Road Transport: Definition, Types, Advantages and Disadvantages of Road Transport

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What is Road Transport?

Road transport is one of the modes of transport which involves the use of motor vehicles (cars, lorries, buses, bicycles, trucks and animals). 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 links major towns. Road transport was developed first and it exists in all parts of the world.

Road transport compared with other modes of transportation is more flexible, no specialised machinery or technique is necessary for it use so that all countries no matter how backward, possess them in some form. In primitive regions, they may be simple parts suitable only for foot or hoof traffic, but in advance regions, they are more likely to be well made and suitable for heaviest and the most modern vehicles. Although stone-slab surfaces date back to Persian and Roman times, it was not really until the 18th century that roads proper ceased to be mere dirt tracks rutted in summer and water logged in winter. The first metalled surfaces appeared in Britain (designed by such men as Telford and Macadam), but soon spread throughout the civilized world. Vehicles, too improved and carriages became swift, smoother and larger.

The invention of the internal combustion engine gave the greatest incentive of all to all traffic improvements and since then this particular form of transport has changed beyond all recognition. The development of wider, straighter roads has culminated in the appearance of motorways and vehicles can now travel at speeds once unimaginable. Loads have also grown and juggernaut lorries carrying forty tones are commonplace.

Types of Road Transport

  • Animal
  • walking
  • Automobile
  • Cycling
  • Bus
  • Heavy-duty vehicle
  • Non-motorized transport
  1. Animal: this is mostly referred to as beast of burden. It is the oldest means of transportation; this usually involves the use of animals for the transportation of people and goods on land or road. Examples of animal used for this transportation include camel, horse, donkey, elephant, and giraffe.
  2. Walking: Walking is a means of transport that is commonly done on the road, it is used for only on short distance trips.
  3. Automobile: this is motorized vehicle consisting of wheels and it is powered by an internal engine and does not operate on railways like trains and trolleys. Automobiles are used to transport people and items from one location to another location on roads.
  4. Cycling– this is also referred to as biking or the use of bicycle; this means of transportation is often used for conveying people or goods within short and moderate distance trips. It is one of the cheapest means of transportation. Cycling is a very efficient, an effective mode of transportation with zero emission and it is as time-effective or even better as motorized traffic in dense and congested urban areas.
  5. Bus: this is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers and goods to various locations. Some buses are designed with a large capacity to convey about 18 to 60 passengers at a time on larger roads. Examples of the common types of buses are the single-decker rigid bus, double-decker buses, articulated buses, midibuses and minibuses.
  6. Heavy duty vehicles: these are vehicles designed for heavy work for example the pick-up truck, Truck tractorswith a GVWR above 26,000 pounds, heavy duty vans, heavy-duty trailers and tankers. Most heavy-duty vehicles are powered by diesel engines especially in older models,they can emit high levels of particulates, nitrogen oxides, and other pollutants that cause both chronic disease and premature death, especially in urban areas and among the most vulnerable populations.
  7. Non-motorized transport: these are small-wheeled transport like skates, skateboards, push scooters and handcarts and wheelchair travel. Non-motorized transportation is also known as active transportation or human powered transportation; these modes of transport are commonly used for recreational purposes

Advantages of Road Transport

  1. Road transport creates flexibility of service since numerous routes and destinations are possible.
  2. The maintenance cost involved in road transport is low.
  3. It offers directness and door-to-door communication is made possible.
  4. It enables great speed and cheapness over short distances, continuous movement is made possible.
  5. Road transport carries more passengers and goods within localities because they are normally constructed to connect towns and villages where rail, air and water transports are absent.
  6. Wide range of goods can be carried since roads are more able than other systems to handle outsized objects.
  7. It offers maximum access along their line sides: maximum scope for intervening opportunity.

Disadvantages of Road Transport

  1. Roads and motor vehicles need constant maintenance and this adds greatly to running costs.
  2. Road transport links many places more than any other means of transport
  3. Most drivers and road users are very careless and as a result of this, a lot of accidents have claim thousands of lives and property.
  4. Road transport at times can be very slow due to many factors such as poor maintenance, weather and traffic congestion.
  5. Most cities have so many vehicles which ply the road, hence resulting in traffic congestion.
  6. Road transport is not suitable for conveying heavy and bulky goods.
  7. Motorways are detrimental to the beauty of the countryside and to urban living, motor vehicles cause a lot of air pollution in the city leading to global warming and other environmental hazards.
  8. Transport by roads does not operate on schedule and therefore it is very disappointing most times.
  9. Goods are not normally weighed and therefore charges are indiscriminately done.