5 Modes of Transportation

In order to have easy mobility of persons and goods, it is necessary to
have a sophisticated and widespread transportation system. This system is made
up of five primary areas of transportation, which are:
- Motor vehicles
- Railroad transportation
- Air transportation
- Water transportation
- Pipelines

Each of these five modes consists of different subsystems which make up the
system. Each mode is used to transport persons or goods, but in many instances,
one mode may be favored over the others. All five modes require some primary
source of funds for building and maintaining the infrastructure. These funds
may come from a number of different places such as the federal government, state,
or the city through which the system runs. Different government agencies have
jurisdiction over the modes. These agencies focus on maintaining and improving
safety of each system. The individual states also have certain obligations to
the operation and regulation of the different modes of transportation.

Each mode is made up of primary subsystems. The subsystems of railroad
transportation include freight trains and passenger trains. Freight trains are
used to transport goods and materials between cities while passenger trains are
used to transport people. Although freight trains are still used all across the
nation, rail intercity freight has accounted for a decreasing share of the total
ton mileage over the past 30 years. This is mostly due to the increase in truck
transport. Rail passenger traffic had also declined over the years until better
service was offered by Amtrak and the price of fuel increased. Much of the
decline in rail passenger traffic has been due to the increasing number of air
Air transport can also be divided into the subsystems of passenger and
freight transport. Passenger air travel has rapidly increased over the years
due to:
- Increasing Gross National Product
- Increasing wealth of the middle-income groups
- Increasing number of nonprimary industry in the economic system
- Increasing amount of general aviation
- Improved technology

The areas for air transport of express and freight and mail has also increased
rapidly over the years. This is due mostly to improved technology which has
steadily lowered the cost of air transport.

Like rail and air transport, water transportation can also be broken
down to passenger and freight transport. Passenger transportation by water only
accounts for a very small percentage of water transport because it is very slow
and relatively inconvenient for most people. This is primarily used by people
for vacation purposes. Most often, water transport is used for freight movement
of items that are bulky and of low cost per unit volume.
Pipelines can be divided into two principle classes including oil and
natural gas pipelines. Oil pipelines are used to transport oil and oil-products.
Gas pipelines differ from oil pipelines in that they are not in competition
with other carriers.
Each mode is used to convey certain goods or materials. Highways are
most often used to carry motor vehicles. These vehicles may be privately owned,
company owned, or even state owned. They may range in size from single
passenger vehicles such as motorcycles to large freight vehicles such as triple-
trailer trucks. The transport of freight may include anything from raw
materials to finished products.
Railroads are used to carry freight and passenger trains. In both cases,
the number of railroad cars may vary between destinations. However, it would
not be practical to haul a single car for a long distance , therefore, many cars
are usually hauled on each trip.
Passenger trains are designed to haul passengers, while freight trains
are designed to haul materials ranging from raw goods to finished products.
Air transport is used in the transportation of passengers and freight.
Aircraft used to transport passengers come in many different sizes. They range
from small single passenger aircraft to large jumbo jet aircraft.
Transportation of freight is another area of air transport. Most common is the
express and freight and mail carriers. Most of this material is carried by
local passenger/cargo carriers. Some military aircraft is used in the
transportation of much larger freight. The materials transported by air may
include anything from raw materials to finished products.
Another mode of transporting passengers and freight is by water. The
transportation of passengers is slow and inconvenient, therefore it is not used
very often except for pleasure. The size of water craft may vary from small
single seater jet skis to large cruise ships. The most common use of water
transportation is for freight. The type of freight moved is usually limited to
those classes that are bulky and of low cost