Geographical Distribution of Roads in India

Geographical Distribution of Roads in India

Road density refers to the average length of roads per 100 square km. area.

The road density in India is still very low compared to the developed countries.

The high concentration of road network is found in the Northern Plains because of level land, fertile soil and high density of population.

In these parts, unsurfaced roads are more common than surfaced roads.

The peninsular plateau has a higher proportion of metalled roads because of the easy availability of road-building materials.

In the Northeastern states; the road network is very sparse due to hilly terrain, thick forest cover and heavy rains causing frequent floods.

Sparse population is also the other important reason.

The pattern of road density is also uneven in the country.

Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, and Haryana have higher road density. It is because of the growth of agriculture, manufacturing industries, urbanization, and dense population.

The states of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar have a moderate density of roads.

In Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the density of road is low due to low population and low economic development.

The Himalayan region and North Eastern states have a very low density of road network, which is below 20 km. per 100 square km area.

As regards the pattern of surfaced roads, Punjab in the north and Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the south have the highest road density.

The southern states have a good network of metalled roads.


Road density in India is not uniform.

It varies from region to region depending upon its relief and climatic conditions, economic development and density of population.

Roads are divided into three categories:

[1] National highways

[2] State highways, and

[3] District and village roads


National Highways are the trunk roads linking major cities of the country.

They are built and maintained by the Central Government.

Although the national highways comprise only about 2 percent of the total length of surfaced roads in India, they carry about 40% of goods and passenger traffic.

There are 219 national highways in the country.

Some of them are very important as they carry the bulk of road traffic.

National Highway No.7 is the longest (2683 km) of all, linking Varanasi in the north with Kanya Kumari in the south.


The state highways are built and maintained by the State Governments.

The District and village roads are looked after by the local bodies with some financial assistance coming from the states.


Border roads have been constructed in remote parts of the country lying close international border.

They connect these areas with the interior parts of the country.

The responsibility of their construction and maintenance is on Border Road Organisation.

These roads have economic as well as strategic importance.

Leh and Manali Road, the world’s highest road, is an example of our engineering skill and courage.

The average height of this road is 4270 meters above sea level.

Most of our border roads run through areas of very harsh climate and most inhospitable terrains.


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