Transport: Categories, Aspects and Importance of Transportation

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Transport or transportation is simply referred to the movement of people and goods from one place to another. The term is derived from a Latin word trans (across) and portare (to carry). The word transport or transportation involves spatial interaction which defines the flow of products (people, services or information among places in response to localize, supply and demand relationship that is often expressed over a geographical space.

The Aspects of Transport

The field of transport has several aspects but three can be identified, these include

  1. Infrastructures
  2. Vehicles
  3. operations

Infrastructures: these include transport networks such as roadsrailways, waterways, canals and pipelines that are used as well as the nodes or terminals (airports, railway stations, bus stations and seaports). Terminals such as airports, seaports, and stations, are locations where passengers and freight can be transferred from one vehicle or mode to another. For passenger transport, terminals are connected to modes to allow riders, who are interchanging between modes, to take advantage of each mode’s benefits. For instance,airport rail linksconnect airports to the city centers and suburbs. The terminals for automobiles areparking lots, while buses and coaches can operate from simple stops.For freight, terminals act astransshipmentpoints, though some cargo is transported directly from the point of production to the point of demand.

Vehicles: these generally ride on the networks for instance, automobiles, bicycles, buses, Lorries, sled, cart, trains and aircrafts. A vehicle is a device used for transporting people and goods from one location to another especially on land or a thing used for transporting people or goods. Vehicles are mostly staffed by adriver, however, some systems, such aspeople moversand some rapid transits, are fullyautomated. Forpassenger to betransported, the vehicle must have a compartment, seat, or platform for the passengers comfort.

Operations: these deal with how the vehicles are operated on the networks and the procedures or processes set for this purpose including the legal environment (laws, codes, regulations, financial policies as to how to fund the system. For instance, the use of tolls or gasoline taxes may be considered as part of the operations. Public transport and freight transport, operations are done throughprivate enterpriseor bythe governments, while private transport is only operated by the owner of the vehicle.

Modes and Categories of Transport

Modes of transport involve such modes as road, rail, air, water and pipelines. Read more on modes of transport here. The movement of people or cargo may involve one mode or several modes of transportation with each mode having its own advantages and disadvantages to offer to the user.

Categories of Transport

  • Non-human, animal-powered transport is a broad category of thehumanuse of non-human workinganimals(also known as “beasts of burden”) for the movement of goods and people. Humans may ride on some of these animals directly to various places; he may use them as pack animals for carrying goods, or even harness them, singly or in teams, to pull heavy goods or wheeled vehicles.
  • Air transport- this involves the use of aircraft to transport people or goods in the air over a long distance.
  • Cable transport- this mode of transport involves the movement of goods or people with the use of electrical cables. For instance, Obudu cattle ranch in Calabar.
  • Conveyor transport- it is a mode of transport utilizing a conveyor belt-type of structure, including escalators and moving sidewalks.
  • Human power- it involves the transportation of people or goods by sheer human muscle. An example of a human-powered machine is bicycle.
  • Railtransport- it is the movement of people and commodities via the use of railways or railroads.
  • Hybrid transport- it involves the transformation of traditional forms of transport into sustainable forms by harnessing energy from the sun or tapping into other forms of renewable energy.
  • Roads transport- involves the movement goods and people on land with the use of automobiles. Also see the types of road transport here
  • Ships transport- this type of transport is used to move people or large commodities across sea,ocean, channel, orlake via barge, canoe,boat, sail, or ship.
  • Space transport- this involves specialized aircraft that can sustain heights above theEarth’s atmosphereand into outer space for the movement of people, machines, or other materials.
  • Transport on other planets- this involves the use of moderntechnologyto assist in space exploration by shuttling machines and other materials to parts of the galaxy.

Importance of transportation

  1. Movement of goods and services: transportation ensures the movement of goods and services from point of origin to its destination in rural, urban and industrial areas through the movement of perishable goods and military equipment.
  2. Opening up of new roads and areas: through various means of transportation, new areas are opened and even some inaccessible places are brought to limelight for proper recognition.
  3. Movement of people: transportation has also ensured the movement of passengers from one part of the world to another either for educational, business or occupational purposes.
  4. Access to national resources: through transportation, different natural resources are discovered and exploited for the economic growth of many countries of the world.
  5. Diffusion of ideas and technology: through transportation, different ideas such as new farming technologies are transferred from one part of the world to another.
  6. Promotion of national and international trade: transportation enhances trade between two countries and also between different regions in a country. For instance, through water transport, Nigeria is able to transport agricultural products and petroleum to America and to other European countries. Water transport ensures importation and exportation.
  7. Development of tourism: people from different parts of the world visit tourist centres through different means of transportation.
  8. Generation of revenue: all the five (5) modes of transportation obtain licence from government and pay different taxes which enable a country to get revenue.
  9. National integration: this is because through different transport means different regions in a country are brought in constant touch with each other, this also enhances national integration and promotes interaction among different people in a country.