Transport in the Republic of India is an important part of the nation’s economy. With a land area of 3,287,240 km2 (1,269,210 sq mi), and an estimated population of 1,028,737,436, transport in India is both a necessity as well as a convenience. Since the economic liberalization of the 1990s, development of infrastructure within the country has progressed at a rapid pace, and today there is a wide variety of modes of transport by land, water and air. However, the relatively low GDP of India has meant that access to these modes of transport has not been uniform. Only around 10% of households own a motorcycle (about 102,873,744 people). Cars are owned by the wealthier few — around 0.7% of households owned one in 2007 (about 7,201,163 people). Public transport still remains the primary mode of transport for most of the population, and India’s public transport systems are among the most heavily utilized in the world.
Despite improvements, several aspects of transport are still riddled with problems due to outdated infrastructure and a burgeoning population, and demand for transport infrastructure and services has been rising by around 10% a year. Taxes and bribes are common between state borders, and Transparency International estimates that truckers pay annually $5 billion in bribes. Although India has only 1% of the world’s vehicles, it accounts for 8% of the world’s vehicle fatalities. India’s cities are extremely congested — the average bus speed is 6–10 km/h in many large cities. Because of the congestion in Indian roads the fuel efficiency of the vehicles is also very low. This increases the overall fuel consumption of the country besides creating huge pollution since the engines run very inefficiently at such low speeds. India’s rail network is the longest and fourth most heavily used system in the world. India’s growing international trade is putting strain on the ports in India. The country’s overburdened airports have just begun to get a makeover, with modernization work and greater investment in the aviation sector. In general, public transport suffers from outdated technology, incompetent management, corruption, over staffing, and low worker productivity. According to recent estimates by Goldman Sachs, India will need to spend $1.7 Trillion USD on infrastructure projects over the next decade to boost economic growth of which $500 Billion USD is budgeted to be spent during the eleventh Five-year plan.