Transportation plays an important role in the growth and development of a country. The need of transport arises from the fact that goods are often produced at one place and consumed at another place. Raw materials have to be taken to the factories for converting them into useful articles. These articles, in turn, have to be sent to the markets, far and near, for distribution.

The transport system in the world is classified into three categories – transport by land, water and air. Transport by land depends upon a network of roads and railways. Transport by water makes use of navigable rivers and canals besides the high seas. Transport by air requires big airports equipped with efficient means bf communication.

The most important feature of the modern means of transport is that they carry a much larger load over longer distance in far less time than ever before. Thus science and technology are helping to make transport faster, cheaper and more convenient.

Roadways :

The invention of the automobile at the end of the 19th century resulted in great improvement of roads in various parts of the world. The earliest roads were simple and made of mud and stone. Those were not very smooth. Now we have pucco and wide roads connecting big cities. Kutcha roads are mostly found in rural areas. The long, narrow and rough roads of the past are being replaced gradually by straight, wide and metal-surfaced roads, which can carry enormous volumes of fast-moving traffic.


Roads on which automobiles can run very fast and without taking a turn are called highways, expressways or freeways. Road transport is especially useful for carrying light goods over short distances. It is easier to build roads than railways in the mountains. Our country has a good network of all types of roads. We have roads connecting our neighboring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The amount of road traffic and the variety of vehicles on the roads have been increasing every day. This has created many problems all over the world. Two of them are very serious and need immediate solution, One is the pollution of air by smoke and dust and the other is the growing number of road accidents, The vehicles give out poisonous smoke, which is a great danger to our health. The roads have become very crowded due to the increased number of vehicles. The drivers do not follow the traffic rules. This causes road accidents. Rash driving is also an important cause of accidents. We must follow the traffic rules not only for our own safety but also for the safety of others.

Railways :

Railways are very useful as means of transport for carrying cheap, bulky and heavy goods over long distances. Railways have helped in the growth and development of industries in many parts of the world. They carry the materials to the factories and the finished industrial products to the markets.

The British built the railway system in our country. The first railway was introduced between Mumbai and Thane in 1853. Today, India has the largest network of railways in Asia and the second largest in the world.


The densest railway network is found in Western Europe and North America, The Grand Orient Express runs between Paris in France and Istanbul in Turkey. This passes through a number of countries. The longest railway line of the world is the Trans-Siberian Railway running between St. Petersburg and Vladivostok in Russia. The journey takes about one week.

In the USA and Canada, the cities located on the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts are connected by Transcontinental railways. The trains take about four to five days to cover this distance. Chicago in the USA, is the world’s largest railway junction, In Japan and France some trains run at speeds of more than 400 kilometres per hour. Japanese railways handle the largest passenger traffic in the world.

Waterways :

Nearly 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. The oceans and seas provide a continuous link between the landmasses, Rafts and dugout boats were the earliest means of water transport. Then came sailboats which used the power of the wind to push them from one place to another. Today, we have very big ships fitted with steam or diesel engines.

The water bodies form a free highway provided by nature. Water transport is very useful for transporting heavy and bulky goods, such as coal, iron ore, timber, etc., over long distances. The carrying capacity of a modern ship is much greater than that of a truck or a railway train. The only drawback of water transport is its slow speed. This is compensated by the low cost of transport.


Transport by water comprises inland waterways and ocean routes. Water transport has played an important role in man’s life since ancient times. It continues to be a vital part of the trade and commerce in the world. Certain sea routes used to be extremely long and took very long. For example, the time taken to travel in ship from India to England was about six months. The construction of the Suez and Panama canals not only reduced the travelling time but also increased the usefulness of seaways.

The Suez Canal was built in 1869. It joins the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea. The Panama Canal lying between the continents of North America and South America, connects the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. The canal was opened to the traffic in 1914. The Panama Canal has helped ships to avoid going round the entire continent of South America. Trade has increased between North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The busiest sea route in the world is in the North Atlantic Ocean, joining the Eastern coast of North America and the Western coast of Europe. This route provides links between two highly industrialised parts of the world. India has a number of important ports on the west and east coast. These are Kandla, Mumbai, Marmagao, Mangalore, Kochi, Tuticorin, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam, Paradwip and Kolkata. These ports are well connected with every part of the world. Navigable rivers, lakes and canals are the inland waterways. Large rivers like the Nile, the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Yangtze, the Brahmaputra and the Ganga are very useful as inland waterways.

Airways :

In the present-day world, thousands of people including tourists, businessmen, officials, students, etc., fly to other countries. In the beginning of the 20th century, Wright Brothers of the USA developed a flying machine. It was the first aeroplane. With the advancement in science and technology, the size and speed of the airplane has improved. Today, the air travel is quick, safe and comfortable, but it is very expensive. The volume of air traffic has been increasing every year.