Transport System and Economic Development

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The transport system and economic development are tightly coupled with each other. A well-knit transport system that is well-coordinated contributes to the sustained growth of any country. One can say that it is the transport routes that govern the basic arteries of the economic system of a country. It is the link between production and consumption; hence a transport system can also be deemed as the controller of the national economy. A country is progressing if there is transport moving in and out of it. This article will look closely into the elements of a transport system and see how the transport system and economic development in India are interrelated.

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Role of the Transport System in Daily life

A transport system plays a vital role in providing and improving access to different parts of a geographical region which is important for businesses as well as individuals. A transport system supports both freight and personal movements. In the business sector, the business and supplier or the business and the market need an efficient transport system to work smoothly. In the household sector transport is used as the means to go to offices, schools, shops, etc. The transport system is used widely by individuals for personal and leisure activities as it connects them to recreational, social, and medical facilities. 

Core Components of a Transport System

Transportation can take place if the below described 4 essential components of the transport system are in place:

1. Modes 

These mostly take the form of vehicles that are used for conveyances. They support the mobility of freight and passengers. There are modes which carry only freight or only passengers, and then there are the mixed kinds which carry both.

2. Infrastructure 

The transport system needs physical support in the form of routes (rail tracks, highways, canals, etc.), and terminals (bus depot, airports, etc.). Superstructures or moveable assets also form part of the infrastructure, for example, the runway of an airport. The moveable assets have a shorter life span.

3. A System of Linked Locations Denotes Networks 

The spatial and functional organization of a transport system. This system defines which are the connected locations and how are they serviced. There could be locations that are more accessible with more number of connections while others could be poorly accessible with a lesser number of connections.

4. Flows 

This describes the movement of freights, people, and information over their networks. A flow is characterized by an origin, intermediate locations, and a final destination. 

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Forms of Transport

The transport system has many forms like roads, railways, air, and water. 

Road Transport 

Road transport is the oldest form of transport and comprises cars, hand-pulled rickshaws, bullock carts, auto, tempo, buses, etc.

Rail Transport 

In India, the central government owns and manages the railway system. This system has numerous benefits, as outlined below:

  • It can be used for transporting bulky goods.

  • Rail transport is less polluted, 

  • It is economical for traveling longer distances.

Water Transport  

India has a long coastline as it is surrounded by water with the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian sea bordering the country. Water transport in the form of the movement of goods and people on waterways is common in India. Water transport carries people and goods within, as well as outside of the country.

Air Transport 

Air transport is the fastest means of transportation and in India is a relatively recent development. Air transport is also the costliest means of transportation in general. The Indian air transport now ranks amongst the fastest growing aviation sectors in the entire world.

The Economic Importance of Transport System in India

In a country like India, which is the size of a continent, the importance of efficient, dependable, affordable, and safe transport facilities is very high. The commercial markets in India and the economic resources are dotted across the length and breadth of the nation. Below are mentioned some of the important roles that the transport system plays in the economic development of India:

  • Moving Inputs and Outputs 

The entire production system of India depends on the seamless movement of inputs like raw materials, machinery, fuels, etc. In a similar manner, the output from various sectors needs the transport system to bring them to the market. Thus, the transport system in India is key in raising the volume of production of different sectors of this country.

  • Mobilizes Labor  

Labor can move smoothly between different regions of the country, which helps in the expansion of industries. It also provides jobs to workers and opens up gainful employment opportunities for the unemployed laborers of India.

  • Enhances Specializations - 

Concerning production, the transport system is clearly promoting geographical specialization. By developing the market for a variety of products in distant parts of the country, transport increases the extent of the market, thereby facilitating specializations.

  • Opening Inaccessible Regions 

The vast and unexplored resources of our country (forest, mineral, agricultural wealth) lies in many remote regions. Roads and railways are making it possible to venture into these areas and tap into their potential.

  • Enriching the Outlook of People 

The cultural, political, and social outlook of people is getting widened by the transport system. It helps in removing superstitions, conservative attitudes, and ignorance amongst various sections of society. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: What are the Salient Features of a Transport System and the Various Cost Elements Involved in it?

Ans: A transport system possesses the following key features:

  • The transport infrastructure requires a huge amount of capital.

  • Creating transport infrastructure is time-consuming.

  • A critical aspect of the transport sector is the effective usage of energy.

The major cost elements of a transport system are:

  • Tariff or fare of transport mode.

  • Obsolescence cost

  • Transit time cost

  • Insurance cost

  • Packaging cost

  • Breakage cost

  • Misc cost.

Q2: What are the Advantages of the Road Transport System?

Ans: Road transport provides the following benefits over other modes of transport:

  • There is a facility of door-to-door service while traveling via road.

  • Road transport is extremely flexible and the routes can be easily changed at any time.

  • It is an economical choice for short distances.

  • The maintenance and overhead costs are less in road transport.

  • Road transport provides personalized service.

Q3: Give a Brief about the History of the Indian Railway System

Ans: The Indian railways are one of the largest railways systems under single management. Railways were started in India about 160 years back. The first passenger train ran in April 1853 in Mumbai between Bori Bunder and Thane. The total distance covered was 34 kilometers, and three locomotives (Sahib, Sindh, and Sultan) operated it. There were a total of thirteen carriages on this train.