Modes of Transportation: Five Types of Transportation

Photo of Five (5) Modes of Transport (Types of Transportation)

Modes of transportation or Types of transport refer to a combination of networks, infrastructures, vehicles, and operations. These include walking, the road transport system, rail, ship transport, and modern aviation. Different modes of transportation have emerged over time, basically, there are five (5) modes of transportation which are listed below.

Five Major Modes of Transportation

  1. Road transport
  2. Railway transport
  3. Water transport
  4. Air transport
  5. Pipeline transport

Different modes of transport (types of transportation)

Road transport

Road transport exists in all parts of the world, this involves the use of motor vehicles (cars, lorries, buses, bicycles, and trucks). There are various types of roads according to size and functions, some roads are tarred while others are not. The best of these roads are the modern roads which link major towns. Road transport, when compared with other modes of transportation, is more flexible. It is relatively cheaper and faster. Road transport has a high capacity for carrying goods over short distances. Maintenance is one of the major disadvantages of this mode of transport.

Railway transport

Railways were developed during the period of the industrial revolution in the 19th century, these were partly for political reasons and for economic reasons. In many countries, they were built especially to penetrate isolated regions and help promote political unity. The major advantage of railway transport includes the provision of reliable services. It has the ability to convey heavy and bulky goods; it is also very cheap, safe, and also comfortable for passengers over a long distance.

Water transport

Water transport is very important because it is the cheapest way of transporting bulky goods over a long distance.

In the world, there are two major types of water transport namely: Inland water transport and ocean water transport.

Inland water transport

This is the system of transport through all navigable rivers, lakes, and man-made canals. Many large rivers in different parts of the world are used by ships and barges for transportation; the main rivers where inland water transport are important are the Rhine and Dambe in Europe, Zaire in Africa, the Nile in Africa, the Mississippi in the USA, etc.

Ocean Waterways

However, Ocean waterways carry a lot of the world’s trade, the majority of the bulky goods, materials, and passengers pass through ocean waterways from one country to another at the cheapest cost.

Air transport

Air transport is the newest means of transport; it was introduced in 1903 but developed into full means of transporting people and goods in the 1930s. The greatest air transportation started after the Second World War (WWII). This mode of transportation can be used for both domestic and international flights.

Pipeline transport

This system of transportation involves the use of hollow pipes in the transportation of water, crude oil, (petroleum) and gas. This mode of transportation is safer than using tankers or trailers in the transportation of these liquids.

Other modes of transportation include

  • Animal-powered transport: which is mostly referred to as a beast of burden. It is the oldest means of transportation; this usually involves the use of animals for the transportation of people and goods. Humans may ride some of the higher animals directly, or harness them. Examples of such animals used for transporting humans and goods include camel, horse, donkey, elephant, and giraffe.
  • Human-powered transport: this is another form of transport, which includes people, goods or both transported from one place to another using human muscle-power, in the form of walking, running and swimming. Modern technology has allowed machines to take over human power. Human-powered transport remains popular for reasons of cost-saving, physical exercise, leisure, and environmentalism; it is sometimes the only type available, especially in underdeveloped or inaccessible regions.
  • Spaceflight: is a means of transport that moves out of Earth’s atmosphere into outer space by means of a spacecraft. While large amounts of research have gone into technology, it is not commonly used except to put satellites into orbit and conduct scientific experiments.
  • Cable transport: cable transport is a broad class of transport modes that have cables as the foundation for transporting goods or people, often in vehicles called cable cars. The cable may be driven or passive; items may be moved by pulling, sailing, sliding, or by drives within the object being moved on cableways, this is another means of transport used in the mountain. The use of pulleys and balancing of loads going up and down are common elements of cable transport.


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