Table of Contents
The primary function of the transport system is to facilitate the access between different places for the household and business sectors. In the corporate sector, transportation includes the connection between business to other businesses, companies and their suppliers, and businesses and their customers. On the other hand, the domestic sector transportation offers people a means to access workstations, businesses, learning institutions, community, and social, entertainment, and health amenities. Transportation may be viewed as a vital element of the economy in that it facilitates the movement of goods and services within the nation (New Zealand Government, 2014).
According to Rodrigue et al. (2013), the three basic modes of transport include land-based transportation, air, and water have a key operational and business advantage and characteristics. Nevertheless, the modern-day demand is influenced by the unified system of transport that requires extreme flexibility in the individual utilization of each mode. According to Rodrigue et al., rivalry exists at various levels and takes multiple proportions. The multiple models of competition can compete with one another regarding speed, frequency, comfort, accessibility, and cost among other factors. The various modes of transportation play a crucial role in moving people and commodities from one place to another, and therefore, the transportation industry is highly viable. In order to select the mode of transportation that is more conducive to maintain from an economic point of view, there are multiple factors that one needs to consider (Eberts, 2000).
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Sustainable Mode of Transportation
According to Cervero (2013), sustainability is a vital element in the selection of the most conducive mode of transportation. The urban transportation sector must be pursued, and achieved based on multiple factors, which include environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable mode of transport. From the economic point of view, it is important to consider a mode of transportation that fosters economic sustainability. According to Cervero, a transportation model is considered economically sustainable when the resources and used effectively and distributed to maximize the benefits and reduce the external costs of mobility. Additionally, it is considered economically sustainable when the investments in, and maintenance of the infrastructure and asset can be sustained. Pojani and Stead argue that increased investments in all transportation models promise to aid in boosting economic development in developing and developed countries. Selecting the most conducive mode of transportation can be a challenging considering that all the modes contribute to economic development. It is debatable whether road based or rail-based modes of transportation needs to be emphasized because mobility matters are influenced by both population density, and population size. Out of the three basic modes of transportation, the land-based modes of transportation cover more region as compared to water and air modes of transportation. Out of the land modes of transportation rail, road, and pipeline, road infrastructures cover large areas with the lowermost level of physical restraint among the methods of transport.
Rail as a Conducive Model of Transportation
The road transportation system can be a suitable mode because it has expanded most over the last 50 years both for the transportation of goods and passengers. According to Rodrigue et al., roads have a functional order based on the part they play in the transportation network. From an economic point of view, road transportation facilitates point-to-point services, which plays a significant role in developing the economy. However, road transportation mode has a limited potential to achieve economies of scale. According to Rodrigue et al., this factor is attributed to the fact that the size and weight constraints imposed by the government as well as the economic and technical limits of engines. In most regions, trucks have specific lengths and weights limitations, which are enforced for safety reasons. These reasons suggest that the railway mode of transportation is the most conducive to promoting economic growth. Rodrigue et al., continues to assert that the rail mode of transportation originated from industrial revolution and played a critical part in the economic progress of most western nations. Railway facilitates the movement of bulky industrial goods for long distances, and it has improved travel time to by offering passengers constant and dependable programs that could be involved in the arrangement of profitable activities such as distribution and production.
The railway mode of transportation is the most conducive in that it is defined by a high level of territorial and economic control since most corporations that manage railways are either run as a monopoly or oligopoly. Despite the multiple constraints that limit the efficiency of the rail mode of transportation, railways are conducive because of the ability to haul large quantities of goods and a high number of passengers over long distances as compared to other modes of transport. According to Rodrigue et al., from an economic point of view, the rail mode of transportation is more effecting that the road transportation mode. This is because rail offers high capacity service at a reasonable speed once the passengers have boarded or cars have been assembled. The containerized unit trains facilitate the achievement of economies of scale in that railways carry multiple containers and passengers as opposed to the road where marginal cost have to increase when an additional container has to be transported by an extra vehicle. As compared to the road mode of transportation, the rail mode of transportation is most effective in the sense that freight traffic is dominated by a bulk cargo shipment system especially in the transportation of industrial and agricultural materials. Additionally, as compared to the road mode of transportation, the consumption of energy per unit load in a kilometer is lower when using the rail mode of transportation.
Rail transportation system is the most conducive from an economic point of view because in the modern age rail transportation has been significantly influenced by the advancements in technology, commercial, technical and regulatory changes. According to Rodrigue et al., in the modern age rail transportation has been improved by the innovations relating to the quality of infrastructure especially the quality of their tracks. Better tracks influence operational characteristics such as maintenance and resilience, permitted weight, and speed. The increase in automation and electrification of the rail mode of transportation has significantly improved the efficiency of transportation of commodities and passengers.
The rail mode of transport has a comparative advantage in terms of carrying bulky traffic over long distances. For instance, a cargo train with ten cars can transport as consignment as 500 trucks (Rodrigue et al., 2013). In addition to the emphasis on reliability and safety of rail transportation, the mode favors the fast and reliable traveling of suburban residents during peak hours and has become a key mode of supporting the movement of passengers in large cities. The other factor that contributes to the efficiency of the rail mode of transportation is the emergence of electric trains that utilize high-speed railway networks. This new mode of rail transportation is efficient in the sense that it ensure fast movement of passengers and freight and over-average distances, they have proved to compete with air transportation.
In conclusion, it is evident that the multiple models of transportation play a critical role in the transportation of goods and people from one region to another. Some of the modes of transportation such as road transportation are limited by factors such as weight and length, which in turn restricts the potential to achieve economies of scale. On the other hand, the rail mode of transportation can be viewed as the most conducive from an economic point of view because it fosters fast and reliable transportation of goods and passengers. Most importantly, trains facilitate the achievement of economies of scale due to the transportation of large quantities of goods in the containerized unit trains.
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- Cervero, R. (2013). Transport infrastructure and the environment: Sustainable mobility and urbanism. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
- Eberts, R. (2000, January). Understanding the impact of transportation on economic development. In Transportation Research Board Conference, Transportation in the New Millennium (Vol. 30, p. 2000).
- New Zealand Government. (2014). Contribution of transport to economic development: International literature review with New Zealand perspectives.
- Pojani, D., & Stead, D. (2015). Sustainable urban transport in the developing world: beyond megacities. Sustainability, 7(6), 7784-7805.
- Rodrigue, J. P., Comtois, C., & Slack, B. (2013). The geography of transport systems. Routledge.