Ever since the onset of economic reforms in early 1990s, India has experienced rapid economic growth along with increase in prosperity and income levels of citizens. However, this economic growth has also resulted in exponential growth of private vehicle ownership and use (similar to what US and Europe have experienced in early 1950s and late 1960s, respectively), which coupled with increase in population and other related factors, has resulted in transportation problems, namely accident, congestion, and pollution, at a severe level. All this and similar developments have brought home the urgency of recognizing that an efficient transportation system is necessary for increasing productivity and enabling the country to compete effectively in the world market. Adequacy and reliability of transport infrastructure and services are important factors that contribute towards the ability of the country to compete in the field of international trade and attract foreign direct investment. Considering these aspects, Planning Commission of India in its 11th five-year plan clearly recognizes the necessity to foster the development of the various transport modes in an integrated manner that will lead to the realization of an efficient, sustainable, safe, and regionally balanced transportation system, where each mode of transport operates in its field of economy and usefulness, with competitive and non-discriminatory prices that are adequate to support progressive development of transport infrastructure and services. This would also enable the comparative advantages and economic efficiencies to be properly reflected in the user costs. Accordingly, the Planning Commission has earmarked 34% of the total investment in infrastructure, which is 9% of the GDP by 2011-12, exclusively for transportation infrastructure. Also, this investment is spread across all sectors of transport (road, rail, air, and water) as well as at all levels (urban, regional, inter-city, and rural) and for both passenger as well as freight movement.
However, all these efforts made by government puts an onus on transportation researchers, educators, managers, and policymakers across all transport sectors to orient their actions and works towards facilitating the achievement of desired outputs expected from the current and proposed investments by the government and to ultimately harbor the overall growth of the country. This is important to also achieve the vision of sustainable and integrated multi-modal transportation system for the country, as envisaged by Planning Commission. Currently, there is no appropriate platform in India for professionals across all modes of transport, to come together and interchange ideas and knowledge. Also, there is no regular avenue in India at present to collate and publish the research literature across all transportation sectors and modes for better inter-modal understanding. TRG wishes to bridge this gap by providing such a platform/ avenue in India and become partner in the overall growth of the country.