What is Transport? Functions, Importance, Modes

What is Transport?

Transport is the movement of people and goods from one place to another. In other words, Transport is a service or facility for the carriage of persons and goods from one place to the other using humans, animals and different kinds of vehicles. Such movements take place over land, water and air.

From the beginning of history, human sensitivity has revealed an urge for mobility leading to a measure of Society’s progress. The history of this mobility or transport is the history of civilization.

For any country to develop with the right momentum modern and efficient Transport as a basic infrastructure is a must. It has been seen throughout the history of any nation that a proper, extensive and efficient Road Transport has played a major role.


Functions of Transport

These followings are the function of transport:

  1. Transport Contributes
  2. Transport Helps in Increase in the Demand for Goods
  3. Transport Creates Place Utility
  4. Transport Helps in the Stabilization of Price
  5. Transport Ensures Flow of Economy
  6. Transport Enables Consumers to Enjoy the Benefits of Goods
  7. Transport Identifies Competition
  8. Transport Increases the Mobility

Transport Contributes

Transport contributes in Growth of industries whose product requires quick marketing. Perishable articles like fish and green vegetables are carried to various consumers quickly even in distant markets through transport.

Transport Helps in Increase in the Demand for Goods

Transport helps in increase in the demand for goods. Through transport newer customers in newer places can be easily contacted and products can be introduced to them. Today markets have become national or international only because of transport.

Transport Creates Place Utility

Transport creates place utility. Geographical and climatic factors force industries to be located in particular places far away from the markets and places where there may not be any demand for the products. Transport bridges the gap between production and consumption centres.

Transport Helps in the Stabilization of Price

Transport helps in the stabilization of price. Transport exerts considerable influence upon the stabilization of the prices of several commodities by moving commodities from surplus to deficit areas. This equalizes the supply and demand factor and makes the price of commodities stable as well as equal.

Transport Ensures Flow of Economy

Transport ensures an even flow of commodities into the hands of the consumers throughout the period of consumption.

Transport Enables Consumers to Enjoy the Benefits of Goods

Transport enables the consumers to enjoy the benefits of goods not produced locally. This increases the standard of living, an essential factor for further development of marketing and the economy.

Transport Identifies Competition

Transport identifies competition, which in turn, reduces prices. Prices are also reduced because of the facilities offered by transport for large-scale production. Advantages op large-scale production is possible only due to transport.

Transport Increases the Mobility

Transport increases the mobility of labour and capital. It makes people of one place migrate to other places in search of jobs. Even capital, machinery and equipment are imported from foreign countries through transport alone.


Importance of Transport

Followings are the points of Importance of transport:

  1. Makes Available Raw Materials to Manufacturers or Producers
  2. Makes Gvailable Goods to Customers
  3. Enhances Standard of Living
  4. Helps During Emergencies and Natural Calamities
  5. Helps in Creation of Employment
  6. Provides Employment to People Indirectly
  7. Helps in Labour Mobility
  8. Help to Boost Turisum
  9. Helps in Bringing Nations Together

Makes Available Raw Materials to Manufacturers or Producers

Makes available raw materials to manufacturers or producers: Transport makes it possible to carry raw materials from places where they are available, to places where they can be processed and assembled into finished goods.

Makes Gvailable Goods to Customers

Makes available goods to customers: Transport makes the possible movement of goods from one place to another with great ease and speed. Thus, consumers spread in different parts of the country have the benefit of consumer goods produced at distant places.

Enhances Standard of Living

Enhances standard of living: Easy means of transport facilitates large-scale production at low costs. It gives consumers the choice to make use of different quantities of goods at different prices. So it raises the standard of living of the people.

Helps During Emergencies and Natural Calamities

Helps during emergencies and natural calamities: In times of national crisis, due to war or internal disturbance, transport helps in the quick movement of troops and the supplies needed in the operation.

Helps in Creation of Employment

Helps in the creation of employment: Transport provides employment opportunities to individuals as drivers, conductors, pilots, cabin crew, captains of the ship, etc. who are directly engaged in the transport business.

Provides Employment to People Indirectly

It also provides employment to people indirectly in the industries producing various means of transport and other transport equipment. People can also provide repairing and maintenance services by opening service centres at convenient locations.

Helps in Labour Mobility

Helps in labour mobility: Transport helps a lot in providing mobility to workers. You may be aware that people from our country go to foreign countries to work in different industries and factories.

Help to Boost Turisum

Foreigners also come to India to work. In India, people also move from one part to another in search of work. Similarly, it is not always possible to have workers near the factory. Most industries have their own transport system to bring the workers from where they reside to the place of work.

Helps in Bringing Nations Together

Helps in bringing nations together: Transport facilitates the movement of people from one country to another. It helps in the exchange of cultures, views and practices between the people of different countries. This brings about greater understanding among people and awareness about different countries. Thus, it helps to promote a feeling of international brotherhood.


Modes of Transport

We find that basically, transport is possible through land, air or water, which are called the different modes of transport. On land we use trucks, tractors, etc., to carry goods; train, bus, cars etc. to carry passengers.

In the air, we find aeroplanes, helicopters to carry passengers as well as goods. Similarly, in water, we find ships, steamers, etc., to carry goods and passengers. All these are known as various means of transport.

Let us discuss various modes of transport.

The modes of transport can be broadly divided into three categories:

  1. Land Transport
  2. Water Transport
  3. Air Transport

Land Transport

Land transport refers to activities of the physical movement of goods and passengers on land. This movement takes place on road, rail, rope or pipe. So land transport may further be divided into Road transport, Rail transport, Ropeway transport, pipeline transport. Let us know the details about each of them.

Road Transport

Roads are the means that connect one place to another on the surface of the land. You must have seen roads in your village, in towns and cities. Not all of them look alike. Some of them are made of sand and some may be of chips and cement or coaltar. You find different vehicles plying on roads like bullock carts, cycles, motorcycles, cars, trucks, buses, etc.

All of these constitute different means of road transport. The means of road transport may be divided into three types: –

  • Man driven;
  • Animal driven; and
  • Motor driven.

You might have seen individuals carrying goods on their heads or back, on bicycles or on the last, move from one place to another. People also ride a bicycle or use a rickshaw to travel short distances.

We also find animal-driven vehicles like carts (drawn by bullocks, camels, horses, donkeys, etc.) used in rural areas to carry crops, straw, fodder and sometimes even people. Sometimes even animals are directly used to carry goods from one place to another. In areas, which are normally covered with snow throughout the year, we find sledges pulled by dogs used to carry both passengers and goods.

Compared with a man driven and animal-driven means of road transport, motor-driven means of transport have become more important over the years. This is due to their speedy movement and larger carrying capacity. The extension of roads to every corner of the country has also enhanced the use of motor-driven transport.

The types of motor vehicles used to carry goods and passengers include auto-rickshaws, scooters, vans, buses, tempos and trucks, etc. In Kolkata, tramway also forms part of road transport for carrying passengers.

Advantages of Road Transport

Road transport has the following advantages.

  • It is a relatively cheaper mode of transport as compared to other modes.
  • Perishable goods can be transported at a faster speed by road carriers over a short distance.
  • It is a flexible mode of transport as loading and unloading is possible at any destination. It provides door-to-door service.
  • It helps people to travel and carry goods from one place to another, in places which are not connected by other means of transport like hilly areas.

Limitations of Road Transport

It has the following limitations.

  • Due to limited carrying capacity road transport is not economical for long distance transportation of goods.
  • Transportation of heavy goods or goods in bulk by road involves high cost.
  • It is affected by adverse weather conditions. Floods, rain, landslide, etc., sometimes create obstructions to road transport.

Rail Transport

Transportation of goods and passengers on rail lines through trains is called rail transport. It occupies an important place inland transport system of our country and is the most dependable mode of transport to carry goods and passengers over a long distance.

Besides long-distance, local transport of passengers is also provided by local trains or metro-rail in some metropolitan cities. Rail transport is available throughout the country except in some hilly or mountainous regions. In India, two types of trains are found. One is a passenger train and the other is a goods train.

While passenger trains carry both human beings and a limited quantity of goods, the goods trains are exclusively used for carrying goods from one place to another. These trains are driven by rail engines and they use steam, diesel or electric power to move. Let us now discuss the advantages and limitations of rail transport.

Advantages of Rail Transport

  • It is a convenient mode of transport for travlling long distances.
  • It is relatively faster than road transport.
  • It is suitable for carrying heavy goods in large quantities over long distances.
  • Its operation is less affected by adverse weathers conditions like rain, floods, fog, etc.

Limitations of Railway Transport

  • It is relatively expensive for carrying goods and passengers over short distances.
  • It is not available in remote parts of the country.
  • It provides service according to fixed time schedule and is not flexible for loading or unloading of goods at any place.
  • It involves heavy losses of life as well as goods in case of accident.

Pipelines Transport

In modern times, pipelines are used for various purposes. Water supply to residential and commercial areas is carried on with the help of pipeline. Petroleum and natural gas are also transported from one place to another through pipelines.

This is the most convenient as well as an economical mode of transport for petroleum as well as natural gas in comparison to road and rail transport, provided the volume to be transported is large. But the cost of installation and maintenance requires large capital investment.

Ropeway Transport

Ropeway refers to a mode of transport, which connects two places on the hills, or across a valley or river. In the hilly areas, trolleys move on wheels connected to a rope and are used for carrying passengers or goods, especially building materials, food, etc.

The famous “Uran Khatola Jagdamba” in Gujarat that carries pilgrims to the temple is an example of ropeway transport, which carries more than 100 passengers at a time.

Water Transport

Water transport refers to the movement of goods and passengers on waterways by using various means like boats, steamers, launches, ships, etc. With the help of these means, goods and passengers are carried to different places, both within as well as outside the country.

Within the country, rivers and canals facilitate the movement of boats, launches, etc. Since the goods and passengers move inside the country, this type of transport is called inland water transport. When the different means of transport are used to carry goods and passengers on the sea route it is termed as ocean transport. Let us know further about these two types of water transport.

Inland Water Transport

Inland water transport use boats, launches, barges, streamers, etc., to carry goods and passengers on the river and canal routes. These routes are called inland waterways and are used in domestic or home trade to carry bulky goods. Passenger transport through waterways is not so popular in our country. Inland water transport system exists only in few states. West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Tamil Nadu, etc.

Ocean transport

Ocean transport refers to the movement of goods and passengers with the help of ships through sea or ocean waterways. It plays an important role in the development of international trade. It is also used for transporting goods and passengers in coastal areas. Ocean transport has its fixed route, which links almost all the countries of the world. Sea transport may be of the following two types.

Coastal Shipping: In this transport, ships ply between the main ports of a country. This helps in the home trade, and also in carrying passengers within the country.

Overseas shipping: In this transport, ships ply between different countries separated by sea or ocean. It is mainly used for the promotion and development of international trade. It is economical means of transport to carry heavy machines and goods in bulk. Overseas transport is carried out on fixed routes, which connect almost all the countries. In ocean transport, different types of ships are used to carry passengers and goods. These may be classified as under.

  • Liners – A liner is a passenger or cargo vessel, which belongs to a regular shipping company. These ships ply over a fixed route according to a prescribed schedule or timetable.

  • Tramps – A tramp is a cargo ship, which does not make regular trips but plies whenever cargo is offered to it. It does not follow a fixed route or a prescribed timetable like that of liners.

Advantages of Water Transport

Water Transport has the following advantages:

  • It is a relatively economical mode of transport for bulky and heavy goods.
  • It is a safe mode of transport with respect to occurance of accidents.
  • The cost of maintaining and constructing routes is very low as most of them are naturally made.
  • It promotes international trade.

Limitations of Water Transport

Water transport has the following limitations.

  • The depth and navigability of rivers and canals vary and thus, affect operations of different transport vessels.
  • It is a slow moving mode of transport and therefore not suitable for transport of perishable goods.
  • It is adversely affected by weather conditions.
  • Sea transport requires large investment on ships and their maintenance.

Air Transport

This is the fastest mode of transport. It carries goods and passengers through airways by using different aircraft like passenger aircraft, cargo aircraft, helicopters, etc. Besides passengers, it generally carries goods that are less bulky or of high value. In hilly and mountainous areas where another mode of transport is not accessible, air transport is an important as well as convenient mode.

It is mostly used for transporting goods and passengers during natural calamities like earthquakes and floods, etc. During the war, air transport plays an important role in carrying soldiers as well as supplies to the required areas.

Air transport may be classified as domestic and international air transport. While domestic air transport mainly facilitates movement within the country, international air transport is used for carrying goods and passengers between different countries. Air transport is carried out in fixed air routes, which connect almost all the countries.

Advantages of Air Transport

It has the following advantages.

  • It is the fastest mode of transport. (not an advantage).
  • It is very useful in transporting goods and passengers to the area, which are not accessible by any other means.
  • It is the most convenient mode of transport during natural calamities.
  • It provides vital support to the national security and defence.

Limitations of Air Transport

It has the following limitations.

  • It is relatively more expensive mode of transport.
  • It is not suitable for transporting heavy and bulky goods.
  • It is affected by adverse weather conditions.
  • It is not suitable for short distance travel.
  • In case of accidents, it results in heavy losses of goods, property and life.

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