12. The magnitude of work involved in maintenance is very large but the funds available are not enough to meet the requirements. Recommendations from various committees for maintenance cost are given in the enclosed Table-1. The available grant is much less (about 1/4th) then the requirement.

13. Road maintenance is one of the most important components of the entire road system and should not be neglected, particularly in developing countries like India where paradoxically, it is needed the most.

14. The vehicle operating cost increases at rapid rate as the surface condition of the pavement starts deteriorating:-
            If the pavement maintenance is neglected, the surface starts cracking and subsequently pot holes starts appearing. AT this level of deterioration the vehicle operating cost (VOC) is likely to increase about 15 percent.
            If the maintenance is further neglected, the pavement eventually starts disintegrating and VOC increase by 50 percent. This is approximately twice the cost of construction. It has been observed that over the life of road, total VOC is typically four times the initial construction cost, whereas maintenance cost is only 1 to 12 percent of transportation cost.

15. Lack of sufficient maintenance funds is responsible for poor maintenance of road network and riding quality, due to this the transport throughout is severely eroded. The commercial vehicles are also to do only 200 to 250 km on average per day incurring high VOC as compared to 500 to 600 km per day in the developed countries.

16. One of important factors responsible for poor roads is the problem of overloading by the users. A  typical  study  carried  out  for  a  few  State  Highways indicated that as high as 12-40 percent of commercial vehicles exceeded the prescribed laden weight and the gross weight recorded were as  high  as  26-38 tones on the day of survey against permissible 22  tones. The damaging effect of overloaded vehicles on road varies to the fourth power of the axle weight. For example, 10 tones axle weight will cause 16 times the damage as would be caused by a single 5 tones axle weight. Inadequate road width means more number of repetitions of load on the same lane width.

17. In few states construction of roads of 3 m width, 16 cm crust thickness with two coats surface dressing is in practice. As per IRC code these roads are unsuited even for a single commercial vehicle per day. 

18. Encroachment on the road land and ribbon development along road side creates a number of problems. It increases number of accesses and crossing across the road making it unsafe for travel. These affect the drainage which may lead to failure of pavement, attract other incidental activities; hutment dwellers even wash their clothes on black topped road surface. For urban areas, the additional problem is of various surface utility services like Water Supply, Electric Cables, Sewer Pipes, Telephones   Cables etc. which necessitate frequent digging thereby disturbing homogeneity of pavement and its efficient drainage.


1. In India the existing Road System is totally failed to cope up the transportation demand of a disciplined Road Users. There is a need of restructuring the present organizations to meet out the requirements to modern technology and disciplines for better professional output. It is proposed that there must be following two organizations responsible for road work whatever it is
Construction work or maintenance & repair work or rehabilitation work:-
(i) 'INDIAN HIGHWAY BOARD' or it may be named as 'INDIAN ROAD BOARD' must be created at Central level, Jurisdiction of 'HIGHWAY BOARD' or 'ROAD BOARD' must be reconstruction/rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of National Highways, State Highways & District Highways (Major District Roads): formulation of road revenue acts & collection of all type of road revenue: traffic police system and formulation & enforcement of traffic rules including road side parking act.
(ii) At State level there must be only one unified development i.e. Rural Road & Building Department (RBRD) responsible for construction, rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of all State Government Buildings and Rural Roads (ODR and Village Roads). To facilities Punchyayti Raj there may be two wings of RBRD (a) RBRD (Urban) for ODRs and Urban Buildings and (b) RBRD (Rural) for Village Roads and Rural Buildings. Figure 1 and 2.

2. Similarly restructuring of Research Laboratories may be carried out. Repetitive, useless, copied research work must be discouraged while real, original, useful work suited to Indian conditions is to be encouraged.

3. For realistic approach of the road researches, better interaction among Field Engineers and Researchers & Academia’s must be ensured and cost-effectiveness in Research/ Construction Organization must be essential.

4. Bus Stands/Stops must be under the control of Road Board. These must be well designed, well constructed, well maintained. Adequate fee must be levied on each vehicle using them. Parking facilities for such vehicles must also be provided on these stops on rent basis. Use of these facilities must be obligatory for public transport.

5. New road construction must be stopped and the available funds must be utilized to improve the starving roads of in the country. In case of rural road construction is essential then no village must be connected by two road connections. Ill planning of roads is to be stopped immediately.

6. Major District Road may be renamed as District Highways (DH).

7. To yield better quality of construction invention of indigenous modern construction equipments and rapid 'Insitu' testing & checking instruments/gadgets must be encouraged.

8. Category wise structural specifications of road, maximum allowable traffic & vehicular load must be displayed by sign boards on road side.

9. Once Highway/Roads and maintenance grant is as per norms/requirement then there no excuse not to maintain the Highway/Roads properly and up to the mark. In case if any negligence on the part of the system/person, that must not be spared at any cost.

10. Such an active information system is to be developed that any activity on road may be communicated to the authority concern within no time. For communicating these information’s person doing so must be encouraged/rewarded including reimbursement of the expenditure incurred by the informer for such communication. Department must be prompt in attending the roads to keep them in the best possible shape to serve the Nation.

11. To check encroachment in Abadi areas access on any Highway/Road must not be allowed without the permission of the Road Department and that also is to be constructed by the department itself in accordance to the prescribed design and rules at the cost of consumer. Consumer will have to pay cost of its maintenance & repair annually.

12. Absurd & Haphazard parking on road & streets create acute traffic problems. There must be a well defined 'Road Side Parking Act' and nobody must be allowed to use Roads & Streets as his own Garage/Courtyard. The parking system should be licensed with adequate parking fee. Undisciplined road users must not be spared at any cost. There must not be any upper limit of penalty for Road/Street misuses.

13. On road side inhabited people have to keep paper of ownership of the land and have to produce it on demand by the road authorities or otherwise they may be treated as encroach and are liable to be removed by Marshal Law.

14. Jurisdiction and responsibility in all respect within highway/road boundaries must be of the road department only. For any activity 200m and for construction purpose controlled area must be 100m on either side of the road.

15. No unauthorized vehicle must be allowed to ply on road at any cost. Vehicles registered for one purpose must not be allowed to do another job without prior permission of the road department. For example a car registered for private use can not be used as taxi, a tractor/trolley registered for agriculture purpose will not be allowed to do commercial job.

16. On Roads/Streets no other activity except movement of traffic in a sensible manner must be allowed. Unauthorized use of roads/streets must be declared unbailable CRIME. For effective control on traffic, magisterial powers and vehicles with video cameras must be given to field engineers of Road Departments and police powers up to Road Gang Mate.

17. There must be an effective 'ROADS & ROAD USERS ACT' for effective control of all the activities on Highways, Roads & Streets.

18. Government vehicles must be of different color then that of private and purpose may be defined by putting a colored strip around vehicle's body, for example a 20 cms wide green strip may be painted on agriculture tractor's body, a 20 cms wide black strip around car taxi and so on.

19. Maximum allowable load/passengers along with route & permit number must be clearly written on the body of each vehicle.

20. Income and owning of vehicle must be correlated, for example no individual having income less than 1 lac per annum can have a two wheeler auto or otherwise permitted by law for performing his duties as a Government Servant. Only owner's spouse may use vehicle casually. If vehicle(s) required for business purpose then there must be full justification of it i.e. by income out of that business.

21. Gifting of vehicle beyond means of either party must not be allowed.

22. Km stones, B & C number plates, border on sign boards may be of yellow, green, terracotta, blue and black color for National Highways, State Highways, District Highways, Other District Roads and Village Roads respectively. Similarly Roads of other departments may be specified by orange color for Mandi Samiti, Red color for Sugar Cane department and so on as given in the enclosed Fig No. 3.

23. Road authorities must be empowered to impose Marshal Law on roads to check activities of public other than traveling in sensible manner.

24. Without proper License nobody can drive or propel any type of vehicle on Highway, Road or Streets. License fee must be adequate and not just as token fee. Only pedestrians can travel without license but they have to keep their identity cards (Photo pahichan patra) with them while traveling.

25. Registration of vehicles must be category wise of road. One can get registered for plying up to NH, SH, DH, Rural Road or Streets. For identifying it, two circles of same color (as specified for that category of highway or road) and same diameter must be painted on both side of that vehicle's body. For example if a truck is registered to ply up to NH then 50cm dia, yellow colored two circles must be painted on both side of it's body and so on.

26. Only well maintained and fit vehicles must be allowed to ply on road and not condemn one (Khatara Gadi). Owners/drivers have to keep their vehicles including light, indicators, horn etc. in perfect working condition when it is on road.

27. No pavement must be overloaded beyond its capacity interns of vehicular load and traffic volume. Before issuing any permit on any route these data is to be considered in detail. One of the members in such committees must be a Road Engineer having acquaintance with such data.

28. A National Road Fund must be created and road's share from various sources as Road Revenue likes Road Tax, Goods Tax, Passenger Tax, Road Side Revenue, Mandi Samiti Tax, Sugar Cane Development Tax etc. must be credited to this fund for proper up keeping of roads of this country.

29. No vehicle whatever it is using road must be exempted from any tyre of Road Revenue; it must be levied on each and every vehicles to the road etc.

30. Cost of journey by road must be double of the propulsion expenses by public transport, half of this must be charged as road revenue etc.

31. On account of road construction price of land escalate in the vicinity. Not only has this but traffic load increased accordingly. So the road must also be benefited due to this price rise. On account of this fact owners of such and must have to deposit a share of this gain to road fund as proposed below:-

1.              If land is adjoining                      30% of selling                               10% of
                         to road                                      cost                                         valuation                        

2.              If land is within                            25% of selling                                 7% of
                 200 meter from the                             cost                                       valuation
               Centre line of the road      

3.              If the land is in open                              Nil                                             Nil
                 Area and remains in 
                  Cultivation use, No 
                 construction activity 
            is proposed in near future


32. The present rate of Road Tax and Driving License Fee is illogical. For example Delhi State: one time Road Tax Rate for Motor Cycle/Scooter is Rs. 975/- and for Matador, Car is Rs. 3050/-. Assuming average useable life of these vehicles twenty years rates comes out to be 13.4 paisa and 41.8 paisa per day respectively. On average cost for a new Motor Cycle/Scooter is thirty thousand rupees and that of a car is more than two lacs rupees. These rates of tax are not justified at all. Similar is the case with driving license fee. The rate of taxes must be justified or otherwise from where roads will get money. Road Transportation is such a sector which does not need any external funding if it is properly and judiciously managed. Present rate of tax in Delhi State and proposed rate of Tax for the whole country are given in Annexure-1(Table- 4 to 7) along with other conditions.                                                                                                             


            Return from  good highway/ roads in terms of fuel  saving,  time saving, vehicle's wear & tear or overall VOC; environment effect; effect on traveler’s health and fatigue; socioeconomic development etc. is much more then the expenditure incurred for making good highway/roads. In fact gain on account of good highway/roads is beyond estimation and calculation. Even gain in terms of cash as road revenue is much more than investment, only the question is of proper management and effective revenue realization system. Good highways/ roads results to reduction in fuel bill of the country which a matter of great concern of today.
            Thus allocation of sufficient money/ funds for good highway/roads construction, rehabilitation, maintenance & repair must not be ignored. At least this allocation must be equivalent to road revenue or otherwise policy of ignoring roads will prove fatal for the Nation.

A Road even if it is deficient in depth and breadth will last longer if constructed and maintained properly i.e. with sincerity and honesty.


1. Indian Highways: Dec.-1991; May-1993; Jan. - 1997 and Feb- 1997.
2. News Letter, Sept., 1996. CRRI, New Delhi.
3. Roadsearch Bulletin, Vol. 1 No. 3, CRRI, New Delhi.
4. Yogendra Narain, IAS, Scope of Public Private Sector's Partnership in highways Infrastructure', Technorama, Jan., 1997.
5. Jain, S.S. et. al. ‘Development of Maintenance and Rehabilitation Investment Strategy for Flexible Pavements', Journal Vol. 57-2, Oct., 1996, the Indian Roads Congress.
7. Jain, J.P., written comments submitted in ' National Get-Together on Road Research and Its Utilization', Jan. 3-4, 1996, New Delhi.
8. Jain, J.P., written comments submitted in 57th Annual Session of IRC at Nagpur, Jan., 13-16, 1997.
9. Reports of various committees for deciding norms for maintenance cost for Indian roads.

  Commented by  Zoher Doctor, CEO/MD/Director, Smart Money Inc    | 10 16 2011 13:20:25 +0000
Informative article. Thanks 
  Commented by  Rajan Samuel, CEO/MD/Director, Self    | 01 18 2011 16:05:20 +0000
If the law enforcement authority strictly implement the existing law itself, the problem of the transport industry is solved.  unless this is implemented, what ever the rule you make is for no use and it is only for making money to the enforcement authority.

Rajan Samuel  
  Commented by  Anjali Bhatia, Construction-Heavy, Sobha Developers    | 09 29 2009 11:56:15 +0000
 This is really an informative article. But we cannot expect a sudden change in the road developments. But the government should consider these problems and should implement it in the upcoming projects.
  Commented by  Vivek Singh, Construction Manager L&T    | 09 29 2009 04:50:25 +0000
It looks like a paper going for IRC. Very useful information. If one more thing may be added it may become more useful for layman also and that is the limitation of our government/system. I mean we have experts in India who understand the importance and economy of the roads. We have economist who understand impact of roads on economy. But still our government is not able to take it up with the desired pace. What is holding the government, lack of finances? or lack of expertise? or lack of resources like efficient contractors? or lack of knowledge base in country? or some strategic reasons?...Please throw some light on this....bur please do not just mention the hackneyed term "corruption" since it is not stopping us from planning and implementation. It has got worst effect on the quality of execution which is a different topic alltogether.

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