Importance of Roads:
1. Roads are important for transporting goods and passengers for short and medium distances.
2. Roads are comparatively easy and cheap to construct and maintain.
3. The roads provide contact between farms, factories and markets.
4. Roads provide door to door service.
5. Roads can negotiate steep slopes and sharp turns.
6. Roads act as great feeders to railway.
7. Road transport is more flexible as bus and trucks can be stopped anywhere and anytime for loading or unloading.
8. Roads can transport perishable goods (vegetables, fruits, milk, etc.) easily and quickly in comparison to railways.
Thus, the road transport in India is becoming popular and there is a gradual change from rail dominated transport system to road dominated transport system.
Growth and Development:
The first serious attempt to develop road network in India was made in 1943, through the Nagpur Plan. The aim was that no village in a developed agricultural region should be more than five miles (8 km) from a major road or two miles (3.2 km) away from any other road. This plan was not effectively implemented as there were many princely states outside British India.
The targets of the Nagpur Plan were more or less achieved by 1961. The Twenty Year Road Plan was drawn in 1961. It was aimed at increasing the road length from 6 lakh km to 12 lakh km, by 1981. The other main objectives of the Plan were to bring.
a. Every village in a developed agricultural area within 6.4 km (4 miles) of a metalled road and 2.4 km (1.5 miles) of any other road.
b. Every village in a semi-developed area within 12.8 km (8 miles) of a metalled road.
c. Every village in an undeveloped and uncultivated area within 19.2 km (12 miles) of a metalled road and 8 km (5 miles) of any other road.