Cement Concrete

Dr. L.R. Kadiyali, Chief Executive, L.R. Kadiyali and Associates, New Delhi

India's Transportation Sector: Problems, Challenges and Opportunities

As India's economy is poised for a healthy rate of growth, its transport is poised for a growth of 12% or more. Thus, every six years, India needs to double its transport capacity. The country has to have:
  • more roads
  • better roads
  • high speed facilities like Expressways
  • more vehicles
  • safer travel
The present stock of roads in India is out-dated, congested, wasteful of resources and extremely unsafe. India is losing its competitive advantage in the global economy because of its poor roads. Road modernization has become inevitable. India has a great opportunity to learn from international experience in its programme of building durable roads.

Quest for Good Roads – What to Look for

Road transport has some serious disadvantages associated with it:
  • high energy consumption and dependence on petroleum products
  • poor record of safety
  • high environmental pollution
When India modernizes its roads, over-riding consideration must be given to mitigate the above disadvantages.

India has some special problems in the roads sector, which must be addressed in building the future roads:
  • endemic problem of overloading of trucks
  • neglect of road maintenance
The availability of a binder for pavement construction is an area of concern not only for India, but also globally. Bitumen, the binder favoured so far, is derived from petroleum crude, whose reserves are dwindling. Long-term sustainability of bitumen-based road technology is in serious doubt.

Pavements constitute nearly 60-70% of a highway cost, and hence economic consideration (both short-term and long-term) must govern the choice.

With the above consideration in prominent view, it is possible to assess why concrete roads provide a better option for realizing a sustainable road system for India in the coming years.

NBMCW September 2014