Transport in India

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Transport in India consists of transport by land, water and air. Public transport remains the primary mode of transport for most of the livelihood in India, and India's public transport systems are among the most heavily used in the world.[1]

Motor vehicle population in India is low by international standards, with only 24.85 million cars on the nation's roads as of 2013.[2] In total, about 21 per cent households have two wheelers whereas only 4.7 per cent of households in India have cars/jeeps/vans as per 2011 Census.[3][4] Despite this, the number of deaths caused by traffic is amongst the highest in the world and is still increasing.[5][6] The automobile industry in India is currently rapidly growing with an annual production of over 4.6 million vehicles,[7] with an annual growth rate of 10.5%[3] and vehicle volume is expected to rise greatly in the future.[8]

India's rail network is the 4th longest and the most heavily used system in the world,[1] transporting 8.225 billion passengers and over 970 million tonnes of freight annually, as of 2015.[9] Railways transport 18 million citizens daily.

In 2015–16, Government of India, declared 106 National Waterways (NW) under Inland Waterways Authority of India to reduce the cost of transportation and lower the carbon footprint by moving the traffic from surface roads and railroads to waterways.[10]

Despite ongoing improvements in the transport sector, several aspects of transportation are still riddled with problems due to outdated infrastructure and lack of investment in less economically active parts of the country. The demand for transport infrastructure and services has been rising by around 10% a year[1] with the current infrastructure being unable to meet these growing demands. According to Goldman Sachs, India will need to spend US$1.7 trillion on infrastructure projects over the next decade to boost economic growth.

Human/Animal powered[edit]


Walking constituted major form of transport in ancient times. People used to cover long distances on foot or bullock carts. For instance, Adi Sankaracharya travelled all over India from Kalady near Kochi.[11] Walking still constitutes an important mode of transport in urban areas.[12] In the city of Mumbai, to further improve the transit conditions for pedestrians, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, has commenced the construction of more than 50 skywalks,[13][14] as part of the Mumbai Skywalk project, which is very helpful as walk enthusiasts take part in reducing traffic.


Doli service in Sabarimala pilgrimage.

Palanquins, also known as palkis or pallakiis, was one of the luxurious methods primarily used by the rich and noblemen for travelling and also to carry a deity (idol) of a God. Many temples have sculptures of God being carried in a palki.[15] Modern use of the palanquin is limited to Indian weddings, pilgrimage and carrying idol of God.[16][17]


Bicycles (simply called cycles in India) have ownership rates ranging from around 30% to 75% at the state level.[4] Along with walking, cycling accounts for 50 to 80% of the commuter trips for those in the informal sector in urban areas.[12] However, recent developments suggest that bicycle riding is fast becoming popular in the metro cities of India. Today, government development authorities all over India encourage the setup and use of separate bicycle lanes alongside the roads to combat pollution and ease traffic congestion.[18]

Human-pulled rickshaws[edit]

Human-pulled rickshaw are still available in various cities and villages in the country. Many local governments have proposed ban on these rickshaws describing them as "inhuman". The Government of West Bengal proposed a ban on these rickshaws in 2005[19] Though a bill aiming to address this issue, termed as Calcutta Hackney Carriage Bill, was passed by the West Bengal Assembly in 2006, it has not been implemented yet.[20] The Government of West Bengal is working on an amendment of this bill to avoid the loopholes that got exposed when the Hand-pulled Rickshaw Owner's Association filed a petition against the bill.[20]

Cycle rickshaws[edit]

Cycle rickshaws were introduced in India in the 1940s.[21] They are bigger than a tricycle where two people sit on an elevated seat at the back and a person pedals from the front. In the late 2000s, they were banned in several cities for causing traffic congestion.[22][23][24] The Delhi Police recently submitted an affidavit against plying of cycle rickshaws to ease traffic congestion in the city but it was dismissed by the Delhi High Court.[25] In addition, environmentalists have supported the retention of cycle rickshaws as a non-polluting and inexpensive mode of transport.[26]

Bullock carts/Horse carriages[edit]

Bullock Cart in Ahmedabad

Bullock carts have been traditionally used for transport, especially in rural India. The arrival of the British saw drastic improvements in the horse carriages which were used for transport since early days. Today, they are used in smaller towns and are referred as Tanga or buggies. Victorias of Mumbai are still used for tourist purposes, but horse carriages are now rarely found in the cities of India.[27] In recent years cities have banned the movement of slow moving vehicles on the main roads.[28][29][30]


The Mumbai-Pune Expressway was the first expressway to be operational in India on 2002
Outer Ring Road (Nehru ORR) at Narsinghi, Hyderabad
Durgapur Expressway in the Indian state of West Bengal, part of NH 2

As per 2013 estimates, the total road length in India is 4,689,842 km (2,914,133 mi);[31] making the Indian road network the second largest road network in the world after the United States. At 0.66 km of highway per square kilometre of land the density of India's highway network is higher than that of the United States (0.65) and far higher than that of China's (0.16) or Brazil's (0.20).[1]

India has a network of National Highways connecting all the major cities and state capitals, forming the economic backbone of the country. As of 2013, India has a total of 70,934 km (44,076 mi) of National Highways, of which 1,208 km (751 mi) are classified as expressways.[32]

As per the National Highways Authority of India, about 65% of freight and 80% passenger traffic is carried by the roads. The National Highways carry about 40% of total road traffic, though only about 2% of the road network is covered by these roads.[32] Average growth of the number of vehicles has been around 10.16% per annum over recent years.[32]

Under National Highways Development Project (NHDP), work is under progress to equip national highways with four lanes; also there is a plan to convert some stretches of these roads to six lanes.[33] All national highways are metalled, but very few are constructed of concrete, the most notable being the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. In recent years construction has commenced on a nationwide system of multi-lane highways, including the Golden Quadrilateral and North-South and East-West Corridors which link the largest cities in India.

In 2000, around 40% of villages in India lacked access to all-weather roads and remained isolated during the monsoon season.[1][34] To improve rural connectivity, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Prime Minister's Rural Road Program), a project funded by the Central Government with the help of World Bank, was launched in 2000 to build all-weather roads to connect all habitations with a population of 500 or above (250 or above for hilly areas).[34][35]

Generally, traffic in most of the cities in India moves slowly, where traffic jams and accidents are very common, but in some cities like Chandigarh, wide roads and less vehicles contribute to lesser traffic.[36][37] India has very poor records on road safely—around 90,000 people die from road accidents every year.[38] At least 13 people die every hour in road accidents in the country, also in the year 2007 road accidents claimed more than 130,000 lives, overtaking China.[39][40] A Reader's Digest study of traffic congestion in Asian cities ranked several Indian cities within the Top Ten for worst traffic.[37]

Type of Road Length
Expressways 1,208 km (751 mi) as of 2011
National Highways 79,116 km (49,160 mi)
State Highways 155,716 km (96,757 mi)
District, Rural and Other Roads 4,455,010 km (2,768,210 mi)
Total Length 4,689,842 km (2,914,133 mi) (Approx)


Mumbai's B.E.S.T. is India's oldest operating transport body

Buses are an important means of public transport in India. Due to this social significance, bus transport is predominantly owned and operated by public agencies, and most state governments operate bus services through a State Road Transport Corporation.[41] These corporations have proven extremely useful in connecting villages and towns across the country.[42] However, the share of buses is negligible in most Indian cities as compared to personalised vehicles, and two-wheelers and cars account for more than 80 percent of the vehicle population in most large cities.[42]Many indian state government run have their own fleet of buses which are run under their state transport department.Some of the top bus fleet is as follows

Sr. No. State Bus Fleet of all STU's
1 Karnataka 23138
2 Tamilnadu 23078
3 Maharashtra 16000
4 Uttar pradesh 11851
5 Andhra pradesh 11785
6 Telangana 10479
7 Gujarat 9100
8 Kerala 6240
9 Rajasthan 5500
10 Haryana 4250
11 Punjab 2909
12 Himachal pradesh 2645
13 West bengal 2345
14 Uttrakhand 1419
15 Assam 585
16 Goa 565
17 Jammu & Kashmir 529
18 Orissa 462
19 Bihar 306

Bus Rapid Transit System[edit]

Bus Rapid Transit Systems (BRTS), exist in several cities of the country.[43] Buses take up over 90% of public transport in Indian cities,[44] and serve as a important mode of transport. Services are mostly run by state government owned transport corporations.[42] In 1990s all government state transport corporations have introduced various facilities like low-floor buses for the disabled and air-conditioned buses to attract private car owners to help decongest roads.[45][46] Mumbai introduced air conditioned buses in 1998.[47] Bangalore was the first city in India to introduce Volvo B7RLE intra-city buses in India in January 2005 .[48][49][50] Bengaluru is the first Indian city to have an air-conditioned bus stop, located near Cubbon Park. It was built by airtel.[51] The city of Chennai houses one of Asia's largest bus terminus, the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus.[52]

System City State Opening Year System Length (km) No of Lines No of Stations Notes
Ahmedabad BRTS Ahmedabad Gujarat 2009 October 14 87 12 126
Indore BRTS Indore Madhya Pradesh 2013 126.46 10 N/A
Jaipur BRTS Jaipur Rajasthan 2010 July 2
Rainbow BRTS Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad Maharashtra 2006 December 23.6 4
Rajkot BRTS Rajkot Gujarat 2012 October 1 63 1 19
Surat BRTS Surat Gujarat 2013 January 26 114 2 148
Vijayawada BRTS Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh 2011
Amritsar BRTS Amritsar Punjab 15 December 2016 68 7 136
Bhopal BRTS Bhopal Madhya Pradesh 186 10 230 Largest BRTS.
Bhubaneswar BRTS Bhubaneswar Odisha 2015 66.32 2 TBD
Raipur and Naya Raipur BRTS Raipur and New Raipur Chhattisgarh 2016 Nov 1 60 2 10
Visakhapatnam BRTS Vishakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh 2016 Oct 2 42 2
Hubli-Dharwad BRTS Hubli, Dharwad Karnataka 2014 70 2 33
Kolkata BRTS Kolkata West Bengal 15.5 1
Jodhpur BRTS Jodhpur Rajasthan 2016 January 15
Ludhiana BRTS Ludhiana Punjab 48
Mumbai BRTS Mumbai Maharashtra 2014 11.7 1
Chennai BRTS Chennai Tamil Nadu 70.3 1 21
Coimbatore BRTS Coimbatore Tamil Nadu 27.6 1
Hyderabad BRTS Hyderabad Telangana 39 2
Madurai BRTS Madurai Tamil Nadu 2
Tiruchirappalli BRTS Tiruchirappalli Tamil Nadu 112 4
Guwahati BRTS[53] Guwahati Assam
Delhi BRTS Delhi Delhi 2008 115.5 7
  • White background In service
  • Green background Under construction
  • Blue background In planning
  • Yellow background Proposed but not planned
  • Pink background Proposed to be scrapped


Motor vehicles[edit]


Motorised two-wheeler vehicles like scooters, motorcycles and mopeds are very popular mode of transport due to their fuel efficiency and ease of use in congested roads or streets. The number of two-wheelers sold is several times that of cars. There were 47.5 million powered two-wheelers in India in 2003 compared with just 8.6 million cars.[54]

Manufacture of motorcycles in India started when Royal Enfield began assembly in its plant in Chennai in 1948. Royal Enfield, an iconic brand name in the country, manufactures different variants of the British Bullet motorcycle which is a classic motorcycle that is still in production.[55] Hero MotoCorp(formerly Hero Honda), Honda, Bajaj Auto, Yamaha, TVS Motors and Mahindra 2 Wheelers are the largest two-wheeler companies in terms of market-share.[56]

Manufacture of scooters in India started when Automobile Products of India (API), set up at Mumbai and incorporated in 1949, began assembling Innocenti-built Lambretta scooters in India post independence.[citation needed] They eventually acquired licence for the Li150 series model, of which they began full-fledged production from the early sixties onwards.[citation needed] In 1972, Scooters India Ltd (SIL), a state-run enterprise based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, bought the entire manufacturing rights of the last Innocenti Lambretta model. API has infrastructural facilities at Mumbai, Aurangabad, and Chennai but has been non-operational since 2002. SIL stopped producing scooters in 1998.[citation needed]

Motorcycles and scooters can be rented in many cities, Wicked Ride, Metro bikes and many other companies are working with state governments to solve last mile connectivity problems with mass transit solutions.[57] Wearing protective headgear is mandatory for both the rider and the pillion-rider in most cities.[58]


Private automobiles account for 30% of the total transport demand in urban areas of India. An average of 963 new private vehicles are registered every day in Delhi alone.[59] The number of automobiles produced in India rose from 6.3 million (6.3 million) in 2002–03 to 11 million (11.2 million) in 2008–09.[60] However, India still has a very low rate of car ownership. When comparing car ownership between BRIC developing countries, it is on a par with China,[61] and exceeded by Brazil and Russia.[61]

Compact cars, especially hatchbacks predominate due to affordability, fuel efficiency, congestion, and lack of parking space in most cities. Chennai is known as the "Detroit of India" for its automobile industry.[62] Maruti, Hyundai and Tata Motors are the most popular brands in the order of their market share. The Ambassador once had a monopoly but is now an icon of pre-liberalisation India, and is still used by taxi companies. Maruti 800 launched in 1984 created the first revolution in the Indian auto sector because of its low pricing. It had the highest market share until 2004, when it was overtaken by other low-cost models from Maruti such as the Alto and the Wagon R, the Indica from Tata Motors and the Santro from Hyundai. Over the 20-year period since its introduction, about 2.4 million units of the Maruti 800 have been sold.[63] However, with the launch of the Tata Nano, the least expensive production car in the world, Maruti 800 lost its popularity.[64]

India is also known for a variety of indigenous vehicles made in villages out of simple motors and vehicle spare-parts. A few of these innovations are the Jugaad, Maruta, Chhakda, peter rehda and the Fame.[65]

In the city of Bengaluru, Radio One and the Bangalore Traffic Police, launched a carpooling drive which has involved celebrities such as Robin Uthappa, and Rahul Dravid encouraging the public to carpool.[66][67][68] The initiative got a good response, and by the end of May 2009, 10,000 people are said to have carpooled in the city.[69]

Utility vehicles[edit]

The first utility vehicle in India was manufactured by Mahindra. It was a copy of the original Jeep and was manufactured under licence.[70] The vehicle was an instant hit and made Mahindra one of the top companies in India. The Indian Army and police extensively use Mahindra vehicles along with Maruti Gypsys for transporting personnel and equipment.

Tata Motors, the automobile manufacturing arm of the Tata Group, launched its first utility vehicle, the Tata Sumo, in 1994.[71][72] The Sumo, owing to its then-modern design, captured a 31% share of the market within two years.[73] The Tempo Trax from Force Motors till recently was ruling the rural areas. Sports utility vehicles now form a sizeable part of the passenger vehicle market.[74] Models from Tata, Honda, Hyundai, Ford, Chevrolet and other brands are available.[75]


Ambassador taxis in Kolkata

Most of the taxicabs in India are either Premier Padmini or Hindustan Ambassador cars.[76] Depending on the city/state, taxis can either be hailed or hired from taxi-stands. In cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, taxis need to be hired over phone,[77] whereas in cities like Kolkata and Mumbai, taxis can be hailed on the street. According to government of India regulations, all taxis are required to have a fare-meter installed.[78] There are additional surcharges for luggage, late-night rides and toll taxes are to be paid by the passenger. Since 2006, radio taxis have become increasingly popular with the public due to reasons of safety and convenience.[79]

In cities and localities where taxis are expensive or do not ply as per the government or municipal regulated fares, people use share taxis. These are normal taxis which carry one or more passengers travelling to destinations either en route to the final destination, or near the final destination.[citation needed] The passengers are charged according to the number of people with different destinations.[citation needed] The city of Mumbai will soon be the first city in India, to have an "in-taxi" magazine, titled MumBaee, which will be issued to taxis which are part of the Mumbai Taximen's Union. The magazine debuted on 13 July 2009.[80] In Kolkata there are many no refusal taxis available with white and blue in colour.[81]

Auto Rickshaws[edit]

An Autorikshaw in Mango Orange village, Nilgiris.

An auto rickshaw is a three-wheeler vehicle for hire that does not have doors and is generally characterised by a small cabin for the driver in the front and a seat for passengers in the rear.[82] Generally it is painted in yellow, green or black color and has a black, yellow or green canopy on the top, but designs vary considerably from place to place. The color of the autorickshaw is also determined by the fuel that it is powered by, for example Agartala, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi have green or black autos indicating the use of compressed natural gas, whereas the autos of Kolkata, Bengaluru have green autos indicating the use of LPG.[citation needed]

In Mumbai and other metropolitan cities, 'autos' or 'rickshaws' as they are popularly known have regulated metered fares. A recent law prohibits auto rickshaw drivers from charging more than the specified fare, or charging night-fare before midnight, and also prohibits the driver from refusing to go to a particular location. Mumbai and Kolkata are also the only two cities which prohibit auto rickshaws from entering a certain part of the city, in these cases being South Mumbai and certain parts of Downtown Kolkata.[83] However, in cities like Chennai, it is common to see autorickshaw drivers demand more than the specified fare and refuse to use fare meter[84]

Airports and railway stations at many cities such as Howrah, Chennai and Bengaluru provide a facility of prepaid auto booths, where the passenger pays a fixed fare as set by the authorities for various locations.[85]

Electric rickshaw is new popular means of transport, rapidly growing in number in India, due to low running and initial cost, other economic and environment benefits, these vehicles are becoming popular in India. E Rickshaws are made in fiberglass or metal body, powered by a BLDC Electric Motor with max power 2000W and speed 25 km/h.


Indian Railways Headquarters, Delhi
Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express
Bangalore City railway station entrance
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway in West Bengal is a World Heritage Site,[86] and one of the only two steam engine operated railway lines in India, other being Nilgiri Mountain Railway in Tamil Nadu.

Country-wide rail services in India, are provided by the state-run Indian Railways under the supervision of the Ministry of Railways. Indian Railways is divided into seventeen zones including the Kolkata Metro Railway.[87] The Indian Railways are further sub-divided into sixty seven divisions, each having a divisional headquarters.[88][89]

The railway network traverses through the length and breadth of the country, covering more than 7,000 stations over a total route length of more than 65,000 km (40,000 mi) and track length of about 115,000 km (71,000 mi).[90] About 22,224 km (13,809 mi) or 34% of the route-kilometre was electrified as on 31 March 2012.[91] Indian Railways provides an important mode of transport in India, transporting over 18 million passengers and more than 2 million tonnes of freight daily across one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world.[90] Indian Railways is the world's largest commercial or utility employer, with more than 1.4 million employees.[92][93] As to rolling stock, IR owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives.[92] It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities. It operates both long distance and suburban rail systems on a network of broad gauge

The Indian Railways runs a number of special types of services which are given higher priority. The Rajdhani trains introduced in 1969 provides connectivity between the national capital, Delhi and capitals of the states. On the other hand, Shatabdi Express provides connectivity between centres of tourism, pilgrimage or business. The Shatabdi Express trains run over short to medium distances and do not have sleepers while the Rajdhani Expresses run over longer distances and have only sleeping accommodation. Both series of trains have a maximum permissible speed of 110 to 140 km/h (81 to 87 mph) but average speed of less than 100 km/h.[citation needed]. The Duronto Express (without any commercial stop between the origin and the destination but with a few technical stops for crew change and food intake) and Garib Raths express that provide cheap no-frill airconditioned rail travel.

Besides, The Indian Railways also operates a number of luxury trains which cater to various tourist circuits. For instance, the Palace on Wheels serves the Rajasthan circuit and The Golden Chariot serves the Karnataka and Goa circuits.[citation needed] There are two UNESCO World Heritage Sites on IR – the Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus[94] and the Mountain railways of India. The latter is not a contiguous railway line but comprises the following three separate historic railway lines located in different parts of India:[95] The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a 610 mm (2 ft) narrow gauge railway in Lesser Himalayas in West Bengal, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) metre gauge railway in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu and the Kalka-Shimla Railway, a 762 mm (2 ft 6 in) narrow gauge railway in the Shivalik mountains in Himachal Pradesh.

In India freight (goods) trains can carry standard containers double-stacked on flat-bed wagons with normal axle load of about 22 tonnes and do not require special low-bed wagons unlike in other countries that have (relatively narrow) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge. They carry almost 4000 tonnes per rake which is almost twice the load a normal goods train can haul. Some double-stacked container freight trains on the route through Rewari station also carry "high cube" containers that are 2896 mm (9 ft 6-inch) high (higher than standard containers that are generally 8 ft or 2.438 mm high) on special low-well wagons owned by private clients. Some private logistics operators have built container storage yards north of Rewari near Garhi Harsaru for this purpose.[citation needed]

In 1999, the Konkan Railway Corporation introduced the Roll on Roll off (RORO) service, a unique road-rail synergy system, on the section between Kolad in Maharashtra and Verna in Goa,[96] which was extended up to Surathkal in Karnataka in 2004.[97][98] The RORO service, the first of its kind in India, allowed trucks to be transported on flatbed trailers. It was highly popular,[99] carrying about 110,000 trucks and bringing in about 740 million worth of earnings to the corporation till 2007.[100]

High-speed rail[edit]

India does not have any railways classified as high-speed rail (HSR), which have operational speeds in excess of 200 km/h (120 mph).[101] The fastest train in India is the Gatimaan Express with a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph),[102][103] which runs between Delhi and Agra.[104]

Prior to the 2014 general election, the two major national parties (Bharatiya Janata Party and Indian National Congress(INC)) pledged to introduce high-speed rail. The INC pledged to connect all of India's million-plus cities by high-speed rail,[105] whereas BJP, which won the election, promised to build the Diamond Quadrilateral project, which would connect the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai via high-speed rail.[106] This project was approved as a priority for the new government in the incoming prime minister's speech.[107] Construction of one kilometer of high speed railway track will cost 100 crore (US$16 million) – 140 crore (US$22 million) which is 10-14 times higher than the construction of standard railway.[108]

India's prime minister Narendra Modi approved the choice of Japan to build India's first high-speed railway. The planned rail would run some 500 km (310 mi) between Mumbai and the western city of Ahmedabad, at a top speed of 320 km/h (200 mph).[109][110] Under the proposal, construction is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2023. It would cost about 980 billion (US$15 billion) and be financed by a low-interest loan from Japan.[111] India will use the wheel-based 300 km/hr HSR technology, instead of new maglev 600 km/hr technology of the Japan used in Chūō Shinkansen. India is expected to have its HSR line operational from 2025 onwards, once the safety checks are completed.

Rail links with adjoining countries[edit]

Samjhauta Express between India and Pakistan

Rail links between India and neighbouring countries are not well-developed. Two trains operate to Pakistan—the Samjhauta Express between Delhi and Lahore, and the Thar Express between Jodhpur and Karachi. Bangladesh is connected by a biweekly train, the Maitree Express that runs from Kolkata to Dhaka. Two rail links to Nepal exist—passenger services between Jaynagar and Bijalpura, and freight services between Raxaul and Birganj.[112]

Indian and Bangladeshi governments will start work late by December or early by January 2015 on a new rail link to ease surface transport.[113] India will build a 15-km railway tracks linking Tripura's capital Agartala with Bangladesh's southeastern city of Akhaura, an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and Dhaka.[114] An agreement to implement the railway project was signed between India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina during her visit to India in January 2010.[115] Total cost of the proposed project is estimated at Rs.252 crore. The Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) would lay the new railway tracks on both sides of the border. Of the 15 km rail line, five km of tracks fall in the Indian territory.[116][117] The NFR is now laying tracks to connect Tripura's southern most border town Sabroom, 135 km south of here. From Sabroom, the Chittagong international sea port is just 72 km.[118]

No rail link exists with Myanmar but a railway line is to be built through from Jiribam (in Manipur) to Tamu through Imphal and Moreh.[119] The construction of this missing link, as per the feasibility study conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs through RITES Ltd, is estimated to cost 29.41 billion (US$460 million).[120] An 18 km railway link with Bhutan is being constructed from Hashimara in West Bengal to Toribari in Bhutan. No rail link exists with either China or Sri Lanka.[121]

Suburban rail[edit]

White and purple coloured MRVC Siemens rakes on the Western Line in Mumbai
A MRTS station in the city of Chennai

The suburban railway services in India are operational in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad and Bengaluru.[42] The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the first rail system in India which began services in Mumbai in 1853, transports 6.3 million passengers daily and has the highest passenger density in the world.[122] The Kolkata Suburban Railway, was established in Kolkata in 1854.[123]

System City State Opening Year System Length (km) No of Lines No of Stations Gauge Traction Notes
Chennai Suburban Railway Chennai Tamil Nadu 1931 896.57 6 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Barabanki-Lucknow Suburban Railway Barabanki
Uttar Pradesh 36 2 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Delhi Suburban Railway Delhi Delhi 1982 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Mumbai Suburban Railway Mumbai Maharashtra 1853 427.5 6 140 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
First suburban railway
Kolkata Suburban Railway Kolkata West Bengal 1854 1182 5 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Lucknow-Kanpur Suburban Railway Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh 1867 72 2 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS) Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh 2003 43 3 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Pune Suburban Railway Pune Maharashtra 1978 63 2 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Bangalore Commuter Rail Bangalore Karnataka Under Construction 200 2 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Pernem-Karwar Suburban Railway Goa
Goa, Karnataka 2015 100 1 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Ahmedabad suburban railway Ahmedabad Gujarat 52.96 2 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC
Bangalore-Tumakuru Suburban Railway Bangalore
Karnataka 1990 70 1 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge 25kV AC


Kolkata Metro is India's oldest metro
Delhi Metro, operational since 2002
Namma Metro in Bengaluru is India's second largest metro system

The first modern rapid transit in India is the Kolkata Metro and started its operations in 1984, this is also the 17th Zone of the Indian Railways.[124] The Delhi Metro in New Delhi is India's second conventional metro and began operations in 2002. The Namma Metro in Bangalore is India's third operational rapid transit and began operations in 2011. Currently, rapid transit are under construction or in planning in several major cities of India and will be opened shortly.

  • White background In service
  • Green background Under construction
  • Blue background In planning
  • Yellow background Proposed but not planned
  • Pink background Defunct
System City State Opening Year System Length (km) No of Lines[a] No of Stations[b] Gauge Traction Notes
IO[c] UC[d] Planned[e]
Kolkata Metro Kolkata West Bengal 24 October 1984 27.22 113.42 1 24 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
750 V DC Third rail First mass rapid transit /metro rail system in India and the 17th zone of the Indian Railways.Its First in india to have Third rail for power supply& to use fully Made in India metro coaches by ICF & BEML, First metro in india to run under-water through tunnel line below Hooghly river
Chennai MRTS Chennai Tamil Nadu 1 November 1995 19.34 4.5 1 17 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge standard gauge 25kV AC OHE First Indian Railway system to had ballast less tracks. The MRTS to be taken over by the Chennai Metro Rail Limited by 2021.[125]
Delhi Metro Delhi NCR Delhi 24 December 2002 218 140[126] 103[127] 6 160 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge
1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
25kV AC OHE India's first modern rapid transit/Metro system
Namma Metro Bengaluru Karnataka 20 October 2011 42.30 34.37 57.07 2 41 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 750 V DC Third rail First metro in southern India and also first to have third rail for power supply in south india & to introduce Wi-Fi onboard trains.[128]
Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Gurgaon Haryana 14 November 2013 11.7 1 11 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 750 V DC Third rail India's first fully privately financed metro,[129] and the first metro system in the country to auction naming rights for its stations.[130]
Mumbai Metro Mumbai Maharashtra 8 June 2014 11.4 124.1 38.5 1 12 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE India's First public private partnership metro system by Reliance group
Jaipur Metro Jaipur Rajasthan 3 June 2015 9.63 2.4 23.01 1 9 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE Double-story elevated road and Metro track project for the first time in the country.
Chennai Metro Chennai Tamil Nadu 29 June 2015 27.88 19.17 104.4 2 20 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE First metro rail in the country to connect two lines{blue & green} through loop line to run direct service from airport to central even though had interchange station at alandur. First metro in India for underground stations with sliding doors.First Metro service in India to use ALSTOM coaches.
Kochi Metro Kochi Kerala 17 June 2017[131] 13.2 25.6  37.2 1 25 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 750 V DC Third rail First metro to had QR code based ticket instead of tokens. First metro to had fully made in India Alstom coaches. first metro in india to had theme based stations.
Lucknow Metro Lucknow Uttar Pradesh June 2017[132] 33  140 2 33 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE First metro system to be constructed successfully in shortest span of time.[133]
Noida Metro Noida Uttar Pradesh April 2018[134] 29.7 29.7 1 22 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Navi Mumbai Metro Navi Mumbai Maharashtra May 2018[135] 11.10 12.30[136] 1 20 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE
Hyderabad Metro Hyderabad Telangana July 2018[137] 71.6 168 3 64 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE India's first metro to have CBTC and integrated telecommunications and supervision systems, i.e. driver less metro. Its is under Public-Private partnership by L&T
Nagpur Metro Nagpur Maharashtra 2019[138] 19  38.2 2 36 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC OHE Construction began on 30 May 2015.[139]
Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Ahmedabad & Gandhinagar Gujarat 2020[140] 19  37.766[141] 2 32 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 750 V DC Third rail Construction began on 15 March 2015.[142]
Kanpur Metro Kanpur Uttar Pradesh 2021 24 38 2 24 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25 kv AC


First phase is expected to be completed by 2019. Construction began on 4 October 2016.[143]
Pune Metro Pune Maharashtra 2021[138] 60.51 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge Construction began in May 2017.[144]
Vijayawada Metro Vijayawada Andhra Pradesh 2019 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Varanasi Metro Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 25[145] 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge N/A DPR approved by Union Cabinet.[146]
Agra Metro Agra Uttar Pradesh 2028[147] 27[147] 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge N/A DPR submitted to state government.[148]
Meerut Metro Meerut Uttar Pradesh 2021[149] 30 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge N/A DPR submitted to state government.[148]
Patna Metro Patna Bihar 2021 60 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge N/A DPR approved by State Cabinet in February 2017.[150] Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2017.[151]
Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro Thiruvananthapuram Kerala 2027[152] 22[152] TBD N/A DPR approved and submitted by DMRC; awaiting cabinet approval[152]
Visakhapatnam Metro(Vizag Metro) Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh 39 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge N/A Construction of Phase-1 to be completed by December 2018.[153] DPR prepared and to be submitted .[154][155][156]
Kozhikode Light Metro Kozhikode Kerala 2025[157] 22[157] 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge N/A DPR approved and submitted by DMRC on October 2014; awaiting cabinet approval[152]
Guwahati Metro Guwahati Assam 2021 61.4 TBD N/A DPR approved by State Cabinet.[158]
Bhopal Metro Bhopal Madhya Pradesh 2024[159] 85[159] 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC DPR approved by State Cabinet.[160]
Indore Metro Indore Madhya Pradesh 2025[161] 107[162] 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 25kV AC DPR approved by State Cabinet.[160]
Chandigarh Metro Chandigarh Tricity Punjab 2022[163] 37.5 TBD N/A DPR already prepared and submitted[164]
Dehradun Metro DehradunRishikeshHaridwar Uttarakand TBD N/A DPR being prepared.[165][166]
Surat Metro Surat Gujarat N/A N/A DPR being prepared.[167]
Srinagar Metro Srinagar Jammu & Kashmir N/A N/A DPR being prepared.[168]
Gwalior Metro Gwalior Madhya Pradesh 2021 105 N/A N/A DPR being prepared
Greater Nasik Metro Nasik Maharashtra N/A N/A Proposed Metro line which will connect Igatpuri, Deolali, Nasik Road, Nasik Central and Ojhar Airport.[169]
Western railway elevated corridor Mumbai Maharashtra 63.27 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge N/A Rejected because of unfeasibility.


Monorail is generally considered as feeder system for the Metro trains in India. The Mumbai Monorail, which started in 2014, is the first operational monorail network in India[170] (excluding the Skybus Metro Test Track in Goa) since the Patiala State Monorail Trainways closed in 1927.

  • White background In service
  • Green background Under construction
  • Blue background In planning
  • Yellow background Proposed but not planned
  • Pink background Defunct
System City State Opening Year System Length (km) No of Lines No of Stations Traction Notes
Mumbai Monorail Mumbai Maharashtra 2 February 2014 8.26 1 7 750 V DC Third rail
Chennai Monorail Chennai Tamil Nadu 2018 57 3 37 Centre approved Chennai monorail project

to be implemented under DBFOT model.[171][172][173][174][175]

Kolkata Monorail Kolkata 72 2
Coimbatore Monorail Coimbatore 2
Allahabad Monorail Allahabad 70.4 2
Bangalore Monorail Bangalore 60
Delhi Monorail Delhi 90 6
Indore Monorail Indore
Kanpur Monorail Kanpur 63 3
Navi Mumbai Monorail Navi Mumbai 36.82 2
Patna Monorail Patna 32 4
Pune Monorail Pune 52 2
Ahmedabad Monorail Ahmedabad 30 4
Aizawl Monorail Aizawl
Jodhpur Monorail Jodhpur [176][177][178][179][180][181][182]
Kota Monorail Kota [176][177][178][179][180][181][182]
Nagpur Monorail Nagpur 50 DPR is being Prepared[183]
Nashik Monorail Nashik 130 DPR is being Prepared
Jabalpur Monorail Jabalpur

Light rail[edit]

Like monorail, light rail is also considered as a feeder system for the Metro systems. Two light rail projects have been proposed respectively in Delhi and Kolkata. There would be total number of 68 stations of light rail in India. Also, light rail proposal for other cities is currently in discussion.

System City State Opening Year System Length (km) No of Lines No of Stations Gauge Traction Notes
Kolkata LRTS Kolkata West Bengal 2 12 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge 750 V DC Third rail Would be first LRTS in India.
Delhi Light Rail Transit Delhi Delhi 45 3
Kozhikode Light Metro Kozhikode Kerala 2022
Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro Thiruvananthapuram Kerala 2019


Trams in Kolkata is the only remaining tram network in India.

The arrival of British rule in India saw trams in addition to trains, being introduced in many cities. The Kolkata tram is currently the only tram system in the country and provides an emission-free means of transport in Kolkata while the other tram systems in India were phased out. The nationalised Calcutta Tramways Company is in the process of upgrading the existing tramway network at a cost of 240 million (US$3.7 million).[184] Presently the limited tram system in India is extremely slow and technologically backward, new light rail projects are being proposed rather than traditional tram projects which have one reason or another not been very successful in the country.[citation needed] However, there are some proposals to reintroduce trams as a new transport avatar in some new Indian cities.[185] There are also plans to introduce trams in medium-sized cities.[186]


Air India, the flag carrier of India

Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the national regulatory body for the aviation industry. It is controlled by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. The ministry also controls aviation related autonomous organisations like the Airports Authority of India (AAI), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi and Public Sector Undertakings including Air India, Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.[187]

Air India is India's national flag carrier after merging with Indian (airline) in 2011[188] and plays a major role in connecting India with the rest of the world.[189] IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India, Spicejet and GoAir are the major carriers in order of their market share.[190] These airlines connect more than 80 cities across India and also operate overseas routes after the liberalisation of Indian aviation. Several other foreign airlines connect Indian cities with other major cities across the globe. However, a large section of country's air transport potential remains untapped, even though the Mumbai-Delhi air corridor was ranked 10th by Amadeus in 2012 among the world's busiest routes.[191][192]

Emirates Plane land on Kempegowda International Airport


The Departures section of Mumbai Airport.
The Departures section in the new terminal of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport.

While there are 346[193] civilian airfields in India – 253 with paved runways and 93 with unpaved runways, only 132 were classified as "airports" as of November 2014.[194] Of these, Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi is the busiest in the country.[195][196][197] The operations of the major airports in India have been privatised over the past 5 years and this has resulted in better equipped and cleaner airports. The terminals have either been refurbished or expanded.

India also has 33 "ghost airports," which were built in an effort to make air travel more accessible for those in remote regions but are now non-operational due to a lack of demand. The Jaisalmer Airport in Rajasthan, for example, was completed in 2013 and was expected to host 300,000 passengers a year but has yet to see any commercial flights take off. Despite the number of non-operational airports, India is currently planning on constructing another 200 "low-cost" airports over the next 20 years.[198]

Length of runways Airports
with paved
with unpaved
3,047 m (10,000 ft) or more 21 1
2,438 to 3,047 m (8,000 to 10,000 ft) 59 3
1,524 to 2,438 m (5,000 to 8,000 ft) 76 6
914 to 1,524 m (3,000 to 5,000 ft) 82 38
Under 914 m (3,000 ft) 14 45
Total 253 93


Aerospatiale SA 365N Dauphin 2, Pawan Hans Helicopter

As of 2013, there are 45 heliports in India.[193] India also has the world's highest helipad at the Siachen Glacier at a height of 6400 m (21,000 ft) above mean sea level.[199]

Established in 1977, Heliport Systems, Inc. plans, designs, and constructs heliports for hospitals, businesses, and the marine industry worldwide. For rooftops, we manufacture a modular, steel and aluminum, Rooftop Heliport System, complete with Heliport Lighting and Heliport Foam Fire Protection. For ships and offshore oil rigs where ultra light weight and immunity from corrosion are essential, we manufacture a prefabricated all-aluminum heliport system. Our services range from – professional site selection; compliance with aeronautics regulations; engineering design; manufacture of helidecks, heliport lighting, and heliport fire protection equipment – to turnkey construction. All services and products are fully insured.

Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited is a public sector company that provides helicopter services to ONGC to its off-shore locations, and also to various State Governments in India, particularly in North-east India.[200]


India has a coastline of 7,517 km (4,671 mi),[201] and thus ports are the main centres of trade.

India also has an extensive network of inland waterways.

Ports and shipping[edit]

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Navi Mumbai ranks 25th in the world as per container traffic.[202]
International Container Transhipment Terminal at Kochi Port, the only transshipment facility in India. This port lies closest to international shipping routes among all Indian ports.
Visakhapatnam seaport is one of the busiest ports on the East Coast of India

In India about 95% of the foreign trade by quantity and 70% by value takes place through the ports.[203] Mumbai Port & JNPT(Navi Mumbai) handles 70% of maritime trade in India.[204] There are twelve major ports: Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, Kochi, Kolkata (including Haldia), Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Ennore, Chennai, Tuticorin, New Mangaluru, Mormugao and Kandla.[205] Other than these, there are 187 minor and intermediate ports, 43 of which handle cargo.[205]

Maritime transportation in India is managed by the Shipping Corporation of India, a government-owned company that also manages offshore and other marine transport infrastructure in the country. It owns and operates about 35% of Indian tonnage and operates in practically all areas of shipping business servicing both national and international trades.The only state which carries three ports in India is Tamil Nadu, they are Ennore, Chennai and Tuticorin.[206]

It has a fleet of 79 ships of 2750,000 GT (4.8 million DWT) and also manages 53 research, survey and support vessels of 120,000 GT (060,000 DWT) on behalf of various government departments and other organisations.[207] Personnel are trained at the Maritime Training Institute in Mumbai, a branch of the World Maritime University, which was set up in 1987.[208] The Corporation also operates in Malta and Iran through joint ventures.[207]

The distinction between major and minor ports is not based on the amount of cargo handled. The major ports are managed by port trusts which are regulated by the central government.[209] They come under the purview of the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.[210][citation needed] The minor ports are regulated by the respective state governments and many of these ports are private ports or captive ports.[210][citation needed] The total amount of traffic handled at the major ports in 2005–2006 was 382.33 Mt.[205]


Motor Vessel in Hooghly river in West Bengal
Boats sailing on National Waterway 2 at Guwahati

India has an extensive network of inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters and creeks. The total navigable length is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi), out of which about 5,200 km (3,231 mi) of river and 485 km (301 mi) of canals can be used by mechanised crafts.[211] Freight transport by waterways is highly underutilised in India compared to other large countries. The total cargo moved by inland waterways is just 0.15% of the total inland traffic in India, compared to the corresponding figures of 20% for Germany and 32% for Bangladesh.[212]

Cargo that is transported in an organised manner is confined to a few waterways in Goa, West Bengal, Assam and Kerala.[citation needed] The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration and regulation.[citation needed] The following waterways have been declared as National Waterways:


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

Environmental issues and impact[edit]

The National capital New Delhi has one of the largest CNG based transport systems as a part of the drive to bring down pollution. In spite of these efforts it remains the largest contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions in the city.[216] The CNG Bus manufacturers in India are Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, Swaraj Mazda and Hindustan Motors.[217]

In 1998, the Supreme Court of India published a Directive that specified the date of April 2001 as deadline to replace or convert all buses, three-wheelers and taxis in Delhi to compressed natural gas.[218]

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation was the first State Transport Undertaking in India to utilise bio-fuels and ethanol-blended fuels.[219] KSRTC took an initiative to do research in alternative fuel forms by experimenting with various alternatives— blending diesel with biofuels such as honge, palm, sunflower, groundnut, coconut and sesame.[220] In 2009, the corporation decided to promote the use of biofuel buses.[221]

In 2017, the government announced that by 2030, only electric vehicles would be sold in the country.[222] It also announced that by 2022 all trains would be electric trains.[223]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Indicates lines that are in operation for operational systems, lines that are under construction for under construction systems and proposed lines for proposed systems.
  2. ^ Indicates stations that are in operation for operational systems, stations that are under construction for under construction systems and proposed stations for proposed systems.
  3. ^ In Operation. The length of the system currently in operation.
  4. ^ Under construction. The length of the system currently under construction.
  5. ^ Planned. The length of the system currently planned to be built, but construction has not yet started.


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 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website

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