HIGHWAY CAPACITY STANDARD IN INDIA – A POLITICAL AGENDA PURSUED (Paper 856)
India, like many other developing countries, has heterogeneous traffic, which is a totally different environment from any developed nation. Although many countries in the world still use the US Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) as the standard for their road developments, India does not seem akin to this. India has been pursuing the National Highway Development Project and many others with tentative capacity guidelines, which are ad-hoc and as suited for the project.This paper studies the capacity standards followed in road development programmes in India so far, which have been age-old, modified aptly from time to time to suit the policies of the Government. This paper brings out these facts along with the large amount of research carried out by academic and research institutions in India, carefully considering the peculiarity in traffic mix and road use behaviour. The research study focuses on the effect of this extravagant road development standards followed by ad-hoc policy, one of which has been the unsuccessful PPP funding regime. Cost intensive expressways and multi-lane highways are also required to undergo very careful assessment of demand and level of service to be provided. Thus, realistic and scientifically derived capacity standards are of paramount importancefor justified developments without wasting resources for popular political agenda. Such concerns gave rise to a multi-institutional study for development of Indian Highway Capacity Manual (Indo-HCM) during the 12th Five Year Plan under coordination of CRRI, and this should be adopted as the National Standard in due course of time, after review.