1.1 Road transport is vital to economic development, trade and social integration, which rely on the conveyance of both people and goods. Reduction in transport costs promote specialization, extend markets and thereby enable exploitation of the economies of scale. Global competition has made the existence of efficient transport and logistic systems in delivery chain an absolute imperative. Easy accessibility, flexibility of operations, door-to-door service and reliability have earned road transport an increasingly higher share of both passenger and freight traffic vis-à-vis 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 2005-06. Over the last six years (2000-01 to 2005-06), the annual average growth in road transport sector GDP at 9.5 per cent was much higher than the overall GDP growth of 6.5 per cent. Robust growth in road transport has been attained despite significant barriers to inter-State freight and passenger movement compared to inland waterways, railways and air which do not face rigorous enroute checks/barriers. 1.2 Transport demand in India has been growing rapidly. In recent years this demand has shifted among transport modes, mainly to the advantage of road transport, which carries about 87 percent and 61 per cent of passenger and freight transport demand arising for land based modes of transport (i.e. roadways and railways taken together) respectively. During 1992-93 to 2004-05 demand for road freight transport in India is estimated to have grown at an annual average rate of 6.7 percent, while GDP grew at an average of 6.2 percent. Road freight transport demand is expected to grow by around 10% per annum in the backdrop of a targeted annual GDP growth of 9% during the Eleventh Five Year Plan.
Motorization levels in India
2.1 Motor vehicle population has recorded significant growth over the years. India had 72.7 million registered motor vehicles at the end of fiscal year 2003-04. The growth of vehicular traffic on roads has been far greater than the growth of the highways; as a result the main arteries face capacity saturation. Between 1951 and 2004 the vehicle population grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 11 per cent. Personalized mode (constituting mainly two wheelers and cars) 1
account for more than four-fifth of the motor vehicles in the country compared to their share of little over three-fifth in 1951. Further break up of motor vehicle population reflects preponderance of two-wheelers with a share of more than 71 per cent in total vehicle population, followed by cars with 13 per cent and other vehicles (a heterogeneous category which includes 3 wheelers, trailers, tractors etc.) with 9.4 per cent. In contrast to personalized mode, the share of buses in total registered vehicles has declined from 11.1% in 1951 to 1.1 as in 2004. Also, the share of goods vehicle which was about 27% in 1951 has declined to a little over 5% by end March 2004. The share of goods vehicle in vehicle population is modest in comparison to the size of the economy. The share of buses and trucks in the vehicle population at about 1 per cent and 5 per cent respectively is much lower compared to most of the other countries in Asia. 2.2 International experience suggests that with the rising income levels, car ownership rates are likely to grow much faster than GDP and start to displace 2wheelers. The current vehicle density in developing countries is low; for example, the vehicle density in India is only 12 vehicles per 1000 persons, compared to 580 in Germany, 808 in the USA. Also the number of cars per 1000 people in Asia remains modest- at about 10 per 1000 people in PRC, 8 for India. However, the number of two-wheelers per 1000 population is much higher at around 45 in case of India. The low vehicle density is marked by its skewed distribution in...