Figure 11. Transportation System.
Thailand’s transportation system of inland waterways, railroads, and roads was centered on Bangkok (see unavail.asp"> fig. 11). Historically, waterways had served to carry agricultural products from the central plain to the capital for export or domestic processing and to transport foreign or locally made goods back to rural areas. In the 1980s, the railroads and roads radiating from the city to all parts of the country served the same purpose. Bangkok’s accessibility through the Chao Phraya made it the chief port for foreign oceanborne trade. Since World War II, Bangkok’s strategic location in Southeast Asia has made the city the principal regional center for international air travel.
The existing system of main roads, railroads, and waterways in the late 1980s was considered by foreign experts to be generally adequate for the country’s overall transport requirements. Considerable upgrading of provincial roads would be needed in the coming decade to handle growing traffic as commercialization spread through the rural areas. In particular, substantial improvement and development were required for subsidiary roads to provide villages and hamlets access to the main transport arteries.