Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and
goods from one location to another.
Modes of transport
Modes of transport include air,
land (rail and road), water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can
be divided into infrastructure, vehicles and operations.
important because it enables trade between people, which is essential
for the development of civilizations.
Transport infrastructure consists of the fixed installations including
roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and pipelines and
terminals such as airports, railway stations, bus stations,
warehouses, trucking terminals, refueling depots (including fueling
docks and fuel stations) and seaports. Terminals may be used both for
interchange of passengers and cargo and for maintenance.
Vehicles traveling on these networks may include automobiles,
bicycles, buses, trains, trucks, people, helicopters, watercraft,
spacecraft and aircraft.
Operations deal with the way the vehicles are operated, and the
procedures set for this purpose including financing, legalities, and
policies. In the transport industry, operations and ownership of
infrastructure can be either public or private, depending on the
country and mode.
Passenger transport may be public, where operators provide scheduled
services, or private. Freight transport has become focused on
containerization, although bulk transport is used for large volumes of
Transport plays an important part in economic growth
and globalization, but most types cause air pollution and use large
amounts of land. While it is heavily subsidized by governments, good
planning of transport is essential to make traffic flow and restrain
2.6 Other modes
4.2 Medical transport
6 See also
9 External links
Main article: History of transport
Bronocice pot with the earliest known image of a wheeled vehicle in
the world, found in Poland
A bullock team hauling wool in Australia
Humans' first means of transport involved walking, running and
swimming. The domestication of animals introduced a new way to lay the
burden of transport on more powerful creatures, allowing the hauling
of heavier loads, or humans riding animals for greater speed and
duration. Inventions such as the wheel and the sled helped make animal
transport more efficient through the introduction of vehicles. Water
transport, including rowed and sailed vessels, dates back to time
immemorial, and was the only efficient way to transport large
quantities or over large distances prior to the Industrial Revolution.
The first forms of road transport involved animals, such as horses
(domesticated in the 4th or 3rd millennium BCE), oxen (from about 8000
BCE) or humans carrying goods over dirt tracks that often followed
game trails. Many early civilizations, including
Mesopotamia and the
Indus Valley Civilization, constructed paved roads. In classical
antiquity, the Persian and Roman empires built stone-paved roads to
allow armies to travel quickly. Deep roadbeds of crushed stone
underneath kept such roads dry. The medieval
Caliphate later built
tar-paved roads. The first watercraft were canoes cut out from tree
trunks. Early water transport was accomplished with ships that were
either rowed or used the wind for propulsion, or a combination of the
two. The importance of water has led to most cities that grew up as
sites for trading being located on rivers or on the sea-shore, often
at the intersection of two bodies of water. Until the Industrial
Revolution, transport remained slow and costly, and production and
consumption gravitated as close to each other as feasible.
The Wright brothers' first flight in 1903
Industrial Revolution in the 19th century saw a number of
inventions fundamentally change transport. With telegraphy,
communication became instant and independent of the transport of
physical objects. The invention of the steam engine, closely followed
by its application in rail transport, made land transport independent
of human or animal muscles. Both speed and capacity increased rapidly,
allowing specialization through manufacturing being located
independently of natural resources. The 19th century also saw the
development of the steam ship, which sped up global transport.
With the development of the combustion engine and the automobile
around 1900, road transport became more competitive again, and
mechanical private transport originated. The first "modern" highways
were constructed during the 19th century with
macadam. Later, tarmac and concrete became the dominant paving
materials. In 1903 the
Wright brothers demonstrated the first
successful controllable airplane, and after World War I (1914–1918)
aircraft became a fast way to transport people and express goods over
After World War II (1939–1945) the automobile and airlines took
higher shares of transport, reducing rail and water to freight and
short-haul passenger services. Scientific spaceflight began in the
1950s, with rapid growth until the 1970s, when interest dwindled. In
the 1950s the introduction of containerization gave massive efficiency
gains in freight transport, fostering globalization. International
air travel became much more accessible in the 1960s with the
commercialization of the jet engine. Along with the growth in
automobiles and motorways, rail and water transport declined in
relative importance. After the introduction of the
Shinkansen in Japan
in 1964, high-speed rail in Asia and Europe started attracting
passengers on long-haul routes away from airlines.
Early in U.S. history,[when?] private joint-stock corporations owned
most aqueducts, bridges, canals, railroads, roads, and tunnels. Most
such transportation infrastructure came under government control in
the late 19th and early 20th centuries, culminating in the
nationalization of inter-city passenger rail-service with the
establishment of Amtrak. Recently,[when?] however, a movement to
privatize roads and other infrastructure has gained some[quantify]
ground and adherents.
Further information: Timeline of transportation technology
Main article: Mode of transport
A mode of transport is a solution that makes use of a particular type
of vehicle, infrastructure, and operation. The transport of a person
or of cargo may involve one mode or several of the modes, with the
latter case being called intermodal or multimodal transport. Each mode
has its own advantages and disadvantages, and will be chosen for a
trip on the basis of cost, capability, and route.
Main article: Human-powered transport
Human-powered transport remains common in developing countries.
Human powered transport, a form of sustainable transportation, is the
transport of people and/or goods using human muscle-power, in the form
of walking, running and swimming. Modern technology has allowed
machines to enhance human power.
Human-powered transport remains
popular for reasons of cost-saving, leisure, physical exercise, and
environmentalism; it is sometimes the only type available, especially
in underdeveloped or inaccessible regions.
Although humans are able to walk without infrastructure, the transport
can be enhanced through the use of roads, especially when using the
human power with vehicles, such as bicycles and inline skates.
Human-powered vehicles have also been developed for difficult
environments, such as snow and water, by watercraft rowing and skiing;
even the air can be entered with human-powered aircraft.
Main article: Animal-powered transport
Animal-powered transport is the use of working animals for the
movement of people and commodities. Humans may ride some of the
animals directly, use them as pack animals for carrying goods, or
harness them, alone or in teams, to pull sleds or wheeled vehicles.
Main article: Aviation
Airbus A318 lands at London Heathrow Airport.
A fixed-wing aircraft, commonly called airplane, is a heavier-than-air
craft where movement of the air in relation to the wings is used to
generate lift. The term is used to distinguish this from rotary-wing
aircraft, where the movement of the lift surfaces relative to the air
generates lift. A gyroplane is both fixed-wing and rotary wing.
Fixed-wing aircraft range from small trainers and recreational
aircraft to large airliners and military cargo aircraft.
Two things necessary for aircraft are air flow over the wings for lift
and an area for landing. The majority of aircraft also need an airport
with the infrastructure to receive maintenance, restocking, refueling
and for the loading and unloading of crew, cargo, and passengers.
While the vast majority of aircraft land and take off on land, some
are capable of take-off and landing on ice, snow, and calm water.
The aircraft is the second fastest method of transport, after the
rocket. Commercial jets can reach up to 955 kilometres per hour
(593 mph), single-engine aircraft 555 kilometres per hour
Aviation is able to quickly transport people and
limited amounts of cargo over longer distances, but incurs high costs
and energy use; for short distances or in inaccessible places
helicopters can be used. As of April 28, 2009, The Guardian article
notes that, "the WHO estimates that up to 500,000 people are on planes
at any time."
Main article: Ground transportation
Land transport covers all land-based transportation systems that
provide for the movement of people, goods and services. Land transport
plays a vital role in linking communities to each other. Land
transport is a key factor in urban planning. It consists of 2 kinds,
rail and road.
Main article: Rail transport
InterCityExpress, a German high-speed passenger train
New York City Subway
New York City Subway is the world's largest rapid transit system
by length of routes and by number of stations.
Rail transport is where a train runs along a set of two parallel steel
rails, known as a railway or railroad. The rails are anchored
perpendicular to ties (or sleepers) of timber, concrete or steel, to
maintain a consistent distance apart, or gauge. The rails and
perpendicular beams are placed on a foundation made of concrete or
compressed earth and gravel in a bed of ballast. Alternative methods
include monorail and maglev.
A train consists of one or more connected vehicles that operate on the
rails. Propulsion is commonly provided by a locomotive, that hauls a
series of unpowered cars, that can carry passengers or freight. The
locomotive can be powered by steam, diesel or by electricity supplied
by trackside systems. Alternatively, some or all the cars can be
powered, known as a multiple unit. Also, a train can be powered by
horses, cables, gravity, pneumatics and gas turbines. Railed vehicles
move with much less friction than rubber tires on paved roads, making
trains more energy efficient, though not as efficient as ships.
Intercity trains are long-haul services connecting cities; modern
high-speed rail is capable of speeds up to 350 km/h
(220 mph), but this requires specially built track. Regional and
commuter trains feed cities from suburbs and surrounding areas, while
intra-urban transport is performed by high-capacity tramways and rapid
transits, often making up the backbone of a city's public transport.
Freight trains traditionally used box cars, requiring manual loading
and unloading of the cargo. Since the 1960s, container trains have
become the dominant solution for general freight, while large
quantities of bulk are transported by dedicated trains.
Harbor Freeway is often heavily congested at rush hour in Downtown
A road is an identifiable route, way or path between two or more
Roads are typically smoothed, paved, or otherwise prepared
to allow easy travel; though they need not be, and historically
many roads were simply recognizable routes without any formal
construction or maintenance. In urban areas, roads may pass
through a city or village and be named as streets, serving a dual
function as urban space easement and route.
The most common road vehicle is the automobile; a wheeled passenger
vehicle that carries its own motor. Other users of roads include
buses, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. As of 2010,
there were 1.015 billion automobiles worldwide.
Road transport offers
a complete freedom to road users to transfer the vehicle from one lane
to the other and from one road to another according to the need and
convenience. This flexibility of changes in location, direction,
speed, and timings of travel is not available to other modes of
transport. It is possible to provide door to door service only by road
Automobiles provide high flexibility with low capacity, but require
high energy and area use, and are the main source of noise and air
pollution in cities; buses allow for more efficient travel at the cost
of reduced flexibility.
Road transport by truck is often the
initial and final stage of freight transport.
Built by the Dutch to transport spices, now used by the local
fishermen to get to the sea,
Negombo Dutch canal, Sri Lanka
Automobile ferry in Croatia
Water transport is movement by means of a watercraft—such as a
barge, boat, ship or sailboat—over a body of water, such as a sea,
ocean, lake, canal or river. The need for buoyancy is common to
watercraft, making the hull a dominant aspect of its construction,
maintenance and appearance.
In the 19th century, the first steam ships were developed, using a
steam engine to drive a paddle wheel or propeller to move the ship.
The steam was produced in a boiler using wood or coal and fed through
a steam external combustion engine. Now most ships have an internal
combustion engine using a slightly refined type of petroleum called
bunker fuel. Some ships, such as submarines, use nuclear power to
produce the steam. Recreational or educational craft still use wind
power, while some smaller craft use internal combustion engines to
drive one or more propellers, or in the case of jet boats, an inboard
water jet. In shallow draft areas, hovercraft are propelled by large
pusher-prop fans. (See Marine propulsion.)
Although it is slow compared to other transportation, modern sea
transport is a highly efficient method of transporting large
quantities of goods. Commercial vessels, nearly 35,000 in number,
carried 7.4 billion tons of cargo in 2007.
Transport by water
is significantly less costly than air transport for transcontinental
shipping; short sea shipping and ferries remain viable in coastal
Trans-Alaska Pipeline for crude oil
Pipeline transport sends goods through a pipe; most commonly liquid
and gases are sent, but pneumatic tubes can also send solid capsules
using compressed air. For liquids/gases, any chemically stable liquid
or gas can be sent through a pipeline. Short-distance systems exist
for sewage, slurry, water and beer, while long-distance networks are
used for petroleum and natural gas.
Cable transport is a broad mode where vehicles are pulled by cables
instead of an internal power source. It is most commonly used at steep
gradient. Typical solutions include aerial tramway, elevators,
escalator and ski lifts; some of these are also categorized as
Spaceflight is transport out of Earth's atmosphere into outer space by
means of a spacecraft. While large amounts of research have gone into
technology, it is rarely used except to put satellites into orbit, and
conduct scientific experiments. However, man has landed on the moon,
and probes have been sent to all the planets of the Solar System.
Suborbital spaceflight is the fastest of the existing and planned
transport systems from a place on Earth to a distant "other place" on
Earth. Faster transport could be achieved through part of a low Earth
orbit, or following that trajectory even faster using the propulsion
of the rocket to steer it.
Main article: Infrastructure
Bridges, such as Golden Gate Bridge, allow roads and railways to cross
bodies of water.
Infrastructure is the fixed installations that allow a vehicle to
operate. It consists of a roadway, a terminal, and facilities for
parking and maintenance. For rail, pipeline, road and cable transport,
the entire way the vehicle travels must be constructed. Air and
watercraft are able to avoid this, since the airway and seaway do not
need to be constructed. However, they require fixed infrastructure at
Terminals such as airports, ports, and stations, are locations where
passengers and freight can be transferred from one vehicle or mode to
another. For passenger transport, terminals are integrating different
modes to allow riders, who are interchanging between modes, to take
advantage of each mode's benefits. For instance, airport rail links
connect airports to the city centers and suburbs. The terminals for
automobiles are parking lots, while buses and coaches can operate from
simple stops. For freight, terminals act as transshipment points,
though some cargo is transported directly from the point of production
to the point of use.
The financing of infrastructure can either be public or private.
Transport is often a natural monopoly and a necessity for the public;
roads, and in some countries railways and airports are funded through
taxation. New infrastructure projects can have high costs and are
often financed through debt. Many infrastructure owners, therefore,
impose usage fees, such as landing fees at airports, or toll plazas on
roads. Independent of this, authorities may impose taxes on the
purchase or use of vehicles. Because of poor forecasting and
overestimation of passenger numbers by planners, there is frequently a
benefits shortfall for transport infrastructure projects.
Main article: Vehicle
Fiat Uno in 2008
A vehicle is a non-living device that is used to move people and
goods. Unlike the infrastructure, the vehicle moves along with the
cargo and riders. Unless being pulled/pushed by a cable or
muscle-power, the vehicle must provide its own propulsion; this is
most commonly done through a steam engine, combustion engine, electric
motor, a jet engine or a rocket, though other means of propulsion also
exist. Vehicles also need a system of converting the energy into
movement; this is most commonly done through wheels, propellers and
Vehicles are most commonly staffed by a driver. However, some systems,
such as people movers and some rapid transits, are fully automated.
For passenger transport, the vehicle must have a compartment, seat, or
platform for the passengers. Simple vehicles, such as automobiles,
bicycles or simple aircraft, may have one of the passengers as a
Incheon International Airport, South Korea
Private transport is only subject to the owner of the vehicle, who
operates the vehicle themselves. For public transport and freight
transport, operations are done through private enterprise or by
governments. The infrastructure and vehicles may be owned and operated
by the same company, or they may be operated by different entities.
Traditionally, many countries have had a national airline and national
railway. Since the 1980s, many of these have been privatized.
International shipping remains a highly competitive industry with
little regulation, but ports can be public-owned.
Relocation of travelers and cargo are the most common uses of
transport. However, other uses exist, such as the strategic and
tactical relocation of armed forces during warfare, or the civilian
mobility construction or emergency equipment.
Travel and Public transit
A local transit bus operated by
ACTION in Canberra, Australia
Passenger transport, or travel, is divided into public and private
Public transport is scheduled services on fixed routes,
while private is vehicles that provide ad hoc services at the riders
desire. The latter offers better flexibility, but has lower capacity,
and a higher environmental impact.
Travel may be as part of daily
commuting, for business, leisure or migration.
Short-haul transport is dominated by the automobile and mass transit.
The latter consists of buses in rural and small cities, supplemented
with commuter rail, trams and rapid transit in larger cities.
Long-haul transport involves the use of the automobile, trains,
coaches and aircraft, the last of which have become predominantly used
for the longest, including intercontinental, travel. Intermodal
passenger transport is where a journey is performed through the use of
several modes of transport; since all human transport normally starts
and ends with walking, all passenger transport can be considered
Public transport may also involve the intermediate change
of vehicle, within or across modes, at a transport hub, such as a bus
or railway station.
Taxis and buses can be found on both ends of the public transport
Buses are the cheaper mode of transport but are not
necessarily flexible, and taxis are very flexible but more expensive.
In the middle is demand-responsive transport, offering flexibility
whilst remaining affordable.
International travel may be restricted for some individuals due to
legislation and visa requirements.
An ambulance from World War I
An ambulance is a vehicle used to transport people from or between
places of treatment, and in some instances will also provide
out-of-hospital medical care to the patient. The word is often
associated with road-going "emergency ambulances", which form part of
emergency medical services, administering emergency care to those with
acute medical problems.
Air medical services is a comprehensive term covering the use of air
transportation to move patients to and from healthcare facilities and
accident scenes. Personnel provide comprehensive prehospital and
emergency and critical care to all types of patients during
aeromedical evacuation or rescue operations, aboard helicopters,
propeller aircraft, or jet aircraft.
Main article: Shipping
Freight transport, or shipping, is a key in the value chain in
manufacturing. With increased specialization and globalization,
production is being located further away from consumption, rapidly
increasing the demand for transport. Transportation creates place
utility by moving the goods from the place of production to the place
of consumption. While all modes of transport are used for cargo
transport, there is high differentiation between the nature of the
cargo transport, in which mode is chosen.
Logistics refers to the
entire process of transferring products from producer to consumer,
including storage, transport, transshipment, warehousing,
material-handling, and packaging, with associated exchange of
Incoterm deals with the handling of payment and
responsibility of risk during transport.
Freight train with shipping containers in the United Kingdom
Containerization, with the standardization of ISO containers on all
vehicles and at all ports, has revolutionized international and
domestic trade, offering huge reduction in transshipment costs.
Traditionally, all cargo had to be manually loaded and unloaded into
the haul of any ship or car; containerization allows for automated
handling and transfer between modes, and the standardized sizes allow
for gains in economy of scale in vehicle operation. This has been one
of the key driving factors in international trade and globalization
since the 1950s.
Bulk transport is common with cargo that can be handled roughly
without deterioration; typical examples are ore, coal, cereals and
petroleum. Because of the uniformity of the product, mechanical
handling can allow enormous quantities to be handled quickly and
efficiently. The low value of the cargo combined with high volume also
means that economies of scale become essential in transport, and
gigantic ships and whole trains are commonly used to transport bulk.
Liquid products with sufficient volume may also be transported by
Air freight has become more common for products of high value; while
less than one percent of world transport by volume is by airline, it
amounts to forty percent of the value. Time has become especially
important in regards to principles such as postponement and
just-in-time within the value chain, resulting in a high willingness
to pay for quick delivery of key components or items of high
value-to-weight ratio. In addition to mail, common items sent by
air include electronics and fashion clothing.
Main article: Sustainable transport
Transport is a key component of growth and globalization, such as in
Seattle, Washington, United States.
Transport is a key necessity for specialization—allowing production
and consumption of products to occur at different locations. Transport
has throughout history been a spur to expansion; better transport
allows more trade and a greater spread of people.
Economic growth has
always been dependent on increasing the capacity and rationality of
transport. But the infrastructure and operation of transport has a
great impact on the land and is the largest drainer of energy, making
transport sustainability a major issue.
Due to the way modern cities and communities are planned and operated,
a physical distinction between home and work is usually created,
forcing people to transport themselves to places of work, study, or
leisure, as well as to temporarily relocate for other daily
Passenger transport is also the essence of tourism, a
major part of recreational transport. Commerce requires the transport
of people to conduct business, either to allow face-to-face
communication for important decisions or to move specialists from
their regular place of work to sites where they are needed.
Transport planning allows for high utilization and less impact
regarding new infrastructure. Using models of transport forecasting,
planners are able to predict future transport patterns. On the
operative level, logistics allows owners of cargo to plan transport as
part of the supply chain.
Transport as a field is also studied through
transport economics, a component for the creation of regulation policy
Transport engineering, a sub-discipline of civil
engineering, must take into account trip generation, trip
distribution, mode choice and route assignment, while the operative
level is handled through traffic engineering.
The engineering of this roundabout in Bristol, United Kingdom,
attempts to make traffic flow free-moving.
Because of the negative impacts incurred, transport often becomes the
subject of controversy related to choice of mode, as well as increased
capacity. Automotive transport can be seen as a tragedy of the
commons, where the flexibility and comfort for the individual
deteriorate the natural and urban environment for all. Density of
development depends on mode of transport, with public transport
allowing for better spatial utilization. Good land use keeps common
activities close to people's homes and places higher-density
development closer to transport lines and hubs, to minimize the need
for transport. There are economies of agglomeration. Beyond
transportation some land uses are more efficient when clustered.
Transportation facilities consume land, and in cities, pavement
(devoted to streets and parking) can easily exceed 20 percent of the
total land use. An efficient transport system can reduce land waste.
Too much infrastructure and too much smoothing for maximum vehicle
throughput means that in many cities there is too much traffic and
many—if not all—of the negative impacts that come with it. It is
only in recent years that traditional practices have started to be
questioned in many places, and as a result of new types of analysis
which bring in a much broader range of skills than those traditionally
relied on—spanning such areas as environmental impact analysis,
public health, sociologists as well as economists—the viability of
the old mobility solutions is increasingly being questioned.
Traffic congestion persists in São Paulo, Brazil, despite the
no-drive days based on license numbers.
Transport and the environment
Transport is a major use of energy and burns most of the world's
petroleum. This creates air pollution, including nitrous oxides and
particulates, and is a significant contributor to global warming
through emission of carbon dioxide, for which transport is the
fastest-growing emission sector. By subsector, road transport is
the largest contributor to global warming. Environmental
regulations in developed countries have reduced individual vehicles'
emissions; however, this has been offset by increases in the numbers
of vehicles and in the use of each vehicle. Some pathways to
reduce the carbon emissions of road vehicles considerably have been
studied. Energy use and emissions vary largely between modes,
causing environmentalists to call for a transition from air and road
to rail and human-powered transport, as well as increased transport
electrification and energy efficiency.
Other environmental impacts of transport systems include traffic
congestion and automobile-oriented urban sprawl, which can consume
natural habitat and agricultural lands. By reducing transportation
emissions globally, it is predicted that there will be significant
positive effects on Earth's air quality, acid rain, smog and climate
Environmental impact of aviation
Fuel efficiency in transportation
IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society
List of emerging transportation technologies
Transport and Land Use
Outline of transport
Rail transport by country
Taxicabs by country
^ Watts, Martin (1999). Working Oxen. Shire Album. 342. Princes
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^ Bardi, Coyle and Novack, 2006: 158
^ a b Cooper et al., 1998: 277
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^ Clifford Winston, Last Exit:
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^ The United Nations Conference on
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^ Stopford, 1997: 4–6
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^ Chopra and Meindl, 2007: 54
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Destination marketing organization
Historical archive on tourism
Tourism Competitiveness Report
Convention and exhibition centers
Largest hotels in the world
UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists
World Heritage Sites by country
Supply chain performance drivers