It is a practice amongst us to look at the information displayed at the bus and the railway stations. Normally, in the display are the route
numbers, the time table for trips and the maps showing the routes and their distances. Such information display provides us with knowledge of the transport network of the region. Transport often operates between the demand and supply points. Transport development of an area depends very much on the social, economic and political infrastructures.
Transport Network. That pattern of roads or rail lines or any routes which facilitates travel, movement and information exchange besides connecting several places with one another is generally referred to as a 'transport network'. In the network, the nodes and the edges (lines, routes) are fundamental.
1. The Junctions the origin.
2. Routes Connections.
3. The Junctions the destination.
These may be generally referred to as nodes and routes .
The transport network differs with different modes. Some transport networks (road and rail) can be seen and understood as such. For example, the network of roads, railways, communication links such as the post offices and the telephone exchanges may be seen and understood as regards their functions. Sea and air transport besides sound and light have specified routes, even if they cannot be seen completely. Depending upon the nature of the network, the national and international transport and exchange will occur.
Transport may be divided into three essential types. They are: passenger transport, commodity or cargo transport and information exchange.
Passenger Transport: People travel between places in accordance with their needs. Travel distance, time and mode change in tune with the demand. Particularly, a large number of people use the roads and railways commensurate with their needs.
Road Travel: Transport developments occur towards meeting their demand for travel on a day to day basis. To avoid heavy traffic, multiway transport, ring roads, expressways and freeways have been constructed. In places such as Madras, multi level routes have been laid to avoid traffic jams. Flyovers have been constructed to reach one level from another. Anna (Gemini) Flyover at Chennai is an example. There are such flyovers in cities like Tirunelveli, Tiruchirappalli, Coimbatore and Salem in Tamil Nadu. Besides these, there are ring roads around most cities, alternate routes and bypasses in all of them. xHundred Feet Roadsx are a concept being implemented too. There are immense road (automobile) transport networks in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France.
The most important motorway in the United Kingdom is M25. This is laid around the city of London. With this, the centre of London which has heavy traffic all the time is avoided. It is estimated that travel time decreases by about 60 per cent for certain vital locations in London, primarily due to M25. This route connects the three important airports in the United Kingdom (Heathrow, Gadwick and Standstead). Likewise, there are several expressways connecting the European countries. Particularly, along the border between Italy and France, a tunnel for 15 km has been made to facilitate road transport.
Train Travel: Like the roads, the railways play a vital role in passenger transport. The railways have fast passenger and high speed trains, catering to the needs of the people. There are special and permanent trains, which are faster, between some towns or cities. The Vaigai and the Pandian Expresses between Chennai and Madurai and the Satabhthi between Chennai and Mysore are examples of fast and comfortable trains between these cities. There are some trains which operate between 36 and 50 hours and thus are long distance trains. The trains from Chennai to Mumbai and Chennai to Delhi are those that belong to this category.
The recent development in the rail traffic is the opening of the 'sea tunnel ways'. The best example is the one between London and Paris beneath the English Channel, running for 40 km. This tunnel way, in fact, functions in three tunnels and not just one. In one, the trains are run at 300 km/hour while in the second there is the transport of vehicles crossing the channel. The third is the service tunnel for both. This rail transport began in 1994. This 'beneath the sea rail transport' is also an example of human ingenuity and technology. In the cities and mega cities, the railways offer yeomen services to the people. Metro rail transports are either trams services or electrical locomotive units. Trams are still in vogue in Kolkata. They are operating in cities like Toronto of Canada, too. They supplement the road transport. In most cities of India, the suburban railways connect the city centres with the suburban areas. In Chennai alone, the suburban trains carry as many as 2 million passengers a day. It is estimated that in a few years it would touch 3 million.
Air Travel: To travel long distances in short travel times, aircrafts are used. There are planes which could travel at the speed of 6,000 km per hour. There are 'air buses' and 'jumbo jets' which are carriers of a large number of people. They are ushered into certain special services for their versatility. They are being used in the transport of armies and medical supplies and experts to distant areas. They are useful in any kind of landscapes.
The airline traffic connects areas inaccessible to land (road and rail) transport. Aircrafts help in reaching such areas as the Amazon forests and the distant islands of Andamans and Nicobar. The very heavy air traffic in the world is that between the city of New York and Los Angeles. There is also heavy passenger traffic in the route of New York London Paris. In the same way, there is heavy passenger traffic between India and the Gulf countries, Singapore and Malaysia.
In recent times, there has been a change in the way people travel by air, with the introduction of cheap air travel. While there has been a competition among the international airlines, it has also resulted in prices being cut drastically by some airlines to improve their performance. Some new airlines have sprung up offering 'rock bottom' prices for air travel, while slashing down on services, which now need to be bought. The new, cheap airlines do not for example hospitality services as part of the ticket fare but rather demand such services be paid for by the passengers making the travel by airlines.
Sea Travel: Some years in the past, there was little sea traffic. Yet, the long distance travel had to be done only through the sea. Only after the advent of the air traffic as a result of technological development along the way, the sea traffic of passengers has come down drastically. There are still some sea traffic, for recreation and relaxation by the rich individuals.
The ships involved in sea traffic have their importance determined by their volume and the structures. They are in effect floating hotels. There are swimming pools, dance halls and special rooms with high amenities and services. While there are ships that could carry as many as 2,000 passengers, there are also ferries and boats/yachts which could carry only a few passengers. Ships that travel at a speed of 50 km/hour to 100 km/hour are in use. As of today, most sea travel is for recreation and tourism. In North America and the island rich European continent, sea travel accounts still for large bulk of the passenger traffic. Otherwise, only the freight traffic and the cargo carriers are the most important of the sea traffic.
The Cargo Traffic: The commodity transport is dependent upon the world trade. The carriers differ with the size of cargoes, their weight and their volume. The light and perishable commodities are transported through the airways. For example, the jasmine flowers harvested in the districts of Erode and Dharmapuri are transported by the trucks to the nearby Bangalore. The flowers are then sent to the Gulf countries, immediately from there. Likewise, vegetables and meat are being sent to the Gulf countries from most parts of the country. Heavy commodities are sent through roadways and sea routes while the liquids and gases are being sent through the pipelines.
The vehicles or carriers are structured according to the nature of commodities. They are sent mostly through tankers (oil) and containers for safety.
In recent times, a new method of transport of cargoes has been in vogue. This is what is called the xcontainerisationx of cargoes. In this method, all commodities are put into the containers and sent as contained cargoes. This is safe and more compact for transport. These containers are often transported by roadways to the ports. You may have seen the trucks and lorries that carry them. Finished products and consumer products are often sent through containers. Not only in the case of ports, but also in the transport of commodities in the interior of the country, the containers are very useful, in the export and import.
The commodities so transported are taxed at the origin of commodities traffic and then sent to the customers or consumers. In this method of cargo traffic, various products from several customers are placed into one and the same container and are then transported to the ports, after due precautions for safety by sealing and fastening. The containers are then exported to the overseas markets. Similarly, the containers are transported to the interior locations as they were received from the imports. They are mostly transported by land transports. The customs and excise officials levy taxes for some of these commodities before they are delivered to the addressees.
There are some merits to this form of transport:
1. Commodities are carried safely from the interior locations and cities to the ports.
2. Transport costs are reduced by sending the commodities from several exporters in the same containers.
3. The exporters and the importers could perform their exporting and importing functions from their own places of residences.
4. In loading the commodities onto the ships, containers help with large quantities being contained for export or import.
Liquid commodities such as milk, water and petrol are being transported in the cylindrical tankers. They are taken to many places on the roads and rails. Petroleum and natural gases are transported to the ports and refineries through the pipelines. Efforts are underway to transport grains through the pipelines using pressure as a force for moving.
We have grown to such an extent that we could be proud of our scientific knowledge and skill. In both scientific learning and corresponding technological gadgetry, we have forged ahead to a large extent. From the researches we have undertaken on the solar system and the planetary dynamics, we have been able to receive clear and intelligent information from the telecommunication equipment through technological advancements. As we have understood the import of telecommunication development, we have moved forward, step by careful step. We have thus developed new techniques. As the lilies multiply in a pond, quickly, so does our knowledge through the use of these techniques and equipment.
In the last few years, the diffusion of human knowledge has occurred as never before. This has been possible primarily because of the telecommunication links. With the technological development, books were published. These books helped with the education of most people. Newspapers, radios and television and such communication devices unite almost all the people in the world today.