Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another. In other words, the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of an organism or thing from a point A to a Point B. Modes of transport include air, land (rail and road), water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles and operations. Transport enables trade between people, which is essential for the development of civilizations.
Transport infrastructure consists of the fixed installations, including roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and pipelines and terminals such as airports, railway stations, bus stations, warehouses, trucking terminals, refueling depots (including fueling docks and fuel stations) and seaports. Terminals may be used both for interchange of passengers and cargo and for maintenance.
Fundamentals of Transportation/Introduction
Transportation moves people and goods from one place to another using a variety of vehicles across different infrastructure systems. It does this using not only technology (namely vehicles, energy, and infrastructure), but also people’s time and eﬀort; producing not only the desired outputs of passenger trips and freight shipments, but also adverse outcomes such as air pollution, noise, congestion, crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
Figure : illustrates the inputs, outputs, and outcomes of transportation. In the upper left are traditional inputs (infrastructure including pavements, bridges, etc.), labor required to produce transportation, land consumed by infrastructure, energy inputs, and vehicles). Infrastructure is the traditional preserve of civil engineering, while vehicles are anchored in mechanical engineering. Energy, to the extent it is powering existing vehicles is a mechanical engineering question, but the design of systems to reduce or minimize energy consumption require thinking beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.
On the top of the ﬁgure are Information, Operations, and Management, and Travelers’ Time and Eﬀort. Transportation systems serve people, and are created by people, both the system owners and operators, who run, manage, and maintain the system and travelers who use it. Travelers’ time depends both on free ﬂow time, which is a product of the infrastructure design and on delay due to congestion, which is an interaction of system capacity and its use. On the upper right side of the ﬁgure are the adverse outcomes of transportation, in particular its negative externalities:
- By polluting, systems consume health and increase morbidity and mortality;
- By being dangerous, they consume safety and produce injuries and fatalities;
- By being loud they consume quiet and produce noise (decreasing quality of life and property values); and
- By emitting carbon and other pollutants, they harm the environment.
All of these factors are increasingly being recognized as costs of transportation, but the most notable are the environmental eﬀects, particularly with concerns about global climate change. The bottom of the ﬁgure shows the outputs of transportation. Transportation is central to economic activity and to people’s lives, it enables them to engage in work, attend school, shop for food and other goods, and participate in all of the activities that comprise human existence. More transportation, by increasing accessibility to more destinations, enables people to better meet their personal objectives, but entails higher costs both individually and socially. While the “transportation problem” is often posed in terms of congestion, that delay is but one cost of a system that has many costs and even more benefits. Further, by changing accessibility, transportation gives shape to the development of land.