Transport of India


Walking constituted major form of transport in ancient times. People used to cover long distances on foot or bullock carts. For instance, Adi Sankaracharya travelled all over India from Kalady near Kochi. Walking still constitutes an important mode of transport in urban areas. In the city of Mumbai, to further improve the transit conditions for pedestrians, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, has commenced the construction of more than 50 skywalks, as part of the Mumbai Skywalk project, which is very helpful as walk enthusiasts take part in reducing traffic.


Palanquins, also known as palkis or pallakiis, was one of the luxurious methods primarily used by the rich and noblemen for travelling and also to carry a deity (idol) of a God. Many temples have sculptures of God being carried in a palki. Modern use of the palanquin is limited to Indian weddings, pilgrimage and carrying idol of God.


Bicycles (simply called cycles in India) have ownership rates ranging from around 30% to 75% at the state level. Along with walking, cycling accounts for 50 to 80% of the commuter trips for those in the informal sector in urban areas. However, recent developments suggest that bicycle riding is fast becoming popular in the metro cities of India. Today, government development authorities all over India encourage the setup and use of separate bicycle lanes alongside the roads to combat pollution and ease traffic congestion.

Human-pulled rickshaws

Human-pulled rickshaw are still available in various cities and villages in the country. Many local governments have proposed ban on these rickshaws describing them as "inhuman". The Government of West Bengal proposed a ban on these rickshaws in 2005 though a bill aiming to address this issue, termed as Calcutta Hackney Carriage Bill, was passed by the West Bengal Assembly in 2006, it has not been implemented yet. The Government of West Bengal is working on an amendment of this bill to avoid the loopholes that got exposed when the Hand-pulled Rickshaw Owner's Association filed a petition against the bill.

Cycle rickshaws

Cycle rickshaws were introduced in India in the 1940s. They are bigger than a tricycle where two people sit on an elevated seat at the back and a person pedals from the front. In the late 2000s, they were banned in several cities for causing traffic congestion. The Delhi Police recently submitted an affidavit against plying of cycle rickshaws to ease traffic congestion in the city but it was dismissed by the Delhi High Court. In addition, environmentalists have supported the retention of cycle rickshaws as a non-polluting and inexpensive mode of transport.

Bullock carts/Horse carriages

Bullock carts have been traditionally used for transport, especially in rural India. The arrival of the British saw drastic improvements in the horse carriages which were used for transport since early days. Today, they are used in smaller towns and are referred as Tanga or buggies. Victorias of Mumbai are still used for tourist purposes, but horse carriages are now rarely found in the cities of India. In recent years cities have banned the movement of slow moving vehicles on the main roads.