General Transport Issues

Transport (British English) or transportation (American English) is the movement of people and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space.

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 modes, with the latter case being called intermodal or multimodal transport. Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, and will be chosen for a trip on the basis of cost, capability, route, and speed.

Worldwide, the most widely-used modes for passenger transport are the automobile (16,000 bn passenger km), followed by buses (7,000), air (2,800), railways (1,900), and urban rail (250).

The most widely used modes for freight transport are sea (40,000 bn ton km), followed by road (7,000), railways (6,500), oil pipelines (2,000) and inland navigation (1,500).

Transport infrastructure consists of the fixed installations necessary for transport, and may be 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, helicopters, and aircraft. Operations deal with the way the vehicles are operated, and the procedures set for this purpose including financing, legislation 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 durable items. 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.


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