Transport Systems in India – Study Materials Available Here!!!


Transport in India

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  • Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another.Modes of transport include air,land(rail & road),water,cable,pipeline and space.


  • Railways was introduced to India in 1853, when a line was constructed from Bombay to Thane covering a distance of 34 km.
  • The total length of Indian Railways network is 64460 km. (March 2011).

The gauge-wise route and track lengths of the systems as on 31st March, 2007 are as under:-

The network is divided into 16 zones. Divisions are basic operating units. The 16 zones are their respective headquarters are given below.


  • With a total length of about 42.3 lakh km, India has one of the largest road networks in the world.About 85% of passenger and 70% of freight traffic are carried by roads.
  • Roads have been classified as National Highways (NH), State Highways (SH), Major District Roads, and Rural Roads.
  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Surface Transport was operationalized in 1995. The NHAI is responsible for the development, maintenance, and operation of National Highways.The National Highways constitute only 1.67 per cent of the total road length, but carry about 40 per cent of the road traffic.
  • State Highways are constructed and maintained by the state governments.


Water transport can be divided into two major categories − inland waterways and oceanic waterways.

  • Inland Waterways Authority was set up in 1986 for the development, maintenance, and regulation of national waterways in the country.
  • Ocean transport is the most important water transport because it has certain advantages overland carriage. The sea offers a ready-made carriageway for ships which, unlike the roadway or railway, requires no maintenance.
  • Water surfaces are two-dimensional and, although sea-going vessels frequently keep to shipping lanes, ships can travel, within a limited number of constraints, in any direction.

Air Ports

  • Air transport in India marked its beginning in 1911 with the commencement of airmail over a little distance of 10 km between Allahabad and Naini.
  • Pawan Hans is the helicopter service operating in hilly areas and is widely used by tourists in north-eastern regions.
  • The coastline of India is dotted with 12 Major Ports and about 200 Non-major Ports. The Major Ports are under the purview of the center while the Non-major Ports come under the jurisdiction of the respective State Governments.

Sea Ports

  • At present, India has 12 major ports and 185 minor or intermediate ports.
  • The 12 major ports handled about 71 percent of the country’s oceanic traffic in the year 2008-09.
  • The capacity of Indian ports increased from 20 million tons of cargo handling in 1951 to more than 586 million tons in 2008-09.
  • Mumbai has a natural harbor and it is the biggest seaport of the country.


Oil and gas industry in India imports 82% of its oil needs and aims to bring that down to 67% by 2022 by replacing it with local exploration, renewable energy and indigenous ethanol fuel (Jan 2018).

  • The length of pipelines for crude oil is 20,000 km (12,427 mi).
  • The length of Petroleum products pipeline is 15,000 kilometres (9,300 mi).

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Space Transportation System

  • The Space Transportation System (STS), also known internally to NASA as the Integrated Program Plan (IPP), was a proposed system of reusable manned space vehicles envisioned in 1969 to support extended operations beyond the Apollo program.
  • The purpose of the system was two-fold: to reduce the cost of spaceflight by replacing the current method of launching capsules on expendable rockets with reusable spacecraft; and to support ambitious follow-on programs including permanent orbiting space stations around the Earth and Moon, and a human landing mission to Mars.

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