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Types of Transportation

There are various types of transportation that keep the day to day operations of
American society up and running. We need roadways open and unobstructed to
get to work each day. Airplanes need to fly us to far away destinations to transact
business deals or just for vacation getaways. Subways and public transportation
are the center of major city operations. School buses transport thousands of
children to classes. Trucks deliver everyday items to distribution centers and
warehouses. Barges float down rivers and waterways carrying natural resources
like coal and steel. It is all a part of keeping our daily lives moving every day.

îistory of

Transportation began with the invention of the wheel in about 3500 BC. Wheels
were placed first on carts and then chariots. Next came travel by riverboats
believed to have first been used by the Egyptians. Horses were added as a means
of transportation. It is believed Asians were the first to place some kind of
protector on the horse's hooves. The wheelbarrow was instrumental in transporting
heavy goods from one site to another. The submarine used to travel underwater
was invented in 1620 by Cornelis Drebbel. The first paddle wheel steamboat
began rolling down the river during the late 1700s and the beginning of the
Industrial Revolution. About 100 years later we saw the first cable car. The
Wright Brothers took off in the first airplane which they called a "flying machine"
in 1903. (They also made bicycles.) Henry Ford created the system to mass


produce cars in 1908. Successful helicopter flights took off in the 1940's.
Jumbo jets began gracing the runways in 1970. And, the SpaceShuttle blasted off
in 1981.

Interstate îighway System

In the United States, one key type of transportation is the use of interstate
highways. Federal officials refer to it as the National Highway System which
includes about 160,000 miles of paved roads and interstate that serves the purposes
of keeping residents mobile, keeping the country safe and keeping the economy
stable. Officially, the National Highway System is divided into several key

Êc Interstates: The current system of interstate highways in the U.S. is

formally called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and
Defense Highway. Congress passed a law in 1944 to begin the creation of
about 40,000 miles of roadway. However, it was President Eisenhower who
was instrumental in getting the roadways funded. Interstate roadways all
carry standard markers that include a red, white and blue shield, a number.
Roadways with odd numbers travel north to south. Roadways with even
numbers travel east to west.

Êc ‰rincipal Arterials: These roads generally carry a high volume of traffic

between large cities. They can be considered highways and are key links to
major transportation facilities and airports.


Êc Strategic îighway Network: This is a combination of interstate highways

and other roadways to provide a strategic route of operation for the
government in peacetime and wartime. It includes 61,000 miles and is
connected to over 200 military installations. It is commonly referred to as

Êc Strategic îighway Network Connectors: These are roadways that connect

major U.S. defense operations and military compounds to to highways that
make up STRAHNET.

Êc Inter modal Connectors: These are additional connector highways that

link interstates, major ports and transportation systems. These connectors
are also used to link the other four subgroups of highways.

Automobiles & Trucks

It is hard to believe that some people thought the automobile would never be
widely received as a mode of transportation in America. Not only is it a main way
to get around in the United States, the availability and use of cars is the key to local
and regional travel worldwide. The United States is the number one market in the


world for passenger vehicles. As of 2007, the Department of Transportation

reported over 254 million registered vehicles. Ironically, there are actually more
registered vehicles in America than there are licensed drivers which is contributing
to a growing problem of overcrowding on U.S. roadways. However the declining
U.S. economy and periodic spikes in fuel costs is causing some drivers to change
their driving patterns. A recent Harris Poll showed that "stay-cations", public
transportation usage, telecommuting and car-pooling were all increasing options
that American drivers selected to deal with the recent changes in the economy.

Meanwhile, if you have driven on the road at any point, you know you have to
share the road with an increasing population of freight trucks. Freight trucks that
transport goods from point A to point B on a 24/7 basis are the blood flow of the
American economy. And, as the American economy and population increases, so
will the need for transportation via freight trucks. According to the Federal
Highway Administration, about 53 million tons of freight is on the move daily
valued at $36 billion. Goods moved include everything you can think of from
consumer goods to industrial equipment to hazardous materials.

However, the use of both automobiles and trucks on American roadways is

expected to increase in the coming years. The Federal Highway Administration
estimates that by 2035, we will see congestion increase nearly 30 percent from
where it was in 2002.



Union Pacific was the first intercontinental railroad connecting the Eastern United
States to the new frontier of the West. The railroad was built in the mid-19th
century by hand with a workforce of about 20,000 men, many of whom were
immigrants. While England is credited with creating the first modern railroad in
the 1820s, many saw the expansion of the U.S. railway as the key to growing the
nation. As a result, traveling by train became the primary way to travel distances
and transport goods during the late 19th century.

Rail also became a viable option for local and regional transportation with the
advent of subways, rapid systems, monorails, commuter and light rail. The
London Underground or the Tube was the first to begin this method of local travel
in 1863. Since then it has transported over one billion people. The attraction of
mass transit rail systems is that they can quickly transport large numbers of people
within metropolitan areas which can take some of the stress off of roads and


Ever since the Wright Brothers flew onto the scene with the success of the first
flight, we have looked to aviation as another viable type of transportation. Air
travel is used for military, commercial and pleasure travel. However, like other
modes of transportation, air travel is highly susceptible to changes in the economy
and oil prices. Recent increases in oil prices have left airline travelers to pay
additional fees and surcharges that help airline companies compensate for their
increasing overhead costs. Also, the tragedy of the 9/11 terrorist plots caused a
worldwide restructure of airline and airport safety measures that permanently
changed air travel.


oet, there are

advances being made in the technology of aviation. Aircraft builders are coming
up with newer, lighter, more fuel efficient air crafts that could deliver another
change in the way we travel by air in the future.


Travel by boats and ships date back to Biblical times and are still useful today as a
mode of transportation that is used in daily commerce worldwide. In fact, many
cities were established along river and seaports because of their access to
waterways that were a main hub of transportation of goods. Similar to freight
transportation, shipping is another primary way goods are transported from one
point to another. And, because waterways link cities, regions and countries, cargo
shipping is essential to transporting goods internationally. The Great Lakes St.
Lawrence Seaway System is an example. It stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to
Lake Superior in Minnesota and incorporates waterways in the U.S. and Canada.


The advantages and disadvantages of air transport.

Air transport is of recent origin in the development of transport system of a

country. It is the gift of 20th century to the world. The second world ware has
stimulated the growth of air transport and it has made progress in the recent years
because it is the fastest way of transporting of goods. The transport of goods
through airways is costly and therefore it is designated to carry costly goods of
small quantity. When goods or passengers are carried by air, certain documents are
issued because the carriage of Air Act, 1972 has made it obligatory. The
documents issued when goods or passengers are carried are:

Passenger Ticket

Luggage Ticket

Air Consignment Note.

In India two nationalized airways operate which help in the conduct of air
transport. These airways are the Indian Air Lines and the Air India International.
The former is concerned for domestic operation whereas the later is concerned for
international operation.


The following are some of the advantages of air transport:

High Speed: Air transport is the fastest mode of transport and therefore suitable
carriage of goods over a long distance requiring less time. There is no substitute for
air transport when the transport of goods is required urgently.

Quick Service: Air transport provides comfortable, efficient and quick transport
service. It is regarded as best mode of transport for transporting perishable goods.


No Infrastructure Investment: Air transport does not give emphasis on construction

of tracks like railways. As no capital investment in surface track is needed, it is a
less costly mode of transport.

Easy Access: Air transport is regarded as the only means of transport in those areas
which are not easily accessible to other modes of transport. It is therefore
accessible to all areas regardless the obstruction of land.

No Physical Barrier: Air transport is free from physical barriers because it follows
the shortest and direct routes where seas, mountains and forests do not obstruct.

Natural Route: Aircrafts travels to any place without any natural obstacles or
barriers. Because the custom formalities are compiled very quickly. It avoids delay
in obtaining clearance.

National Defence: It plays a significant role in the national defense of the country
because modern wars are conducted with the help of aero planes. Airways has a
upper hand a destroying the enemy in a short period.


Inspite of many advantages air transport has a number of disadvantages. These

disadvantages are:

Risky: Air transport is the most risky form of transport because a minor accident
may put a substantial loss to the goods, passengers and the crew. The chances of
accidents are greater in comparison to other modes of transport.

Very Costly: Air transport is regarded as the costliest mode of transport. The
operating cost of aero-planes are higher and it involves a great deal of expenditure
on the construction of aerodromes and aircraft. Because of this reason the fare of
air transport are so high that it becomes beyond the reach the common people.

Small Carrying Capacity: The aircrafts have small carrying capacity and therefore
these are not suitable for carrying bulky and cheaper goods. the load capacity
cannot be increased as it is found in case of rails.


Unreliable. Most of the air transport are uncertain and the unreliable because these
are controlled by weather condition. It is seriously affected by adverse weather
conditions. Fog, snow and heavy rain weather may cause cancellation of some

Huge Investment: Air transport requires huge investment for construction and
maintenance of aerodromes. It also requires trained, experienced and skilled
personnel which involves a substantial investment.


Transportation concerns the movement of products from a source²such as a plant,

factory, or work-shop²to a destination²such as a warehouse, customer, or retail
store. Transportation may take place via air, water, rail, road, pipeline, or cable
routes, using planes, boats, trains, trucks, and telecommunications equipment as
the means of transportation. The goal for any business owner is to minimize
transportation costs while also meeting demand for products. Transportation costs
generally depend upon the distance between the source and the destination, the
means of transportation chosen, and the size and quantity of the product to be
shipped. In many cases, there are several sources and many destinations for the
same product, which adds a significant level of complexity to the problem of
minimizing transportation costs. Indeed, the United States boasts the world's
largest and most complex transportation system, with four million miles worth of
roads, a railroad network that could circle the earth almost seven times if laid out
in a straight line, and enough oil and gas lines to circle the globe 56 times.

The decisions a business owner must make regarding transportation of products are
closely related to a number of other distribution issues. For example, the
accessibility of suitable means of transportation factors into decisions regarding
where best to locate a business or facility. The means of transportation chosen will
also affect decisions regarding the form of packing used for products and the size
or frequency of shipments made. Although transportation costs may be reduced by
sending larger shipments less frequently, it is also necessary to consider the costs
of holding extra inventory. The interrelationship of these decisions means that
successful planning and scheduling can help business owners to save on
transportation costs.


There are five basic means of transporting products utilized by manufacturers and
distributors: air, motor carrier, train, marine, or pipeline. Many distribution
networks consist of a combination of these means of transportation. For example,
oil may be pumped through a pipeline to a waiting ship for transport to a refinery,
and from there transferred to trucks that transport gasoline to retailers or heating oil


to consumers. All of these transportation choices contain advantages and


Air transport. Air transportation offers the advantage of speed and can be used for
long-distance transport. However, air is also the most expensive means of
transportation, so it is generally used only for smaller items of relatively high
value²such as electronic equipment²and items for which the speed of arrival is
important²such as perishable goods. Another disadvantage associated with air
transportation is its lack of accessibility; since a plane cannot ordinarily be pulled
up to a loading dock, it is necessary to bring products to and from the airport by

According to Transportation and Distribution, air cargo remains a comparatively

small segment of total freight transportation volume when measured by tonnage
(12.5 billion domestic ton-miles of freight annually). But L. Clinton Hoch noted in
the magazine that "access to air transportation is expected to become increasingly
important since a growing number of customers (such as hospitals and electronic
manufacturers) depend upon 'just in time' delivery systems as well as the
increasing number of high-tech industries (such as computer manufacturers)
adopting the 'build-to-order' strategy." These trends, coupled with increased
pressure on consumer goods manufacturers to deliver products quickly to 1) meet
customer expectations and 2) reduce inventory and other supply chain costs, are
expected to "fuel the demand for expedited services," wrote Hoch. "Accordingly,
competition is heating up among the major air cargo and express carriers who are
building specialized hubs to handle larger aircraft and major sorting facilities."

Railways. The rail transportation network in the United States included about
120,000 miles of major rail lines in the late 1990s, on which carriers transported an
estimated 1.3 million tons of freight annually. Trains are ideally suited for shipping
bulk products, and can be adapted to meet specific product needs through the use


of specialized cars²i.e., tankers for liquids, refrigerated cars for perishables, and
cars fitted with ramps for automobiles.

Rail transportation is typically used for long-distance shipping. Less expensive

than air transportation, it offers about the same delivery speed as trucks over long
distances and exceeds transport speeds via marine waterways. In fact, deregulation
and the introduction of freight cars with larger carrying capacities has enabled rail
carriers to make inroads in several areas previously dominated by motor carriers.
But access to the network remains a problem for many businesses.

Motor carriers. Accessible and ideally suited for transporting goods over short
distances, trucks are the dominant means of shipping in the United States. In fact,
motor carriers account for approximately $120 billion in annual revenue, much of
it due to local shipments (shipments to and from business enterprises in the same
community or local region). This industry sector underwent tremendous change in
the 1990s with the introduction of deregulation measures that removed most state
and federal regulations in the areas of pricing and operating authority. "With few
exceptions, motor carriers are now free to operate wherever they wish and to
charge any rates that are agreeable to the shipper and the carrier," wrote Hoch,
although he noted that trucks are still subject to federal laws on vehicle
specifications and the parameters of the sanctioned truck routes of the Surface
Transportation Assistance Act of 1982.

Water transport. Water transportation is the least expensive and slowest mode of
freight transport. It is generally used to transport heavy products over long
distances when speed is not an issue. Although accessibility is a problem with
ships²because they are necessarily limited to coastal area or major inland
waterways²piggybacking is possible using either trucks or rail cars. However,
industry observers note that port terminal accessibility to land-based modes of
transportations is lacking in many regions. The main advantage of water
transportation is that it can move products all over the world.


Pipeline facilities. Most pipeline transportation systems are privately owned.

Generally used for transport of petroleum products, they can also be used to deliver
certain products (chemicals, slurry coal, etc.) of other companies. According to
Transportation and Distribution, the nation's natural gas line networks include
276,000 miles of transmission pipe and more than 919,000 miles of distribution
lines, which combine to deliver nearly 20 trillion cubit feet of gas on an annual


The economic benefit/functions of transport.

The movement of goods from one place to another is called transport. Transport
removes the hindrances of persons, place and time in exchange of goods and
commodities. Effective transport plays an important role in the economic progress
of the country. The various economic benefits/functions of transport are as follows:

Extensive market: Transport helps in the assembly of raw materials and

distribution of finished goods. It makes it possible to move goods from the place of
production to the place where they are to be consumed. In the earlier days, there
were only local markets due to the absence of safe means of transport. Now a days,
trade is not restricted to the boundaries of a nation, but has spread through out the
world. Development of the efficient means of transport has knit together all the
nations of the world into one big world market. Even the perishable articles like
fish, dairy products, meat etc. are being transported to distant places of the world.
But for good transport facilities, such a development in trade and commerce would
not have been possible.

Mobility of labour and capital: Transport reduces the rigours of immobility of

certain factors of productions. Mobility of labour and capital increases with the
development of transport. An efficient network of transport services encourages
the movement of people from one place to another. Labour can migrate to the place
where they can get better job opportunities which states would not have been
possible without immigrations from Europe. With the development of transport,
the investment of capital is also channelised to new lands and other places of the

Specialization and Division of Labour: Transport helps each region and country to
make optimum and efficient use of its national resources. Each region can
concentrate on production of those goods for which its resources are best suited.


Thus, movement of goods and people from one place to another leads to
specialization and division of labour which results in minimum wastage of
resources and reduction in the cost of production.

Economies of large scale production: Transport has helped the development of

large scale industries. It would not have been possible for these industries to
procure raw material, gather large number of workers and sell the finished goods,
without the efficient facilities of transport. Thus, transport has made possible
various economies of large-scale production which tend to reduce unit cost of
production and help the economy.

Stability of Prices: Transport facilities iron out wild fluctuations. Goods ca be

transported to places where there is scarcity and the prices are high from places
where there is surplus and the prices are low. Such movement of goods helps in
maintaining uniform prices throughout the country and further tends to equalize the
prices of goods throughout the world.

Benefits to Consumers: Improved means of transport benefit the consumers in

many ways. The consumers can enjoy the benefit of use of many goods, which
cannot be produced at their place, by transporting such goods from other distant
places. Further, it helps in reducing the cost of goods to consumers and increases
their purchasing power.

Employment Opportunities and Increase in the National Income: The various

means of transport provide employment to millions of people throughout the
world. The economic development of a country depends upon the improved means
of transport. Thus, transport contributes substantially to the national income of the


Characteristics of Transport Services

Characteristics of Transport Services

Creation of Transport infrastructure requires time: - it is necessary to anticipate

the demand on the transport system ahead of socio -economic changes. Some of
the transport infrastructure requires more than one plan for its completion. Often
the capabilities created in expanding transport network during one plan period are
the results of the investments of made in earlier plans. Therefore two issues
emerged out of it such as

(1) the need to complete all ongoing works to derive the maximum benefits from
the earlier investments

(2) to make investments in transport sector keeping in view the long time frame

Transport infrastructure is capital intensive: - in view of the long gestation

involved, transport development requires heavy investment. Massive investment is
required is required for quality road construction, laying the railway lines and
creation of rolling stocks, creation port facilities and ship building industry and
terminal facilities. As social return is involved in the development of these
facilities, private initiation is practically absent. For this purpose government
initially develops most of the transport services.

Effective use of energy is a critically aspect of transport sector. :- Different

modes of transport use different forms of energy with varying degree of efficiency
and intensity. In this connection due weightage is being given while considering
the choice among available alternatives. Development of transport largely depends
on the availability of various forms of energy.


Development of transport is connected with the scientific and technological

progress:- During past two hundred years the economic development in various
regions of the world was possible only because of growth of transport network.
The process of technological up-gradation has been very uneven in many areas, as
a result some mode of transport has been advanced and frequently used by
consumers while they don¶t use at all some other modes of transport due to several;

Freight structure and cost of transportation influence transport services:-The

transport pricing policy and subsidization of freight structure by and large
influences the consumers decisions for choosing a particular transport mode. Often
the transport demands are influenced by factors not necessarily confirming to
patterns suggested by comparative cost considerations.

Security and speedier movement of goods is an important aspect of transport:-

Security in travel and safe delivery of goods is the important considerations, which
influences the user preference to various modes of transport. Timeliness in the
movement of goods and door-to-door service influences the customers to pay more
for utilising a particular transport service.

Significance of Transportation

Effective transportation is indispensable to economic progress. Mining,

manufacturing, trade and banking and agriculture are also necessary, but these
activities, like many others, depend upon transportation Without adequate facilities
for moving goods and people from place to place, economic and social activities
can be carried on in a limited way only. Using a mobility index that combines
available data on transport facilities and movement of passengers and freight,
Wilfred Owen finds out that immobility and poverty go together. The countries


with low per capita had a mobility index for freight and passenger transport in
single digits, whereas this index was significantly high in countries with high per
capita income. Indeed, a more recent study finds out that every one-percentage
growth in the Indian economy presumes a growth of 1.2 to 1.4 per cent in the
transport sector.