Transport and infrastructure in Sri Lanka

Our listing of the primary types of transport compares the infrastructure of Sri Lanka with the average of all countries in Asia. The main traffic and transport routes are in good condition, but do not reach the level of the leading industrial nations.

In terms of the length of its rail network, Sri Lanka ranks 92nd in the world with 0.07 meters per inhabitant. In total, the rail network is 1,562 kilometers long. Freight traffic on the rails most recently totaled 127.39 million tons and kilometers traveled. Passenger traffic reached 7.41 billion passenger-kilometers in 2015.

The waterways listed refer to inland traffic on rivers and canals. The number of ports includes those located on the 1,340 km of coastline. In 2020, about 6.85 million freight containers were transported.

Airports in Sri Lanka

Back to overview: Sri Lanka

Road traffic

The network of roads and highways has a total length of 114,093 km. For each of the country's 22.16 million inhabitants, this corresponds to 5.15 meters. This puts Sri Lanka in 110th place in the global ranking. However, the country's population density must also be taken into account, which is relatively high at around 338 inhabitants per km². The higher the population density of a country, the shorter the average distance traveled.

With an average of 3276 traffic fatalities per year (2013 - 2019), road traffic in Sri Lanka is considered rather mixed. This corresponds to 15.3 accident fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year. By comparison, this figure is 12.3 in the USA and 17.0 worldwide.

In Sri Lanka, left-hand traffic is the rule on the roads, i.e. you drive in the left lane and overtake on the right. Oncoming traffic comes to meet you on the right side. Here you can also find an overview of all countries with left-hand traffic.


Sri Lanka

 totalper 1 mio
per km²
Roadways114,100 km5,149.53 km1,738.96 m
Railroads1,600 km70.50 km23.81 m
Waterways160 km7.22 km2.44 m
Commercial harbors904.060.001


 total per 1 mio
per km²
Roadways16,613,000 km3,524.24 km519.50 m
Railroads280,000 km59.41 km8.76 m
Waterways260,300 km55.21 km8.14 m
Commercial harbors45,9989.760.001

Data sources used

Global Health Observatory Data Repository (World Health Organization)
Internation Union of Railways (UIC)
CIA Factbook
OECD Statistics
Wikipedia (german)
Sri Lanka: AirportsLargest airports and airlines in Sri LankaThe 8 biggest airports and 3 airlines in Sri Lanka with further information and data with further information on airlines and destinations
Sri Lanka: ClimateClimate details in Sri LankaA climate analysis for Sri Lanka incl. temperatures, humidity, rain days per month, hours of sunshine, water temperature, rainfalls
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Chongqing and Beijing