Means of transport

The means of transport are an important factor of development, because they facilitate exchanges of people and materials. Developed countries have a dense transport network, while the underdeveloped generally have incomplete networks and old-fashioned means.

The means of transport evolved slowly until the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, new means appeared and the existing ones were perfected ( ship, train, automobile, airplane ). Since 1950, with reduced costs and increased speed and safety, transport has become more affordable.

Elements of transport

A conjunction of numerous material and human elements facilitates transportation:

  • The infrastructure needed for transportation diffusion: roads, highways, railways, canals, pipelines, gas pipelines, electricity networks and telephone lines. Ports, airports, broadcasting antennas and satellites can also be considered as examples of means of transport.
  • The complete organization of railway, naval and air or land transport companies is fundamental to boost resources and improve safety, speed and convenience.
  • The regulation and legal regulation of transport, in which different governments intervene, directly or through international agreements.
  • The means : trains, boats, automobiles, airplanes etc.

Ground transportation

There are two modes of land transport:

The road transport has not suffered major changes to the development of the automobile, which brought with it a proliferation of roads and highways. Its use causes major urban problems: the density of traffic and pollution. Their distribution is very uneven: Asia, Latin America and Africa account for only 10 percent of the world’s paved highways and are generally in poor condition.

The railway was developed in the early nineteenth century. It went through a certain decline as the plane turned out to be faster and more profitable. Today, however, it is experiencing a new heyday in developed countries thanks to high-speed lines, which traverse average distances in less time than the airplane. However, in less developed countries, the problems remain: disconnected lines and railways of unequal width hinder communication with other countries and render the system inefficient.

The highest density transport networks are concentrated in Europe, to the west of the Ural Mountains; in the United States; in the southern part of Canada, from Quebec to Vancouver; in Japan; and in southeastern Australia.

The naval transport

At present, the naval transport is dedicated to the transfer of great quantities of merchandise and to the specialized transport.

There are two means of naval transport:

The river transport is developed along major navigable rivers (Mississippi, St. Lawrence, Amazon, Danube, Congo, Indus, Ganges, Yangtze-Kiang etc.). These and others are important routes of internal commercial communication.

The shipping need to move large quantities of goods over long distances to be profitable because of its slowness.

There are three main routes of maritime traffic:

  • The North Atlantic is the traditional route linking Europe and the United States. Its main ports are London, Rotterdam and New York.
  • The Indian-Mediterranean route uses the Suez Canal as a link. It is the traditional route that united India with Great Britain. Currently, it transports oil from the Persian Gulf to the European continent.
  • The Pacific , the new axis of international economic relations, links the United States to East Asia. Europe has access to this area through the Panama Canal .

As far as passenger traffic is concerned, the offer is focused on carrying out tourist trips and cruises, with the Mediterranean and the Caribbean being the most active areas.

Air transport

Aviation was born in the early twentieth century and, with World War II (1939-1945), developed as a safe and profitable system. Although airports require large works and a large investment in technology, diverse material and specialized personnel, their cost is clearly lower than that of a road or a railroad. The constant development of computer systems also allows to improve and streamline its management and operation.

Air transport is characterized by speed . Today, thanks to the engines reaction, commercial airplanes exceed 1000 km / h. Reaction motors work according to Newton’s third law (action and reaction): they expel the gases backward, which causes the airplane to move forward. Its drawbacks are: the negative environmental impact (excessive noise and burning of fossil fuels) and the difficulty to transport goods of great volume and weight.

Thus, the most constant use of the airplane is the transfer of passengers over great distances and the traffic of products of urgent shipment (medicines, provisions, mail, etc.). Helicopters, on the other hand, make it possible to reach places that are inaccessible to other means of transport.

The air transport infrastructure is based on the creation of large international airports linking world air traffic and national airports that serve the internal circulation of passengers. This transport is essentially of passengers and is carried out by means of large airlines.

The air routes of the North Atlantic, which unite Europe and North America, are the most frequented. Other widely used lines are those that link Japan to the United States and Western Europe.

Evolution of means of transport

  • 3500 BC – Man makes use of the first wheel cars (hand drawn carts) and river boats.
  • 2000 BC – Use of the horse as a means of transport.
  • 1662 – Blaise Pascal invents the chariot drawn by horses.
  • 1769 – Caugnot builds the first steam car.
  • 1807 – Fulton invents the steamboat.
  • 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers invent the balloon.
  • 1814 – George Stephenson builds the first builds the steam locomotive.
  • 1886 – Daimler idealizes the first automobile driven by an engine to explode .
  • 1900 – Ferdinand von Zeppelin builds the first airship.
  • 1903 – The Wright Brothers perform the first catapulted flight.
  • 1906 – Santos Dumont flies a distance of 60 meters with his 14 Bis in Paris.
  • 1908 – Henry Ford applies series production to his car factory.
  • 1947 – First supersonic flight.
  • 1961 – Vostok 1: first space flight.

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