In developing Asia, the need was felt for an institution that could focus on the transport sector in its entirety, organise systematic research, undertake project studies, and endeavor to promote regional cooperation in respect of expertise, technologies, facilities and logistics. High-level committees have also emphasised the need for establishing such an institution, which could support in laying down a conceptual edifice for the development of transportation systems at both national and regional levels for meeting the requirements of the community at minimum social and economic costs.
A cognate institutional framework for undertaking studies and research in the variegated transport sectors has also been simultaneously championed. It has thus been said: "A review of existing training and research facilities in the field of transport shows that the transport studies have been comparatively neglected. There is no institution which can impart training to look after transport system as a whole and plan for its future development in a coordinated framework or undertake studies in transport problems from a common outlook and approach."
As a sequel to such thinking, it was increasingly felt during the eighties that an inter-disciplinary centre should be set up to stimulate, sponsor and undertake research, and impart and conduct training in transport planning and management, and that it should be structured as an autonomous institution. Gradually such thinking had crystallized, and Asian Institute of Transport Development (AITD) was set up in India. It was believed that such a framework should ensure objectivity in its activities and help fulfil its accredited mandate for the promotion of regional cooperation.
The Institute, during the development decades ahead, has a commitment to function as a medium for sponsoring and conducting both training and research in the field of transportation. For this, the Institute will undertake studies and programmes in different transport sectors, and will discover and establish well-conceived inter-modal and inter-regional relationships.
The Institute, therefore, aims at balanced and sustainable development of the transport sector, keeping in view the related environmental implications and optimised usage of resources, both physical and financial. It also aims at the development of rational inter-country transport linkages for the economic growth of the region. The broad objectives of the Institute are:
- To sponsor, promote and coordinate studies and research in matters of transport policy, inter-modal systems and other related areas;
- To promote management and operational efficiency of transport services;
- To organise appropriate training programmes both at the institutional and individual levels;
- To foster regional cooperation in the transport sector.