Mode of transport is a term used to distinguish between different ways of transportation or transporting people or goods. The different modes of transport are air, water, and land transport, which includes Rails or railways, road and off-road transport. Other modes also exist, including pipelines, cable transport, and space transport. Human-powered transport and animal-powered transport are sometimes regarded as their own mode, but never fall into the other categories. In general, transportation is used for moving of people, animals, and other goods from one place to another. Means of transport, on the other hand, refers to the transport facilities used to carry people or cargo according to the chosen mode (animal, vehicle, car, airplane, ship, truck, train and so on and so forth). Each mode of transport has a fundamentally different technological solution, and some require a separate environment. Each mode has its own infrastructure, vehicles, transport operators and operations.
The earliest roads were mere path of mud hardened by regular use. But now, we have paved (Pucca) roads and unpaved (Kachcha) roads. Paved roads are found in towns and cities. unpaved roads are found in villages.
In some countries, roads are very broad, straight and metalled. Such roads are called highways, expressways or freeways. These roads have been divided into two parts : one part is meant for vehicles moving in only one direction and the other part is meant for vehicles moving at different speeds. These highways do not have sharp bends, crossroads, round about and bypass towns on the way. Thus, vehicles move very fast on these roads.
Some famous highways in the world are the Pan-American Highway (USA), the Trans-Canadian Highway (Canada), the Burma-China Road, the Australian Trans-continental Highway, the Autobans (Germany) and the Autostrades (Italy).
India also has a good network of roads. The longest road in India is the Sher Shah Suri Marg (formerly called Grand Trunk Road). It connects Kolkata in the east with Peshawar (Pakistan) in the west. It further goes to Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass. This road was built by Sher Shah Suri.
Some roads connect India with the neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, China, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The Bharat-Tibet Road connects Shimla with Lhasa, The capital of Tibet.
The first highway in India was built between Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Now, we have many highways and expressways in different parts of the country. India has launched a big project called the Golden Quadrilateral, which will connect Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai-via roads.
The longest highway in India is NH-7, which connects Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. The increasing road traffic has created many problems. Two of them are air pollution and road accidents. Air pollution is a great danger both for plants and animals. It causes various diseases like bronchitis and lung cancer. Road accidents occur due to negligence of traffic rules and rash driving.
Railways were introduced in India in 1853 by the British. The first train in India ran between Thane to Mumbai. It was just a 34 kilometre long track. Today, India has the fourth largest network of railways in the world- running about 70,000 kilometres. For – smooth functioning, the Indian railway network has been divided into many zones. Delhi and Kolkata have an underground railway system called metro. Recently, monorail has been launched in Mumbai.
Railway network is very well developed in Europe and North America. The Grand Orient Express runs from Paris in France to Istanbul in Turkey. It passes through many countries.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest railway line in the world. It runs between St. Petersberg in Europe to Vladivostok, in Asia. It covers a distance of about 9,500 km. Trains in Japan, France and Germany run at speed of more than 400 kilometers per hour. The Bullet train of Japan is considered better than the aeroplane to travel within the country. Similarly, TGV, a French train, runs at an amazing speed of 460 kilometres per hour. Recently it has made a world record with an amazing speed of 587 km/h. This is the fastest train in the world.
Some of India’s fast trains are the Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Taj Express and Pink City Express. To attract foreign tourists, the Indian railways have introduced many heritage trains. The Palace on Wheels and Deccan Queen are such trains.
The early man used rafts and boats to carry goods from one place to another. The invention of the steam engine brought about a revolution in water transport. Water transport is the cheapest and also the slowest means of transport. It needs no money to construct and maintain the paths like roads and rail tracks.
Ships are used to carry bulky goods, such as, coal, petroleum and heavy machines. Now even perishable goods like meat, fish and dairy products are transported across the oceans through refrigerated ships. Petroleum is carried by special ships called tankers.
The major sea routes of the world are the North Atlantic Route, the Cape of Good Hope Route, the Mediterranean-Suez-Asiatic Route and the Panama Canal-Central American Route.
The North Atlantic Route is the busiest sea route in the world.
To make water transport easier and less time consuming, canals have been constructed in many parts of the world. The Suez Canal and Panama Canal have greatly increased the usefulness of sea routes.
THE PANAMA CANAL
The Panama Canal links the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean. It was opened in 1914. The ships from Europe now go to Australia through this canal. Earlier, they had to go via Cape Horn (the southernmost tip of South America). This route took a very long time Now, it takes just 8 hours to reach the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean. The Panama Canal takes over 400 million tonnes of shipping a year-more than any other canal. In India, the rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra are navigable. The lagoons of Kerala are also used for water transport. India has long coastline. There are 11 major ports in India Kandla, Mumbai, Mangalore, Marmagao, Kochi, Chennai, Paradip, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata are some of the major ports. Mumbai is the biggest and busiest seaport of India.
Aeroplanes are the fastest means of Transport. They are very useful for perishable goods such as medicines, meat, fish and flowers.
Modern big planes can carry as many as four hundred passengers. They can fly at great speed, therefore, covering long distances in less time. The supersonic jets can travel faster than the speed of sound.
Aeroplanes need good airports to land and take off. All the big cities in the world have big international airports. The popular airports of the world are Heathrow in London, Kennedy in New York, and De Gaulle in Paris. The busiest airport in the world is the Heathrow Airport, London. In India, all major cities have international airports. Some of the international als airports in India are Indira Gandhi Airport in New dia Delhi; Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport in Kolkata ; Anna Airport in Chennai; Sri Guru Ram Das Jee Airport in Amritsar.