Chapter : 10

What Are Transport And Communication ?

  • Transport, communication and trade helps to connect producing centres and markets.
  • Transportation system in a country functions like arteries in our body.
  • These modes of transportation not only help in promoting the economic development but also helps to unite the nation by connecting the remote areas to its hinterland.
  • Different modes of transportation like Land, Water and Air have their own functionalities. Like roadways are preferred for shorter distances and door to door service whereas airways and waterways are significant modes for faster travel and international movement of goods respectively.
  • Land transportation has come a long way from using humans and animals as a load carrier to modern modes like railways, pipelines, ropeways and cableways.
  • Steam railway engines were the milestone achievement in rail transportation first functioned in 1825 between Stockton and Darlington in northern England.
  • These modes are cheaper, can reach in remote and adverse terrain comparing with e human porter, pack animal, cart or wagons.
  • Road transportation is a feeder mode of transportation and the construction cost is very low comparing with other modes of transportation.
  • The quality of roads is not uniform throughout. World class roads are found in developed nations like Germany but in developing nations like India, Sri Lanka roads have pot holes, insufficient capacity, poor sidewalks, unlimited crossings and a lack of road equipment and safety measures.
  • The length of road per sq km area is called as Road Density. The highest road density is in North America. It also accounts for 33% of total road length (about 15 million km) of the world.
  • Road Traffic confections are directly linked with the population. Higher is the population of a place higher would be the traffic congestions during peak hours. For E.g., Metropolitan Cities.
  • Highways are the important mode to connect the major cities faster. Highways are generally four or six lane roads to decongest the traffic.
  • The best example of highways is from North America. Cities located on the Pacific coast (west) are wellconnected with those of the Atlantic Coast (east). 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 Australian Trans Continental Stuart Highway connects Darwin (north coast) and Melbourne via Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
  • In Europe railways and Airways are preferred over roadways.
  • Russia covers a huge geographically unfavourable land, which makes roadways unpopular. Highways are efficient in western industrial part. The best Russian highway is Moscow-Vladivostok Highway and it connects western and eastern extent of Russia.
  • China too has high density of roads with highways connecting its extreme areas. The recent highway connects its mainland with Lhasa in Tibet.
  • In India roads are categorised on the basis of their priority into Quadrilateral (GQ) or Super Expressway, Corridor Roads, State Highways, Local Roads, Boarder Roads etc. National Highway No. 7 (NH 7), connecting Varanasi with Kanya Kumari, is the longest in the country.
  • In Africa, a highway joins Algiers in the north to Conakry in Guinea. Similarly, Cairo is also connected to Cape Town.
  • Boarder roads are strategically very important for a county in case of any conflict with neighbouring country. These roads help to provide supplies in no time to border villages, military camps and sensitive zones.

• The railways function on different gauges:

Track Type Width
Broad Gauge More than 1.5 m
Standard Gauge 1.44 m
Metre Gauge 1 m
Smaller/Narrow gauges Less than 1 m
  • In all the parts of the world railways, railways are efficient to move cargo and passenger over long inland distances.
  • Europe has one of the densest rail networks in the world. In which Belgium ranks first. The other most popular railway centers are London, Paris, Brussels, Milan, Berlin and Warsaw.
  • The underground railways or tubes are highly efficient in London, Paris, Brussels, Milan, London and Paris. These two megapolitan cities are also connected through Channel Tunnel, operated by Euro Tunnel Group.
  • In Russia, railways are the prime mode of transportation, carries about 90 per cent of the country’s total transport. Moscow and St. Petersburg being highly industrial towns radiates railway link to different parts.
  • Railways boost the industrial development of North America and is densely concentrated in industrialised and urbanised region of East Central U.S.A. and adjoining Canada. Unlike other USA, railways are publicly owned. For e.g. The transcontinental railways
  • The transcontinental railways is the prime railway connects Perth to Sydney in Australia. The country has around 40,000 km of railways, of which 25 per cent are found in New South Wales alone.
  • The physiographic division of South America does not support railway connectivity except the Pampas of Argentina and the coffee growing region of Brazil. This region account for 40 per cent of South America’s total route length.
  • The major railway connection is 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.
  • Railways in Asia are common in densely population countries like Japan, China and India.
  • In Africa, major railway lines are feed gold, diamond and copper mining activities.
  • The important railway routes of South African continent are:
  • a) The Benguela Railway through Angola to Katanga-Zambia Copper Belt
  • b) The Tanzania Railway from the Zambian Copper Belt to Dar-es-Salaam on the coast
  • c) The Railway through Botswana and Zimbabwe linking the landlocked states to the South African network
  • d) The Railway through Botswana and Zimbabwe linking the landlocked states to the South African network
  • Trans Continental Railways connect run through the continent and connect the extreme points for integrity, economic and political stability. The important Trans-Continental Rail Routes are:
  • a) Trans–Siberian Railway: It is the most important route in Asia and the longest (9,332 km) double-tracked and electrified trans– continental railway in the world. This connects St. Petersburg in the west to Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast in the east passing through Moscow, Ufa, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Chita and Khabarovsk.
  • b) Trans–Canadian Railways: This 7,050 km long rail-line in Canada runs from Halifax in the east to Vancouver on the Pacific Coast passing through Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary. This line is the economic artery of Canada. Gradually this rail line got the economic popularity because it links Quebec-Montreal Industrial Region with the wheat belt of the Prairie Region and the Coniferous Forest region in the north.
  • c) The Union and Pacific Railway: This rail-line connects New York on the Atlantic Coast to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast passing through Cleveland, Chicago, Omaha, Evans, Ogden and Sacramento. This route has high commercial value because it exports on this route are ores, grain, paper, chemicals and machinery.
  • d) The Australian Trans–Continental Railway: This railway line connects Perth in Western Australia to Sydney in New South Wales.
  • e) The Orient Express: This line runs from Paris to Istanbul passing through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade. This route has reduced the journey time from 10 days to 96 hours and boos the trade of This line runs from Paris to Istanbul passing through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade.
  • Moreover, there is a a plan to connect Istanbul with Bangkok via Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar and called this project as Trans–Asiatic Railway.
  • Water transport is the cheapest to carry cargo since it doesn’t require to built a route, wear and tear loss is less; and energy cost too is lowest.
  • It is gaining popularity for overseas transportation of cargo because of the recent development like more carrying capacity of ships, installation of radars, improved refrigeration system and use of containers.
  • Keeping in mind the importance of sea routes, the busiest in handling foreign trade is The Northern Atlantic Sea Route or the Big Trunk Route. It links north eastern USA with North Western Europe.
  • The Mediterranean–Indian Ocean Sea Route via Port Said, Aden, Mumbai, Colombo and Singapore have the highest coverage in terms of countries and people. The opening of Suez Canal saves times, energy and money.
  • The Cape of Good Hope Sea route has high importance because it connects industrial western Europe, mineral rich western Africa, industrial South East Asia and agrarian Oceania.
  • The Southern Atlantic Sea Route which connects Eastern South America countries with Western Africa and Europe is not one of the busiest routes. Because This region hasn’t much populated and specialised in similar products.
  • The North Pacific Sea Route links the ports on the westcoast of North America with those of Asia. The major ports of this route are Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles on the American side and Yokohama, Kobe, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore on the Asian side. The direct route on the Great
    Circle links Vancouver and Yokohama and reduces the travelling distance (2,480 km) by half
  • The South Pacific Sea Route Sea route connects Western Europe and North America with Australia, New Zealand and the scattered Pacific islands via the Panama Canal.
  • A canal connects two water bodies which allows boats and ships to pass. Suez Canal and Panama Canal are two artificial which serve as gateways of commerce for both the eastern and western worlds.
  • The Suez Canal constructed in 1869 in Egypt between Port Said in the north and Port Suez in the south linking the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
  • This canal successfully reduces the shipping distance between Europe and South Asia by approx. 7000 kms. Roughly 100  ships pass through Suez Canal which is about 160 km and 11 to 15 m deep
  • Panama Canal in Isthmus of Panama between Panama City and Colon. This benefits the US most since it reduced the distance between New York and San Francisco by 13,000 km by sea.
  • Inland waterway is a mode of water transportation transport for cargo and passengers within a nation. Rivers, canals, lakes and coastal areas are major examples of inland waterways.
  • The success of inland waterway depends upon navigability (width and depth) of a water body, water flow, transport technology and amount of siltation.
  • Rivers and canal are regularly dredged, dams and barrages control water flow and river banks are stabilised for enhancing their navigability.
  • River Rhine is the longest river of Germany and also flows in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, France and Netherlands. This river is navigable for around 700 kms.
  • It is the world’s most heavily used waterway which gives way to more than 20,000 ocean-going ships and 2,00,000 inland vessels.
  • The Danube River passes through 10 countries of Central and South eastern Europe with total length of around 2900 kms. Primarily wheat, maize, timber, and machinery are traded through Danube Waterway.
  • The Volga is the longest river in Europe. Situated in Russia, it flows through Central Russia to Southern Russia and drains into the Caspian Sea with total navigability of around 1100O kms.
  • The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway is a deep draft waterway extending 3,700 km from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes, in the heart of North America.
  • The major port of the sea ways are Port Duluth and Port Buffalo.
  • The Mississippi-Ohio waterway connects the interior part of U.S.A. with the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Large steamers can go through this route up to Minneapolis.
  • Air transport has overcome all other modes of transportation in term of speed and accessibility to remote or harsh terrains like Himalayas. Moreover, now fighter planes play a vital role in defence forces of any nation.
  • The Manufacturing and operation cost of air crafts is too high. But this enables the connectivity to the nook and corner of the planet.
  • Countries like US, UK, France, Russia and China dominated the world in term of defence system in which their air defence plays a crucial role.
  • Northern Hemisphere dominates the inter-continental air route in comparison with southern hemisphere because it is more prosperous and populous. Western America, Europe and South Asia dominates in air traffic.
  • New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt Rome, Moscow, Karachi, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago are the nodal points where air routes converge or radiate to all continents.

Pipelines are used to transport water, petroleum, natural gas and liquified coal etc.

  • Big Inch in USA is a 24-inch pipeline for crude oi that runs from Texas to Illinois. Pipelines are common to transport crude oil from oil wells or ports to refineries in other parts of the world.
  • An international pipeline runs from Turkmenistan to Iran and China.
  • Mankind has taken a big leap in term of communication development. Communication has brough the world together specially in western countries.
  • The American Telegraph and Telephone Company (AT&T) was the only service provider in USA until mid-twentieth century.
  • The future of communication lies in optic fibre cables (OFC).
  • Satellite communication has diverse functionalities like it helps not only for communication purpose but through artificial satellites space programmes, defence mechanism and weather prediction.
  • India’s long historical development in space programmes include Aryabhata on 19 April 1979, Bhaskar-I in 1979, Rohini in 1980, APPLE on 18 June 1981, Bhaskar, Challenger, INSAT I-B.
  • Internet has become part and parcel of our lives. It has changed the style of working in all spheres.
  • Internet users in this entire world has multiplied by times from late 20th century to second decade of 21st century.
  • With the advancement and new users added in cyberspace, new spheres like e-mail, e-commerce, e-learning and e-governance has opened up and transformed the world into a Global village.