In India, the road agencies in various States carry out the road works following the standards and codes adapted by organizations such as Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Indian Roads Congress (IRC), Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) etc. It is a common practice to follow International Specifications like BS, ASTM, AASHTO etc where Indian Standards are not available.

1.  Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)

BIS is the national Standards body of India. BIS is a founder member of International Organisation for Standardization (ISO). It represents India in the International Organisation for Standards (ISO), the International Electro technical Commission (IEC) and the World Standards Service Network (WSSN). One of the major functions of the Bureau is the formulation, recognition and promotion of the Indian Standards.  BIS (Formerly Indian Standards Institution). The National Building Code was first published by BIS in 1970 at the instance of the Planning Commission of India.

2.  Indian Roads Congress (IRC)

Indian Roads Congress (IRC) was set up by the Government of India in 1934 with the objective of promoting and encouraging the science for building and maintenance of roads. In the past several years IRC has published several standards, specifications and codes of practice, related to road and bridge works. IRC also publish plans and specifications for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). The  most important among those is the Specifications for Road and Bridge Works (5th revision 2013).

3.  Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Specifications

Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) is an apex body under the Government of India. It is responsible for the planning, development and maintenance of National Highways in India. The standard specifications for road and bridge works in the country are evolved by MoRTH.

4.  Central Public Works Department (CPWD)

The Central Public Works Department of India, commonly referred to as CPWD, is a Government of India owned authority in charge of public sector works. The CPWD, which came into existence in 1854, builds and maintains public buildings. CPWD also has developed many codes, manuals, schedules, technical specifications, design manuals and other necessary technical publications for effective working.

5.  British Standards (BS)

British Standards are produced by the British Standards Institute (BSI) group established in 1901 under the National Standards Body (NSB) for the UK.

6.  American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

ASTM was formed in 1898 by Chemists and Engineers from the Pennsylvania Railroad, USA. In 2001, the Society became known as ASTM International.  

7.  American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

(AASHTO) AASHTO,  founded in 1914, is a standards setting body which publishes specifications, test protocols and guidelines used in highway design and construction. The association represents not only highways but air, rail, water, and public transportation as well.


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental organization, the members of which are the standards organisation of the 163 member countries. ISO's main products are international standards. ISO also publishes technical reports, specifications, and guides.

Some ISO standards are mentioned below for reference:

  1. ISO 14001: This is the internationally recognized standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS). ISO 14001 specifies a process for controlling and improving a company's environmental performance.
  2. ISO 9001: This specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization need to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.


Roads are generally classified into Non-urban and Urban roads.

9.1  Non-urban roads

The six categories of non-urban roads in India are as below:

  1. Expressways: This is intended to carry traffic at high speeds. No slow moving traffic, parking, loading/unloading of goods or passengers cross-traffic are features of expressways.
  2. National Highways (NH): NH connects State capitals, port cities, places of industrial and tourist importance and neighbouring countries.
  3. State Highway (SH): This connects district headquarters and cities within the State.
  4. Major District Roads (MDR): These are roads within the district connecting markets, industrial towns and linking highways.
  5. Other District Roads (ODR): These roads serve the rural areas of production, taluk and block development headquarters.
  6. Village Roads: These are the primary roads connecting villages to other roads nearby.

9.2  Urban roads

There are five categories of urban roads as below:

  1. Expressways: These serve the same purpose as non-urban expressways.
  2. Arterial streets: This system along with the expressways or highways forms the principal network for traffic flow. These are spaced at less than 1.5 km in developed business areas and 8 km or more in sparsely developed urban outskirts.
  3. Sub-arterial streets: This also serves the similar purpose as arterial streets but with lesser level of traffic intensity. These are spaced at about 0.5 km in  developed business areas and at 3 km to 5 km in sparsely developed sub-urban fringes.
  4. Collector streets: The traffic from arterial and sub-arterial streets is carried to local streets by collector streets and vice-versa. Parking restrictions are less in collector streets except during peak hours.
  5. Local streets: These provide access to properties and normally do not carry large volume of traffic. Local streets may be residential, commercial or industrial, depending on the property adjacent to it. Majority of the trips in urban areas   originate or terminate in local streets. Normally parking restrictions are not imposed in local streets.