Road transport (British English) or road transportation (American English) is transport using roads. Transport on roads can be roughly grouped into the transportation of goods and transportation of people. In many countries licensing requirements and safety regulations ensure a separation of the two industries. Movement along roads may be by bike or automobile, truck, or by animal such as horse or oxen. Standard networks of roads were adopted by Romans, Persians, Aztec, and other early societies. Cargo may be transported by trucking companies, while passengers may be transported via mass transit. Commonly defined features of modern roads include defined lanes and signage. Within the United States, roads between regions are connected via the Interstate Highway System.
The nature of road transportation of goods depends, apart from the degree of development of the local infrastructure, on the distance the goods are transported by road, the weight and volume of an individual shipment, and the type of goods transported. For short distances and light, small shipments a van or pickup truck may be used. For large shipments even if less than a full truckload a truck is more appropriate. (Also see Trucking and Hauling below). In some countries cargo is transported by road in horse-drawn carriages, donkey carts or other non-motorized mode. Delivery services are sometimes considered a separate category from cargo transport. In many places fast food is transported on roads by various types of vehicles. For inner city delivery of small packages and documents bike couriers are quite common.
People are transported on roads either in individual cars or in mass transit by bus or coach. Special modes of individual transport by road such as cycle rickshaws may also be locally available. There are also specialist modes of road transport for particular situations, such as ambulances.
Rail transport is a means of transferring of passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, also known as tracks. It is also commonly referred to as train transport. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles run on a prepared flat surface, rail vehicles (rolling stock) are directionally guided by the tracks on which they run. Tracks usually consist of steel rails, installed on ties (sleepers) and ballast, on which the rolling stock, usually fitted with metal wheels, moves. Other variations are also possible, such as slab track, where the rails are fastened to a concrete foundation resting on a prepared subsurface.
Rolling stock in a rail transport system generally encounters lower frictional resistance than road vehicles, so passenger and freight cars (carriages and wagons) can be coupled into longer trains. The operation is carried out by a railway company, providing transport between train stations or freight customer facilities. Power is provided by locomotives which either draw electric power from a railway electrification system or produce their own power, usually by diesel engines. Most tracks are accompanied by a signalling system. Railways are a safe land transport system when compared to other forms of transport.[Nb 1] Railway transport is capable of high levels of passenger and cargo utilization and energy efficiency, but is often less flexible and more capital-intensive than road transport, when lower traffic levels are considered.
The oldest known, man/animal-hauled railways date back to the 6th century BC in Corinth, Greece. Rail transport then commenced in mid 16th century in Germany in form of horse-powered funiculars and wagonways. Modern rail transport commenced with the British development of the steam locomotives in the early 19th century. Thus the railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world. Built by George Stephenson and his son Robert's company Robert Stephenson and Company, the Locomotion No. 1 is the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public rail line, the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. George also built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use only the steam locomotives all the time, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway which opened in 1830. With steam engines, one could construct mainline railways, which were a key component of the Industrial Revolution. Also, railways reduced the costs of shipping, and allowed for fewer lost goods, compared with water transport, which faced occasional sinking of ships. The change from canals to railways allowed for "national markets" in which prices varied very little from city to city. The spread of the railway network and the use of railway timetables, led to the standardisation of time (railway time) in Britain based on Greenwich Mean Time. Prior to this, major towns and cities varied their local time relative to GMT. The invention and development of the railway in the United Kingdom was one of the most important technological inventions of the 19th century. The world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway (part of the London Underground), opened in 1863.
Sea transport systems in today's shipping market have evolved into three separate but closely connected segments: bulk shipping, liner shipping and specialized shipping. Although these segments belong to the same industry, each carries out different tasks and has a very different character.
Large homogeneous parcels such as iron ore, coal and grain are carried by the bulk shipping industry, small parcels of general cargo are carried by the liner shipping industry and specialised cargoes shipped in large volumes are transported by the specialized shipping industry. These three cargo streams create demand for bulk transport, liner transport and specialized transport. A major distinction is drawn between the fleets of ships owned by companies moving their own cargo in their own ships and the ships owned by independent shipowners and chartered to the cargo owners.
The bulk shipping industry carries large parcels of raw materials and bulky semi-manufactures. This is a very distinctive business. Bulk vessels handle few transactions, typically completing about six voyages with a single cargo each year, so the average revenue depends on a dozen of negotiations per ship each year. In addition, service levels are usually low so little overhead is required to run the ships and organize the cargo.