We had 4 lakh kilometers of roads during the time of independence. Out of that only 1 lakh 57 thousand kilometers of roads were developed. Now the total roads of India have increased to near about to 12 lakh kilometers. Out of this, 5 lakh kilometers are developed and 37% of the total roads are polished.
Road transport of India is divided into 5 types. These are (i) National Highways (ii) Slate Highways (iii) Major district roads (iv) Other district roads and (v) Village roads.
India has a total of 55 National Highways. The length of the road was 31, 987 kilometers in 1986. Though only two per cents of the road system, carries nearly one third of the total traffic. National Highways connect the capital, district and important cities of the State.
The maintenance and construction of National Highways is under the control of Central Government. Grand Trunk Road is the oldest one that begins from Kolkata, connects Asansol, Kanpur and Delhi and ends at Amritsar. Among other National Highways, Kolkata to Chennai highways which connect Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar and Vijayawada, Mumbai to Mandraz highways which connect Kolhapur, Pune, Bangalore and Mumbai to Delhi which connect Joypore, Udaipur, Ahmedabad and Baroda are important.
State Highways connect different districts, cities, important cities and other industrial centres of the State and they are under the control of State Government. Major district roads connect different cities and villages of the district. Other district roads connect the major district roads. Village roads connect' different villages and different roads of the village. Village roads are generally rough.
Except these above roads, boarders are roads also found in the border areas. These roads are constructed and maintained by Border Roads Organisation. Among the Border Roads, the highest road of the world runs from Monali of Himachal Pradesh to Leh of Ladakh.
The importance of road transport is more in India. All villages of India cannot be connected through transport because of large number of villages. Rail transport is too expensive. So it can connect only important places. Road transport helps to connect important railway stations, ports and other commercial centers; it helps to transport goods and people at a cheaper rate.
Road transport enables the people reach their houses and enable the commodities and goods to reach near the businessmen. Lastly road transport is known as complementary to other form of transport and helps economic development.