These are the means that enable people and passengers to achieve mobility. Three are three modes of transport: Road, Water and Air and are classified based on the surface used for travel
This is the movement of people and goods on land. Three modes of road transport exist; Road, Railway and Pipeline transport
Advantages of Road Transport
Road transport has numerous merits that make people widely prefer it. It has less capital outlay since the cost of constructing and maintaining it is cheaper as compared to that of a railway. Also, it offers door to door services thus reducing cartage, loading and unloading expenses. Road transport reaches rural areas hence suitable for carrying people and goods from rural areas that are not serviced by other forms of transportation. Its wide network enables business people to establish ventures across regions thus making it the reliable mode of transport in raising the highest revenue for every nation (Storeygard, 2016, p.1281).
Its routes and timings can be adjusted depending on the prevailing economic, social and political conditions making it a flexible mode of transport. Lastly, road transport is cost-effective in terms of transport charges.
Disadvantages of Road Transport
In spite of the several merits, road transport has a number of limitations that make it ineffective in meeting the goals of the travelers. It is seasonal since it is affected by unfavorable climatic conditions such as rains that render it unfit for use. Most roads especially in rural areas and when this state is coupled with careless driving, it subjects this mode of transport to numerous breakdowns and accidents. This mode of transportation is slow due to the poor state of roads in developing countries as well as traffic congestions in major towns and cities. Lastly, it is unsuitable and costly for transporting cheap and bulky commodities over long distances.
Advantages of Railway Transport
Railway transport offers a number of benefits that make it favorable to a number of travelers. It is reliable since it is not affected by unfavorable weather conditions such as floods and fog.
Also, trains are spacious to accommodate bulky commodities. This makes it economical since people and goods are all transported at the same time.
Furthermore, it is cost effective since most of its expenses are in nature of fixed costs making users pay less traveling costs.
It provides numerous job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled labor. Railway sector employs an approximated 37.9 million people across the globe (Hensher, Ellison & Mulley, 2014, p.476).
Railway transport is safe since it is free from frequent accidents and break downs as experienced in other modes.
Lastly, the carrying capacity of railways is relatively large. Moreover, its capacity is elastic and can easily be increased by adding more wagons. This makes it capable of carrying more people and goods per trip.
Disadvantages Railway Transport
Although this mode of transport has many merits, it suffers from a number of limitations: It requires significant capital investment in construction, maintenance, and overhead costs. This means that the wastage of huge resources will be realized in case it does not meet the profitability targets. Also, it has fixed schedules in terms of timings and routes; hence adjustments cannot be made to meet travelers’ requirements. It lacks door to door services making users to incur extra costs such as transport of goods from railway terminus to their destinations.
The high cost of managing railways may give rise to monopolies working against the interests of the public. The absence of competition may make the management to offer poor quality services to the users as well as charging them high traveling costs.
This mode of transportation involves the use of hollow pipes in the transportation of water, crude oil, (petroleum) and gas.
Advantages of Pipeline Transport
The pipeline has a number of benefits: It requires minimal labor thus saving cost incurred in its operations. Secondly, it allows for a continuous flow of commodities being transported since there are no congestion disruptions as experienced in road transport. This leads to a timely delivery of goods. It is environmentally friendly since it neither produces smoke nor noise. Moreover, this mode of transportation is reliable since it is not affected by unfavorable weather conditions such as heavy rains. Lastly, it overcomes the physical conditions on land since it is constructed on all types of terrain.
Disadvantages of Pipeline Transport
Pipeline transport has several limitations: Initial construction cost is high especially in places where land is full of rocks. Secondly, it has limited use since it can only transport one commodity at a time in a one-way direction. Thirdly, leakage of the pipes can lead to significant loss and environmental pollution especially when not detected in time. Lastly, it is rigid in operation hence cannot be adjusted to meet user requirements.
It involves the use of water bodies in transporting people and goods.
Advantages of Water Transport
Water bodies are natural highways and do not require construction or maintenance costs making them cheaper for use. Also, it has a large capacity that enables it to carry heavy and bulky goods thus making them efficient for use by business people shipping bulky commodities. Furthermore, this transport mode can be adjusted to fit user requirements since they do not follow a fixed route and schedule. Lastly, it is a safe mode of transport since risks of accidents and breakdowns are minimal when compared to other forms of transportation. Recent studies conducted on accidents experienced in water bodies reveal that water transport accidents occur at an approximated rate of 2 accidents for every 3 to 5 years.
Disadvantages of Water Transport
Water transport has a number of limitations in spite of its numerous benefits. The speed of water vessels is very slow rendering this mode of transportation unsuitable for transporting commodities with short shelf life as well as people whose travel depends on the time factor.
The mode has limited coverage since it is only applicable to places with water bodies Moreover; it is affected by weather patterns since water bodies may freeze during winter seasons or water table going very low during summer. Such seasons cannot allow the use of water bodies.
It is the mobility of people and commodities by air vessels.
Advantages of Air Transport
It is the fastest means of transport. This gives them a competitive advantage of transporting perishable commodities and passengers who need urgent travel.
Also, it is not affected by physical features and weather patterns making it reliable. Also, it has a fixed route and schedule making it reliable to consumers who are on urgent travel. Furthermore, it has strategic importance as it links many nations thus creating an avenue for international trade. Air transport is useful during calamities such as floods and earthquake since it is used to access areas which are inaccessible by other forms of transportation.
Disadvantages of Air Transport
Air transport has a number of demerits. It requires high operational costs in maintaining airports and aero planes making it costly for passengers who in all cases are forced to pay high costs for travel. Secondly, air transport is prone to accidents which in most cases are fatal. According to Belkoura, Pena & Zanin (2017, p.9), pilots need to be very attentive and careful in preventing small mistakes which could be very dangerous for passengers. Alternatively, hijacking of planes is easily possible. Thirdly, this mode of transport requires enormous investments in creating aviation facilities, purchase of aero planes, and installation of aerodromes as well as control towers.
Factors Affecting Choice of Transport Mode
Several factors will affect the making of strategic decisions on the mode of transport to be used. Firstly, the nature of goods has a significant influence on decisions to be made. Items which are heavy and bulky and irregularly shaped will always require water transport for their transportation. Secondly, to avoid the complications that come with logistic procedures, one should select a mode that is simple in booking and clearance of goods in their last terminal. Thirdly, some commodities are perishable and require a faster mode of transport. Such products will need the owner to select a mode that is fast most preferably air transport. Lastly, the price of transportation should be considered when transporting commodities. The cost should meet the value of the goods to be carried.
Belkoura, S., Pena, J. M., & Zanin, M. (2017). Beyond linear delay multipliers in air transport. Journal of Advanced Transportation, 2017, 1-11. doi:10.1155/2017/8139215
Hensher, D. A., Ellison, R. B., & Mulley, C. (2014). Assessing the employment agglomeration and social accessibility impacts of high-speed rail in eastern Australia. Transportation, 41(3), 463-493. Doi: 10.1007/s11116-013-9480-7
Storeygard, A. (2016). Farther on down the road: Transport costs, trade and urban growth in sub- Saharan Africa. The Review of Economic Studies, 83(3), 1263-1295. doi:10.1093/restud/rdw020