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Analyzing the Transportation ModesResearch Paper

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Transportation Modes

Water Transportation


Low Cost Operation











Pipeline Transport



This research paper lays emphasis on the merits and demerits of the different modes of transport (motor, water, rail, air, pipeline) with the impact they have on the economic development of the society. Geographers look at different modes that could be grouped into 3 different transport categories based on their medium of exploit such as air, water, and land. Each of the transport modes has its unique features and requirements, and gets adapted for the service of the particular demands of passenger and freight traffic. (Rodrigue, 2016) It is essential to put an adequately structured transport system they carry goods around the market. This will enable the creation of place utility by extending the borders where businesses can ship goods. Increasing these geographic markets will enable businesses to reach more customers and generate greater demands (Coyle, 2006)

Apart from the creation of state utility, value is also added to products by allowing them reach customers on time. This is most valuable to time-sensitive products, such as seasonable items and perishable goods. Proper transportation infrastructure will ensure that the items arrive not only at the desired location on time, but also that their quantity will meet the demand. Every good transportation system makes sure that the required amount of the goods is available and gets to the hands of the right client. With improved transportation management system, businesses are able to produce larger amounts of products since the capability and demands exist for producing larger quantities enabling economies of scale. As the goods get to more customers, there is a rise in demand and thereby, competition, and a fall in prices-this results in higher availability of the product inevitably and an increased need for the improvement of the transportation systems in order to keep up with the growing pace of customer demands (Coyle, 2006).

People's mobility, information and freight is of a fundamental value to the social and economic activities of the people such as manufacturing, commuting, distribution of consumption goods, or energy supply. (Rodrigue, 2016).


2.1 Water Transportation

Water transportation remains the most affordable and oldest mode of transport. Its operation is in the form of a natural track that rules out the need for a huge investment for constructing and maintaining its tracks, except for canals. Its role in bringing together different parts of the world is quite significant and its contribution to the growth of foreign trade is indispensable.

2.1.1 Advantages:

Low Cost Operation:

Waterways are natural highways; no construction and maintenance is required. Even the construction and maintenance cost for the canals is far less or are utilized, not just for the purposes of transportation but for irrigation purpose also, amongst other uses. Therefore, it remains the cheapest transport mode for conveying goods from one location to the other.

Larger Capacity:

It is capable of conveying much bigger quantities of bulky and heavy goods such as timber, coal, trucks, etc.

Flexibility of Service:

It offers a far more flexible transport service than the railway system and can get adjusted to suit specific needs.


The possibility of breakdowns and accidents, in water transport mode, are quite minimal when compared to the other forms of transportation.

2.1.2 Disadvantages:


The pace at which Inland water transportation moves is quite slow which makes this transport mode unsuitable for time-sensitive journeys.

Limited Operation Area:

It can only be used in limited areas served by deep rivers and canals.

Seasonal Character:

Canals and rivers are not suitable for transportation purposes all through the year because water may get frozen during the winter or the water levels may diminish during the summer.


Transportation by inland water is not reliable. The river changes its course sometimes that can cause some form of disruption in the normal trade route.

Not Suitable for Growing Businesses:

Inland water mode of transport through canals and rivers does not support small and growing businesses, because it requires longer periods of time for the goods to get transported from one location to another through this transport mode.


One of the oldest forms of very organized, surface, mass transport is rail transport. It is most suitable for the movement of large goods over long distances. Rail transport utilizes locomotives and some several coaches running on two separate metal rails. The strength and build of the tracks determine the speed and goods conveying capacity of the locomotives and coaches.

2.2.1 Advantages

It is not as expensive as the air and road means of transporting goods. It is most suitable for conveying both small packets and bulky goods over very long distances. It is much safer than air or road transport.

2.2.2 Disadvantage

Road transport is much slower than the air and road transport systems. Unlike in the case of road transport, the road tracks are inflexible because the rail tracks are fixed tracks. It is impossible for railways to deliver the goods they convey to the factories directly. So for door-to-door or direct delivery of goods, they need additional support of road transportation. The initial (capital) and operational cost for road transportation is quite high, its maintenance very expensive. The costs even become higher for conveying goods over difficult tracks such as swampy regions and mountainous terrain (Jahaya, 2015)


Road transport comprises of the movement of people and goods by motor cars, buses, trucks, tricycles, motor cycles, and even bicycles. It remains the most widely used mode of transport. Roads are of different types and their classification is based on the quality of the roads. What determines the road quality are type of surface, the width of the road, number of lanes on the road, and available facilities.

2.3.1 Advantages

Road transport is far more economical than the water or rail transport modes for both medium and short distances. Road transport link far more destinations types than other means of transportation. In terms of timing and service, road transport is more flexible when compared to other modes of transport. It requires no special terminals such as airports, sea ports, and railway stations. It is suitable for both door-to-door and direct delivery of goods and services. It is much easier and cheaper to construct roads than constructing railways.

2.3.2 Disadvantages

Roads require constant maintenance. It is unsuitable for conveying bulky goods such as ores and coal, minerals and goods required in bulk. Road transport often experience congestions, especially in developed urban centres and in their vicinity. Road transport record more accidents than all other forms of transport.

Its impact on the landscape is greater-landscaping, deforestation, erosions along the highways, etc. (Jahaya, 2015)


The impact of the air industry is quite substantial economically, both with regards to its own activities and as a precursor for the other industries. Some of its pronounced contributions are induced, direct and indirect impacts, all of which are related to the overall revenue of the aviation industry (Air Transport Action Group, 2015)

2.4.1 Advantages:

High Speed:

The main advantage of the air mode of transport is the speed at which it transports both goods and humans over long distances. It is the fastest known transport mode and therefore, where time is an important factor, it remains the most preferred transport mode.

Quick and Comfortable Services:

It offers a comfortable, quick, regular and efficient transport services.

No Physical Barriers:

Its route is short and direct without any barriers from mountains, seas or forests hindering air transport.

Easy Access:

Air transport is used for conveying both people and goods to areas that are not easily accessible by all other modes of transport.

Emergency Services:

It remains operational even when every other transport mode cannot be operated as a result of natural disasters floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. Therefore, at such times, it is the only transport means for conveying relief workers and materials to people affected by natural disasters.

2.4.2 Disadvantages:

Despite the numerous advantages of air mode of transport, it has the following disadvantages:

Very expensive:

It is still the most expensive transport mode known to man today. The air transport fares are so high that it is unaffordable for many.

Small Carrying Capacity:

It has a very restricted carrying capacity which makes it unsuitable for conveying inexpensive and large goods.

Unreliable and Uncertain:

Air transport mode is both uncertain and unreliable because largely, it is influenced by the prevailing weather conditions at any time. Unfavourable weather conditions such as snow, fog or heavy rain etc. may lead to the cancellation of already scheduled flights and the suspension of air services.

Breakdowns and Accidents:

The risks of accidents and breakdowns are quite high when compared to other transport modes. Therefore, it involves a reasonably higher risk.

Large Investment:

A sizable amount of capital is required for constructing and maintaining the aircrafts and its operational infrastructure. Additionally, very skilled and trained personnel are required… [END OF PREVIEW]

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