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History of Transportation

Last updated date: 09th Apr 2024
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The history of transport is said to largely be one of technological innovation. The advances in technology have allowed people to travel farther distances and explore more territory. Along with that, people can expand their influence over larger and larger areas as well. 

Even in ancient times, there were new tools such as foot coverings, skis and snowshoes that lengthened the distances that could be travelled from one place to another. Here, we are going to discover some more information about transportation. 

Innovation generally continues as transport researchers are working to find different and some new ways to reduce costs and increase transport efficiency.

Evolution of Transportation


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The history of transportation generally begins from the human era and continues to change over a period of time. The first means of transportation was the foot of human beings. People used to walk very large distances to reach places earlier. The first improvement that was made to this kind of transportation was adapting to different surfaces as well. For example, we can say that the people who are living in areas with snow and ice, wore spike-like attachments which were there so that they didn’t slip on the ground.

There are people who knew that the logs and the trees float on water and so they dug out the portion that is in the middle of logs to form a kind of seating. This helped people a lot and allowed for water bodies to be used as a means of transport.

It was around 3500 BC that the first vehicle wheels were used. As a means of transporting the loads which were too small, the wheels were attached to carts and chariots. From here people usually went on to tame animals like horses and all as a means of transportation. The animals which are domesticated were used as means of transporting people and small goods.

International trade was the driving motivator behind advancements in global transportation in the Pre Modern world. Then there was a single global world of the economy with a worldwide division of labour and multilateral trade from 1500 onward. The transportation and the sale of textile, silver and gold and spices, slaves and luxury goods throughout Afro-Eurasia and later the New World saw an evolution in overland and sea trade routes.

Introduction of Transport

The history of transportation has taken a very drastic change with the introduction of wheels. This is because of the discovery of the axel and the wheel in other smaller devices like wheelbarrows that came into use. The existing means of transportation were continuously improved thereafter. For example, we can say that the use of iron horseshoes became a common practice. The clubbing of different modes of transportation was then a possibility if we look at it keenly. For example, horse-drawn vehicles as cars or carriages.

From here we see the progress which is related to transportation that started gaining large momentum. The submarines came into existence around 1620 and in the 1660s mode of properly functioning public transportation were available. The carriages and the steamboats, along with the cycles and even hot air balloons became functioning vehicles that were used on a large scale.

The vehicle that was the first gas engine was made by Jean Lenoir in the year 1862 and after this in the year 1867 that is the first motorcycle was invented. Finally, in the year 1903, the Wright brothers designed the first manned aeroplane with an engine. In 1926, there was the first liquid rocket propellant launched successfully! Other vehicles like the helicopter, jets and hovercrafts came after this.

Existing means of transport were said to be continuously being improved upon. The steam engines generally lead to the invention of bullet trains as well. The flight that was manned which was created by the Wright brothers led to a Jumbo Jet! From travelling on foot we have come a long way and different means of travelling have led to a vast network in the external world.

History of Transportation In India

The transport in India generally consists of transport by land, and water and air. Public transport is said to be the primary mode of road transport for most Indian citizens, and India's public transport systems as well are among the most heavily used in the world.

The network of India's roads is the second-largest and one of the busiest ones in the world. The transporting passengers were 8.225 billion and over 980 million tonnes of cargo was transported annually as of 2015. Indian aviation is broadly divided into military and civil aviation which is the fastest-growing market aviation in the world as per IATA data and Bangalore with a 65% national share is the largest aviation manufacturing hub of India. 

History of transportation has undergone drastic changes when humans invented the wheels. This was only because of the discovery of the wheel and axle in the smaller devices like the wheelbarrow which were in use. The transportation that was already present was vigorously improved overtime. We can consider the example of the iron horse-shoes which came into practice. Clubbing of transportation modes was a possibility where humans looked keenly. For example, the horse carts and carriages that were in use.  Eventually, the transportation area started gaining momentum largely. The submarines were invented and came into use around the year of 1620 and in the 1660s, the public transportation means were available. The carriages and steamboats were already present and thus came the cycles and even hot air balloons. All of these came in function and were used on a large scale.

Jean Lenoir in 1862 contributed to the invention of the first gas engine in a vehicle. Later, in the year 1867, the first motorcycle was also invented. We all must have heard about the Wright brothers. They made the airplane in 1903 and it was one of the greatest human inventions. Then in 1926, the first liquid rocket propellant was also launched successfully. And gradually, the jets, helicopter and hovercrafts also came into use.  This led to many improvements of all the existing transportation. The steam engines that were in use eventually led to the discovery of bullet trains that we see around us. The airplane which was invented by the Wright brothers then led to the invention of the Jumbo jet. This made travelling around the world easier and convenient. In the past, it took months to travel long distances which can now be covered in some hours or days.

FAQs on History of Transportation

1. Explain What the History of Transport is?

Before every other form of transportation there were humans who travelled on foot. Initially, a canoe-like structure was used for water transportation. This was built by burning logs and digging out the burned wood. In 3100BC there was the sailing boat which was invented by Egyptians while the Romans built roads across the country of Europe.

2. When Did Transportation Start in India?

The railway of Mumbai Suburban is the first rail system in India which began services in Mumbai in 1853 and the transports had 6.3 million passengers daily and has the passengers with the highest density in the world. The railway of Kolkata Suburban was established in Kolkata in 1854.

3. What Was the First Public Transportation?

The first form of public transport was multiple people riding animals. The animal-drawn ferries are thought to be the earliest form of public transit. The wheel was invented in 3,500 BC but it wasn't until 1,600 BC that it was used for a chariot as well. This is when the idea of travel for longer travel was possible by road.

4. What are the means of transportation?

Means of transportation can be defined as the transport facilities which are used for moving goods or people from one location to many other locations. This term ‘means of transportation’ can be interchanged with the usage of the term ‘mode of transport’. These means of transportation can be the transportation means that are used in water forms, landforms and even air forms. Examples of these transportation means are : ship, car, airplane etc. 

Such means have made travelling and import/export of goods easier and accessible. 

5. Why do we need transportation?

here are plenty of reasons why transportation is important. They are as follows:

  1. Transportation enables commerce, trade and most importantly communication which are a crucial part in today’s rapid urbanization. Here, the traffic flows without being disturbed and moves at a steady phase from one location to another location.

  2. It acts as a link between the manufacturing industries and the consumer industries. Without it, there won’t be import and export of essential goods across states, countries and even continents. It has become an important time of our life. 

  3. Transportation has played a major role in the development of all the nations across the planet. It is an indicator of civilization in the world. If the current transportation wouldn’t have existed then there wouldn’t have been any development. 

6. What does air transport mean?

Transport means occur in land forms, air forms and water forms. Air transport is the transportation that occurs in the air. An aircraft or an airplane is a heavy flying vehicle which is designed properly so as to carry lift and carry the vehicle as a whole. There are wide ranges of aircrafts which are used for domestic purposes as well as for military purposes. For travelling shorter distances or places where there are no runways, helicopters are operated and used. Other air transportation means are airships and autogyros. This means of transport is considered the fastest mode of transportation. Commercial jets are quite fast and travel a distance covering 955 kilometres per hour and at a considerable higher ground speed. However, they require high energy use and are quite expensive. Aviation has many impacts on the environment which is a growing concern for the environment. 

7. What is rail transport?

Rail transport is a means of land transport. It is convenient for travelling passengers and carrying goods. It is a wheeled vehicle that runs on a track called the railway track or railroad or railway. The rails are connected perpendicularly to the railway. This consists of more than one connected vehicle which runs on it. The propulsion is provided by something called a locomotive which powers the rails and then carries freight or passengers. This is powered by steam, electricity or diesel which is supplied by systems. Some other rails are powered by multiple units. Other sources of power are cables, gravity, gas turbines and pneumatics. The railways are very efficient means of transportation however, less efficient when compared to ships.

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