NCERT Textbook - Transport and Communication Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Geography (Prelims) by Valor Academy

Created by: Mehtab Ahmed

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Transport and Communication Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Unit-III
Chapter-8
Transport and
Communication
Natural resources, economic activities and
markets are rarely found in one place.
Transport, communication and trade establish
links between producing centres and
consuming centres. The system of mass
production and exchange is complex. Each
region produces the items for which it is best
suited. Trade or the exchange of such
commodities relies on transportation and
communication. Likewise, the high living
standards and quality of life depend on efficient
transportation, communications and trade.  In
earlier days, the means of transport and
communication were the same. But today both
have acquired distinct and specialised forms.
Transport provides the network of links and
carriers through which trade takes place.
TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPORT T T T T
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.  Roads and railways form part of
land transport; while shipping and waterways
and airways are the other two modes. Pipelines
carry materials like petroleum, natural gas, and
ores in liquidified form.
 Moreover, transportation is an organised
service industry created to satisfy the basic
needs of society. It includes transport arteries,
vehicles to carry people and goods, and the
organisation to maintain arteries, and to handle
loading, unloading and delivery.  Every nation
has developed various kinds of transportation
for defence purposes. Assured and speedy
transportation, along with efficient
communication, promote cooperation and
unity among scattered peoples.
What is a Transport Network ?
Several places (nodes) joined together by a
series of routes (links) to form a pattern.
MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPORT T T T TA A A A ATION TION TION TION TION
The principal modes of world transportation,
as already mentioned are land, water, air and
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


Unit-III
Chapter-8
Transport and
Communication
Natural resources, economic activities and
markets are rarely found in one place.
Transport, communication and trade establish
links between producing centres and
consuming centres. The system of mass
production and exchange is complex. Each
region produces the items for which it is best
suited. Trade or the exchange of such
commodities relies on transportation and
communication. Likewise, the high living
standards and quality of life depend on efficient
transportation, communications and trade.  In
earlier days, the means of transport and
communication were the same. But today both
have acquired distinct and specialised forms.
Transport provides the network of links and
carriers through which trade takes place.
TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPORT T T T T
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.  Roads and railways form part of
land transport; while shipping and waterways
and airways are the other two modes. Pipelines
carry materials like petroleum, natural gas, and
ores in liquidified form.
 Moreover, transportation is an organised
service industry created to satisfy the basic
needs of society. It includes transport arteries,
vehicles to carry people and goods, and the
organisation to maintain arteries, and to handle
loading, unloading and delivery.  Every nation
has developed various kinds of transportation
for defence purposes. Assured and speedy
transportation, along with efficient
communication, promote cooperation and
unity among scattered peoples.
What is a Transport Network ?
Several places (nodes) joined together by a
series of routes (links) to form a pattern.
MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPORT T T T TA A A A ATION TION TION TION TION
The principal modes of world transportation,
as already mentioned are land, water, air and
© NCERT
not to be republished
Fundamentals of Human Geography 66
pipelines. These are used for inter-regional and
intra-regional transport, and each one (except
pipelines) carries both passengers and freight.
The significance of a mode depends on the type
of goods and services to be transported, costs
of transport and the mode available.
International movement of goods is handled by
ocean freighters. Road transport is cheaper and
faster over short distances and  for door-to-
door services. Railways are most suited for large
volumes of bulky materials over long distances
within a country. High-value, light and
perishable goods are best moved by airways.
In a well-managed transport system, these
various modes complement each other.
Land Transport
Most of the movement of goods and services
takes place over land. In early days, humans
themselves were carriers. Have you ever seen a
bride being carried on a palanquin (palki/doli)
by four persons (Kahars in north India). Later
animals were used as beasts of burden. Have
you seen mules, horses and camels, carrying
loads of cargo in rural areas? With the invention
of the wheel, the use of carts and wagons
became important. The revolution in transport
came about only after the invention of the steam
engine in the eighteenth century. Perhaps the
first public railway line was opened in 1825
between Stockton and Darlington in northern
England and then onwards, railways became
the most popular and fastest form of transport
in the nineteenth century. It opened up
continental interiors for commercial grain
farming, mining and manufacturing in U.S.A.
The invention of the internal combustion engine
revolutionised road transport in terms of road
quality and vehicles (motor cars and trucks)
plying over them. Among the newer
developments in land transportation are
pipelines, ropeways and cableways. Liquids like
mineral oil, water, sludge and sewers are
transported by pipelines. The great freight
carriers are the railways, ocean vessels, barges,
boats and motor trucks and pipelines.
In general, the old and elementary forms
like the human porter, pack animal, cart or
wagon are the most expensive means of
transportation and large freighters are the
cheapest.  They are important in supplementing
modern channels and carriers which penetrate
the interiors in large countries. In the densely
populated districts of India and China, overland
transport still takes place by human porters or
carts drawn or pushed by humans.
 Pack Animals
 Horses are used as a draught animal even
in the Western countries.  Dogs and
reindeer are used in North America, North
Europe and Siberia to draw sledges over
snow-covered ground. Mules are preferred
in the mountainous regions; while camels
are used for caravan movement in deserts.
In India, bullocks are used for pulling carts.
Fig. 8.2: A horse cart in a village Tefki,
in Ethiopia
Fig. 8.1: Ropeway and Cable cars in Austria
This means of transport is usually found on steep
mountain slopes and mines which are not suitable for
building roads.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


Unit-III
Chapter-8
Transport and
Communication
Natural resources, economic activities and
markets are rarely found in one place.
Transport, communication and trade establish
links between producing centres and
consuming centres. The system of mass
production and exchange is complex. Each
region produces the items for which it is best
suited. Trade or the exchange of such
commodities relies on transportation and
communication. Likewise, the high living
standards and quality of life depend on efficient
transportation, communications and trade.  In
earlier days, the means of transport and
communication were the same. But today both
have acquired distinct and specialised forms.
Transport provides the network of links and
carriers through which trade takes place.
TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPORT T T T T
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.  Roads and railways form part of
land transport; while shipping and waterways
and airways are the other two modes. Pipelines
carry materials like petroleum, natural gas, and
ores in liquidified form.
 Moreover, transportation is an organised
service industry created to satisfy the basic
needs of society. It includes transport arteries,
vehicles to carry people and goods, and the
organisation to maintain arteries, and to handle
loading, unloading and delivery.  Every nation
has developed various kinds of transportation
for defence purposes. Assured and speedy
transportation, along with efficient
communication, promote cooperation and
unity among scattered peoples.
What is a Transport Network ?
Several places (nodes) joined together by a
series of routes (links) to form a pattern.
MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPORT T T T TA A A A ATION TION TION TION TION
The principal modes of world transportation,
as already mentioned are land, water, air and
© NCERT
not to be republished
Fundamentals of Human Geography 66
pipelines. These are used for inter-regional and
intra-regional transport, and each one (except
pipelines) carries both passengers and freight.
The significance of a mode depends on the type
of goods and services to be transported, costs
of transport and the mode available.
International movement of goods is handled by
ocean freighters. Road transport is cheaper and
faster over short distances and  for door-to-
door services. Railways are most suited for large
volumes of bulky materials over long distances
within a country. High-value, light and
perishable goods are best moved by airways.
In a well-managed transport system, these
various modes complement each other.
Land Transport
Most of the movement of goods and services
takes place over land. In early days, humans
themselves were carriers. Have you ever seen a
bride being carried on a palanquin (palki/doli)
by four persons (Kahars in north India). Later
animals were used as beasts of burden. Have
you seen mules, horses and camels, carrying
loads of cargo in rural areas? With the invention
of the wheel, the use of carts and wagons
became important. The revolution in transport
came about only after the invention of the steam
engine in the eighteenth century. Perhaps the
first public railway line was opened in 1825
between Stockton and Darlington in northern
England and then onwards, railways became
the most popular and fastest form of transport
in the nineteenth century. It opened up
continental interiors for commercial grain
farming, mining and manufacturing in U.S.A.
The invention of the internal combustion engine
revolutionised road transport in terms of road
quality and vehicles (motor cars and trucks)
plying over them. Among the newer
developments in land transportation are
pipelines, ropeways and cableways. Liquids like
mineral oil, water, sludge and sewers are
transported by pipelines. The great freight
carriers are the railways, ocean vessels, barges,
boats and motor trucks and pipelines.
In general, the old and elementary forms
like the human porter, pack animal, cart or
wagon are the most expensive means of
transportation and large freighters are the
cheapest.  They are important in supplementing
modern channels and carriers which penetrate
the interiors in large countries. In the densely
populated districts of India and China, overland
transport still takes place by human porters or
carts drawn or pushed by humans.
 Pack Animals
 Horses are used as a draught animal even
in the Western countries.  Dogs and
reindeer are used in North America, North
Europe and Siberia to draw sledges over
snow-covered ground. Mules are preferred
in the mountainous regions; while camels
are used for caravan movement in deserts.
In India, bullocks are used for pulling carts.
Fig. 8.2: A horse cart in a village Tefki,
in Ethiopia
Fig. 8.1: Ropeway and Cable cars in Austria
This means of transport is usually found on steep
mountain slopes and mines which are not suitable for
building roads.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Transport and Communication     67
Roads
Road transport is the most economical for short
distances compared to railways. Freight
transport by road is gaining importance
because it offers door-to-door service. But
unmetalled roads, though  simple in
construction, are not effective and serviceable
for all seasons. During the rainy season these
become unmotorable and even the metalled
ones are seriously handicapped during heavy
rains and floods. In such conditions, the high
embankment of rail-tracks and the efficient
maintenance of railway transport service, is an
effective solution. But the rail kilometrage being
small cannot serve the needs of  vast and
developing countries at a low cost. Roads,
therefore, play a vital role in a nation’s trade
and commerce and for promoting tourism.
The quality of the roads varies greatly
between developed and developing countries
because road construction and maintenance
require heavy expenditure.  In developed
countries good quality roads are universal and
provide long-distance links in the form of
motorways, autobahns (Germany), and inter–
state highways for speedy movement. Lorries,
of  increasing size and power  to carry heavy
loads, are common. But unfortunately, the
world’s road system is not well developed.
The world’s total motorable road length
is only about 15 million km, of which North
America accounts for 33 per cent.  The highest
road density and the highest number of
vehicles are registered in this continent
compared to Western Europe.
Table 8.1: Length of the Roads
Sl. Countries For every
No. 100 km
2
area
1. India 105
2. Japan 327
3. France 164
4. U.K. 162
5. U.S.A. 67
6. Spain 68
7. Sri Lanka 151
Source : Encyclopedia Britannica – Year Book, 2005.
Traffic Flows: Traffic on roads has
increased dramatically in recent years. When
the road network cannot cope with the demands
of traffic, congestion occurs. City roads suffer
from chronic traffic congestion.  Peaks (high
points) and troughs (low points) of traffic flow
can be seen on roads at particular times of the
day, for example, peaks occurring during the
rush hour before and after work. Most of the
cities in the world have been facing the problem
of congestion.
Think on these lines for a
better tomorrow . . .
URBAN TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS
Higher Parking Fee
Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Improved Public Bus Service
Expressways
Highways
Highways are metalled roads connecting distant
places.  They are constructed in a manner for
unobstructed vehicular movement. As such
these are 80 m wide, with separate traffic lanes,
bridges, flyovers and dual carriageways to
facilitate uninterrupted traffic flow. In developed
countries, every city and port town is linked
through highways.
Fig. 8.3 : Dharmavaram Tuni National Highway,
India
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


Unit-III
Chapter-8
Transport and
Communication
Natural resources, economic activities and
markets are rarely found in one place.
Transport, communication and trade establish
links between producing centres and
consuming centres. The system of mass
production and exchange is complex. Each
region produces the items for which it is best
suited. Trade or the exchange of such
commodities relies on transportation and
communication. Likewise, the high living
standards and quality of life depend on efficient
transportation, communications and trade.  In
earlier days, the means of transport and
communication were the same. But today both
have acquired distinct and specialised forms.
Transport provides the network of links and
carriers through which trade takes place.
TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPORT T T T T
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.  Roads and railways form part of
land transport; while shipping and waterways
and airways are the other two modes. Pipelines
carry materials like petroleum, natural gas, and
ores in liquidified form.
 Moreover, transportation is an organised
service industry created to satisfy the basic
needs of society. It includes transport arteries,
vehicles to carry people and goods, and the
organisation to maintain arteries, and to handle
loading, unloading and delivery.  Every nation
has developed various kinds of transportation
for defence purposes. Assured and speedy
transportation, along with efficient
communication, promote cooperation and
unity among scattered peoples.
What is a Transport Network ?
Several places (nodes) joined together by a
series of routes (links) to form a pattern.
MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPORT T T T TA A A A ATION TION TION TION TION
The principal modes of world transportation,
as already mentioned are land, water, air and
© NCERT
not to be republished
Fundamentals of Human Geography 66
pipelines. These are used for inter-regional and
intra-regional transport, and each one (except
pipelines) carries both passengers and freight.
The significance of a mode depends on the type
of goods and services to be transported, costs
of transport and the mode available.
International movement of goods is handled by
ocean freighters. Road transport is cheaper and
faster over short distances and  for door-to-
door services. Railways are most suited for large
volumes of bulky materials over long distances
within a country. High-value, light and
perishable goods are best moved by airways.
In a well-managed transport system, these
various modes complement each other.
Land Transport
Most of the movement of goods and services
takes place over land. In early days, humans
themselves were carriers. Have you ever seen a
bride being carried on a palanquin (palki/doli)
by four persons (Kahars in north India). Later
animals were used as beasts of burden. Have
you seen mules, horses and camels, carrying
loads of cargo in rural areas? With the invention
of the wheel, the use of carts and wagons
became important. The revolution in transport
came about only after the invention of the steam
engine in the eighteenth century. Perhaps the
first public railway line was opened in 1825
between Stockton and Darlington in northern
England and then onwards, railways became
the most popular and fastest form of transport
in the nineteenth century. It opened up
continental interiors for commercial grain
farming, mining and manufacturing in U.S.A.
The invention of the internal combustion engine
revolutionised road transport in terms of road
quality and vehicles (motor cars and trucks)
plying over them. Among the newer
developments in land transportation are
pipelines, ropeways and cableways. Liquids like
mineral oil, water, sludge and sewers are
transported by pipelines. The great freight
carriers are the railways, ocean vessels, barges,
boats and motor trucks and pipelines.
In general, the old and elementary forms
like the human porter, pack animal, cart or
wagon are the most expensive means of
transportation and large freighters are the
cheapest.  They are important in supplementing
modern channels and carriers which penetrate
the interiors in large countries. In the densely
populated districts of India and China, overland
transport still takes place by human porters or
carts drawn or pushed by humans.
 Pack Animals
 Horses are used as a draught animal even
in the Western countries.  Dogs and
reindeer are used in North America, North
Europe and Siberia to draw sledges over
snow-covered ground. Mules are preferred
in the mountainous regions; while camels
are used for caravan movement in deserts.
In India, bullocks are used for pulling carts.
Fig. 8.2: A horse cart in a village Tefki,
in Ethiopia
Fig. 8.1: Ropeway and Cable cars in Austria
This means of transport is usually found on steep
mountain slopes and mines which are not suitable for
building roads.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Transport and Communication     67
Roads
Road transport is the most economical for short
distances compared to railways. Freight
transport by road is gaining importance
because it offers door-to-door service. But
unmetalled roads, though  simple in
construction, are not effective and serviceable
for all seasons. During the rainy season these
become unmotorable and even the metalled
ones are seriously handicapped during heavy
rains and floods. In such conditions, the high
embankment of rail-tracks and the efficient
maintenance of railway transport service, is an
effective solution. But the rail kilometrage being
small cannot serve the needs of  vast and
developing countries at a low cost. Roads,
therefore, play a vital role in a nation’s trade
and commerce and for promoting tourism.
The quality of the roads varies greatly
between developed and developing countries
because road construction and maintenance
require heavy expenditure.  In developed
countries good quality roads are universal and
provide long-distance links in the form of
motorways, autobahns (Germany), and inter–
state highways for speedy movement. Lorries,
of  increasing size and power  to carry heavy
loads, are common. But unfortunately, the
world’s road system is not well developed.
The world’s total motorable road length
is only about 15 million km, of which North
America accounts for 33 per cent.  The highest
road density and the highest number of
vehicles are registered in this continent
compared to Western Europe.
Table 8.1: Length of the Roads
Sl. Countries For every
No. 100 km
2
area
1. India 105
2. Japan 327
3. France 164
4. U.K. 162
5. U.S.A. 67
6. Spain 68
7. Sri Lanka 151
Source : Encyclopedia Britannica – Year Book, 2005.
Traffic Flows: Traffic on roads has
increased dramatically in recent years. When
the road network cannot cope with the demands
of traffic, congestion occurs. City roads suffer
from chronic traffic congestion.  Peaks (high
points) and troughs (low points) of traffic flow
can be seen on roads at particular times of the
day, for example, peaks occurring during the
rush hour before and after work. Most of the
cities in the world have been facing the problem
of congestion.
Think on these lines for a
better tomorrow . . .
URBAN TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS
Higher Parking Fee
Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Improved Public Bus Service
Expressways
Highways
Highways are metalled roads connecting distant
places.  They are constructed in a manner for
unobstructed vehicular movement. As such
these are 80 m wide, with separate traffic lanes,
bridges, flyovers and dual carriageways to
facilitate uninterrupted traffic flow. In developed
countries, every city and port town is linked
through highways.
Fig. 8.3 : Dharmavaram Tuni National Highway,
India
© NCERT
not to be republished
Fundamentals of Human Geography 68
In North America, highway density is high,
about 0.65 km per sq km. Every place is within
20 km distance from a highway. Cities located
on the Pacific coast (west) are well-connected
with those of the Atlantic Coast (east). Likewise,
the cities of Canada in the north are linked with
those of Mexico in the south. The Trans-
Canadian Highway links Vancouver in British
Columbia(west coast) to  St. John’s City in
Newfoundland (east coast) and the Alaskan
Highway links Edmonton (Canada) to
Anchorage (Alaska).
The Pan-American Highway, a large
portion  of which has been constructed, will
connect the countries of South America, Central
America and U.S.A.-Canada. The Trans-
Continental Stuart Highway connects Darwin
(north coast) and Melbourne via Tennant Creek
and Alice Springs in Australia.
Europe has a large number of vehicles and
a well-developed highway network.  But
highways face a lot of competition from railways
and waterways.
In Russia, a dense highway network is
developed in the industrialised region west of
the Urals with Moscow as the hub. The
important Moscow-Vladivostok Highway serves
the region to the east.  Due to the vast
geographical area, highways in Russia are not
as important as railways.
In China, highways criss-cross the country
connecting all major cities such as Tsungtso
(near Vietnam boundary), Shanghai (central
China), Guangzhou (south) and Beijing (north).
A new highway links Chengdu with Lhasa in
Tibet.
In India, there are many highways
linking the major towns and cities. For
example, National Highway No. 7 (NH 7),
connecting Varanasi with Kanya Kumari, is
the longest in the country. The Golden
Quadrilateral (GQ) or Super Expressway is
underway to connect the four metropolitan
cities — New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore,
Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
In Africa, a highway joins Algiers in the
north to Conakry in Guinea.  Similarly, Cairo
is also connected to Cape Town.
Border  Roads
Roads laid along  international boundaries are
called border roads. They play an important
role in integrating people in remote areas with
major cities and providing defence.  Almost all
countries have such roads to transport goods
to border villages and military camps.
Railways
Railways are a mode of land transport for
bulky goods and passengers over long
distances. The railway gauges vary in different
countries and are roughly classified as broad
(more than 1.5 m), standard  (1.44 m), metre
gauge (1 m) and smaller gauges. The standard
gauge is used in the U.K.
Commuter trains are very popular in U.K.,
U.S.A, Japan and India. These carry millions
of passengers daily to and fro in the city. There
are about 13 lakh km of railways open for traffic
in the world.
Fig. 8.4: Tube Train in Vienna
Table 8.2: Total Length of Railways in Selected
Countries (in 100 sq km)
Sl. Countries For every
No. 100/km
2
 area
1. U.S.A. 278.3
2. Russia 160.8
3. India 144.7
4. Canada 93.5
5. Germany 90.8
6. China 70.1
7. Australia 40.0
8. U.K. 37.9
9. France 34.5
10. Brazil 30.1
Source : Encyclopaedia Britanica – Year Book, 2005.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


Unit-III
Chapter-8
Transport and
Communication
Natural resources, economic activities and
markets are rarely found in one place.
Transport, communication and trade establish
links between producing centres and
consuming centres. The system of mass
production and exchange is complex. Each
region produces the items for which it is best
suited. Trade or the exchange of such
commodities relies on transportation and
communication. Likewise, the high living
standards and quality of life depend on efficient
transportation, communications and trade.  In
earlier days, the means of transport and
communication were the same. But today both
have acquired distinct and specialised forms.
Transport provides the network of links and
carriers through which trade takes place.
TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPOR TRANSPORT T T T T
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.  Roads and railways form part of
land transport; while shipping and waterways
and airways are the other two modes. Pipelines
carry materials like petroleum, natural gas, and
ores in liquidified form.
 Moreover, transportation is an organised
service industry created to satisfy the basic
needs of society. It includes transport arteries,
vehicles to carry people and goods, and the
organisation to maintain arteries, and to handle
loading, unloading and delivery.  Every nation
has developed various kinds of transportation
for defence purposes. Assured and speedy
transportation, along with efficient
communication, promote cooperation and
unity among scattered peoples.
What is a Transport Network ?
Several places (nodes) joined together by a
series of routes (links) to form a pattern.
MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPOR MODES OF TRANSPORT T T T TA A A A ATION TION TION TION TION
The principal modes of world transportation,
as already mentioned are land, water, air and
© NCERT
not to be republished
Fundamentals of Human Geography 66
pipelines. These are used for inter-regional and
intra-regional transport, and each one (except
pipelines) carries both passengers and freight.
The significance of a mode depends on the type
of goods and services to be transported, costs
of transport and the mode available.
International movement of goods is handled by
ocean freighters. Road transport is cheaper and
faster over short distances and  for door-to-
door services. Railways are most suited for large
volumes of bulky materials over long distances
within a country. High-value, light and
perishable goods are best moved by airways.
In a well-managed transport system, these
various modes complement each other.
Land Transport
Most of the movement of goods and services
takes place over land. In early days, humans
themselves were carriers. Have you ever seen a
bride being carried on a palanquin (palki/doli)
by four persons (Kahars in north India). Later
animals were used as beasts of burden. Have
you seen mules, horses and camels, carrying
loads of cargo in rural areas? With the invention
of the wheel, the use of carts and wagons
became important. The revolution in transport
came about only after the invention of the steam
engine in the eighteenth century. Perhaps the
first public railway line was opened in 1825
between Stockton and Darlington in northern
England and then onwards, railways became
the most popular and fastest form of transport
in the nineteenth century. It opened up
continental interiors for commercial grain
farming, mining and manufacturing in U.S.A.
The invention of the internal combustion engine
revolutionised road transport in terms of road
quality and vehicles (motor cars and trucks)
plying over them. Among the newer
developments in land transportation are
pipelines, ropeways and cableways. Liquids like
mineral oil, water, sludge and sewers are
transported by pipelines. The great freight
carriers are the railways, ocean vessels, barges,
boats and motor trucks and pipelines.
In general, the old and elementary forms
like the human porter, pack animal, cart or
wagon are the most expensive means of
transportation and large freighters are the
cheapest.  They are important in supplementing
modern channels and carriers which penetrate
the interiors in large countries. In the densely
populated districts of India and China, overland
transport still takes place by human porters or
carts drawn or pushed by humans.
 Pack Animals
 Horses are used as a draught animal even
in the Western countries.  Dogs and
reindeer are used in North America, North
Europe and Siberia to draw sledges over
snow-covered ground. Mules are preferred
in the mountainous regions; while camels
are used for caravan movement in deserts.
In India, bullocks are used for pulling carts.
Fig. 8.2: A horse cart in a village Tefki,
in Ethiopia
Fig. 8.1: Ropeway and Cable cars in Austria
This means of transport is usually found on steep
mountain slopes and mines which are not suitable for
building roads.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Transport and Communication     67
Roads
Road transport is the most economical for short
distances compared to railways. Freight
transport by road is gaining importance
because it offers door-to-door service. But
unmetalled roads, though  simple in
construction, are not effective and serviceable
for all seasons. During the rainy season these
become unmotorable and even the metalled
ones are seriously handicapped during heavy
rains and floods. In such conditions, the high
embankment of rail-tracks and the efficient
maintenance of railway transport service, is an
effective solution. But the rail kilometrage being
small cannot serve the needs of  vast and
developing countries at a low cost. Roads,
therefore, play a vital role in a nation’s trade
and commerce and for promoting tourism.
The quality of the roads varies greatly
between developed and developing countries
because road construction and maintenance
require heavy expenditure.  In developed
countries good quality roads are universal and
provide long-distance links in the form of
motorways, autobahns (Germany), and inter–
state highways for speedy movement. Lorries,
of  increasing size and power  to carry heavy
loads, are common. But unfortunately, the
world’s road system is not well developed.
The world’s total motorable road length
is only about 15 million km, of which North
America accounts for 33 per cent.  The highest
road density and the highest number of
vehicles are registered in this continent
compared to Western Europe.
Table 8.1: Length of the Roads
Sl. Countries For every
No. 100 km
2
area
1. India 105
2. Japan 327
3. France 164
4. U.K. 162
5. U.S.A. 67
6. Spain 68
7. Sri Lanka 151
Source : Encyclopedia Britannica – Year Book, 2005.
Traffic Flows: Traffic on roads has
increased dramatically in recent years. When
the road network cannot cope with the demands
of traffic, congestion occurs. City roads suffer
from chronic traffic congestion.  Peaks (high
points) and troughs (low points) of traffic flow
can be seen on roads at particular times of the
day, for example, peaks occurring during the
rush hour before and after work. Most of the
cities in the world have been facing the problem
of congestion.
Think on these lines for a
better tomorrow . . .
URBAN TRANSPORT SOLUTIONS
Higher Parking Fee
Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Improved Public Bus Service
Expressways
Highways
Highways are metalled roads connecting distant
places.  They are constructed in a manner for
unobstructed vehicular movement. As such
these are 80 m wide, with separate traffic lanes,
bridges, flyovers and dual carriageways to
facilitate uninterrupted traffic flow. In developed
countries, every city and port town is linked
through highways.
Fig. 8.3 : Dharmavaram Tuni National Highway,
India
© NCERT
not to be republished
Fundamentals of Human Geography 68
In North America, highway density is high,
about 0.65 km per sq km. Every place is within
20 km distance from a highway. Cities located
on the Pacific coast (west) are well-connected
with those of the Atlantic Coast (east). Likewise,
the cities of Canada in the north are linked with
those of Mexico in the south. The Trans-
Canadian Highway links Vancouver in British
Columbia(west coast) to  St. John’s City in
Newfoundland (east coast) and the Alaskan
Highway links Edmonton (Canada) to
Anchorage (Alaska).
The Pan-American Highway, a large
portion  of which has been constructed, will
connect the countries of South America, Central
America and U.S.A.-Canada. The Trans-
Continental Stuart Highway connects Darwin
(north coast) and Melbourne via Tennant Creek
and Alice Springs in Australia.
Europe has a large number of vehicles and
a well-developed highway network.  But
highways face a lot of competition from railways
and waterways.
In Russia, a dense highway network is
developed in the industrialised region west of
the Urals with Moscow as the hub. The
important Moscow-Vladivostok Highway serves
the region to the east.  Due to the vast
geographical area, highways in Russia are not
as important as railways.
In China, highways criss-cross the country
connecting all major cities such as Tsungtso
(near Vietnam boundary), Shanghai (central
China), Guangzhou (south) and Beijing (north).
A new highway links Chengdu with Lhasa in
Tibet.
In India, there are many highways
linking the major towns and cities. For
example, National Highway No. 7 (NH 7),
connecting Varanasi with Kanya Kumari, is
the longest in the country. The Golden
Quadrilateral (GQ) or Super Expressway is
underway to connect the four metropolitan
cities — New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore,
Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.
In Africa, a highway joins Algiers in the
north to Conakry in Guinea.  Similarly, Cairo
is also connected to Cape Town.
Border  Roads
Roads laid along  international boundaries are
called border roads. They play an important
role in integrating people in remote areas with
major cities and providing defence.  Almost all
countries have such roads to transport goods
to border villages and military camps.
Railways
Railways are a mode of land transport for
bulky goods and passengers over long
distances. The railway gauges vary in different
countries and are roughly classified as broad
(more than 1.5 m), standard  (1.44 m), metre
gauge (1 m) and smaller gauges. The standard
gauge is used in the U.K.
Commuter trains are very popular in U.K.,
U.S.A, Japan and India. These carry millions
of passengers daily to and fro in the city. There
are about 13 lakh km of railways open for traffic
in the world.
Fig. 8.4: Tube Train in Vienna
Table 8.2: Total Length of Railways in Selected
Countries (in 100 sq km)
Sl. Countries For every
No. 100/km
2
 area
1. U.S.A. 278.3
2. Russia 160.8
3. India 144.7
4. Canada 93.5
5. Germany 90.8
6. China 70.1
7. Australia 40.0
8. U.K. 37.9
9. France 34.5
10. Brazil 30.1
Source : Encyclopaedia Britanica – Year Book, 2005.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Transport and Communication     69
Europe has one of the most dense rail
networks in the world. There are about
4,40,000 km of railways, most of which is
double or multiple-tracked. Belgium has the
highest density of 1 km of railway for every 6.5
sq kms area.  The industrial regions exhibit
some of the highest densities in the world. The
important rail heads are London, Paris,
Brussels, Milan, Berlin and Warsaw. Passenger
transport is more important than freight in
many of these countries. Underground railways
are important in London and Paris.  Channel
Tunnel, operated by Euro Tunnel Group
through England, connects London with Paris.
Trans-continental railway lines have now lost
their importance to quicker and more flexible
transport systems of airways and roadways.
In Russia, railways account for about 90
per cent of the country’s total transport with a
very dense network west of the Urals.  Moscow
is the most important rail head with major lines
radiating to different parts of the country’s vast
geographical area.  Underground railways and
commuter trains are also important in Moscow.
North America has one of the most
extensive rail networks accounting for nearly
40 per cent of the world’s total? In contrast to
many European countries, the railways are
used more for long-distance bulky freight like
ores, grains, timber and machinery than for
passengers.  The most dense rail network is
found in the highly industrialised and
urbanised region of East Central U.S.A. and
adjoining Canada.
In Canada, railways are in the public
sector and distributed all over the sparsely
populated areas. The transcontinental railways
carry the bulk of wheat and coal tonnage.
Australia has about 40,000 km of
railways, of which 25 per cent are found in New
South Wales alone. The west-east Australian
National Railway line runs across the country
from Perth to Sydney. New Zealand’s railways
are mainly in the North Island to serve the
farming areas.
In South America, the rail network is the
most dense in two regions, namely, the Pampas
of Argentina and the coffee growing region of
Brazil which together account for 40 per cent
of South America’s total route length.  Only Chile,
among the remaining countries has a
considerable route length linking coastal centres
with the mining sites in the interior. Peru, Bolivia,
Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela have short
single-track rail-lines from ports to the interior
with no inter-connecting links.
There is only one trans-continental rail
route linking Buenos Aires (Argentina) with
Valparaiso  (Chile) across the Andes Mountains
through the Uspallatta Pass located at a height
of 3,900 m.
In Asia, rail network is the most dense in
the thickly populated areas of Japan, China and
India. Other countries have relatively few rail
routes. West Asia is the least developed in rail
facilities because of vast deserts and sparsely
populated regions.
Africa continent, despite being the
second largest, has only 40,000 km of
railways with South Africa  alone accounting
for 18,000 km due to the concentration of
gold, diamond and copper mining activities.
The important routes of the continent are: (i)
the Benguela Railway  through Angola to
Katanga-Zambia Copper Belt; (ii) the Tanzania
Railway from the Zambian Copper Belt to
Dar-es-Salaam on the coast; (iii) the Railway
through Botswana and Zimbabwe linking the
landlocked states to the South African
network; and  (iv) the Blue Train from Cape
Town to Pretoria in the Republic of South
Africa.  Elsewhere, as in Algeria, Senegal,
Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, railway lines
connect port cities to interior centres but do
not form a good network with other countries.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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