How Can Transportation Can Impact Economic Growth

Transport has a vital role in any nation’s economic progress. A robust and reliable transportation system leads to the development of infrastructure and industry which is the basis of economic prosperity. The simple reason for this is that transportation provides adequate access to a region that is necessary if its industry has to operate efficiently.
There are several other factors, which affect the prospects of an economy that extensively depend on transportation.
1. Industry: From collecting raw material and gathering labour, to improving a product’s reach and time to market, transport provides a key support to the entire supply chain.
2. Jobs: A vital aspect of economic development is creating employment, which is both directly and indirectly done by the transport sector. A considerable part of India’s working population has been engaged by the transport sector. Facilitating the movement of labour to industrial areas is another way transportation boosts employment as well as industry.
3. Agriculture: Transport essentially strengthens agriculture by reducing the distance and time between its demand and the supply.
4. Connectivity: Countries, with diverse strengths and weaknesses, have to depend on each other for progress. Transportation helps in creating this convenience of connect with far off places, along with comfort, within a country and abroad, thus making the world one big market.
5. Movement: Transportation is an integral part of every event that needs supplies and equipment, in both war and peace. Transportation itself generates so much of industry in the form of manufacturing of vehicles, production of fuel, and their distribution.
6. Breaking monopoly: Scarcity of goods usually leads to monopoly of a group of traders. For such places, transportation is a boon, as it facilitates transfer of goods and resources from places where it is surplus.
7. Wider market: A good transport infrastructure ensures the mobility of capital, labour, and specialised talent.
8. Specialisation: In a country that has strong transport infrastructure, every region can focus on production of goods that is its specialisation – because of its available natural resources — as a smooth transport allows an easy import of other necessary commodities.
Transportation thus enhances the overall standard of living as everyone has access to everything required.
Of the two major means of surface transport, rail and road, road transport is rapidly rising as a powerful means. In the recent years, the transport sector’s employment potential is mainly concentrated in roadways.
Over the years, the modal share between the two has changed drastically. Road overtook rail, which had an 80% share in 1950-51, and became 65% by the financial year 2011-12. The major factor that caused this change was the ease with which road transport provided door to door service. According to the National Transport Development Policy Committee, 50% of freight movements, by 2031-32, will be by road.
Considering such estimates, the infrastructure for road transport expanded swiftly during the past 20 years. Government policies and huge investments were focused on it.
The significance of road transport is due to several reasons:
• It is best for short and medium distances.
• It’s relatively easier to build and maintain roads. They also involve lesser costs.
• With road transport system, the connection of the entire supply chain is seamless, from the farms to factories to markets, where the end user is.
• They are much more flexible than rails in terms of construction and operation when it comes to high gradients and sharper turns.
• Roads also support in an efficient operation of railways.
• Passengers and perishable goods’ loading and unloading become easier in road transport with the flexibility of stoppage that buses and trucks offer.

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