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Transport networks

Transport networks

The animation presents the main air, water and land routes and transport hubs.



transportation, international network, land transportation, water transportation, aviation, road transportation, railway, pipeline, routes, node, road network, freight transportation, system of public utilities, globalization, map, Earth globe, Earth, countries, economy, network, society, technology, geography

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Currently, Europe has the highest road network density in the world. It is the most widespread form of transport due to its flexibility whether moving people or goods.
Advantages: speed, flexible routes, door-to-door delivery; it allows for the movement of goods in areas which rail transport cannot reach.
Disadvantages: environmental pollution, high energy and labor demand, limited weight and size of transported goods, traffic congestion.
Hubs: London, Paris, Munich, Moscow.

Among the continents, Europe has an integrated and dense railway network. Railways are generally the core transport network of a country even though the proportion of rail transport is not the highest in certain countries' transport system.

Advantages: transporting heavy and large cargoes and large number of passengers, environmentally friendly, reliable (scheduled freight and passenger traffic), safe (closed system)
Disadvantages: no door-to-door delivery (fixed tracks), uneconomical over short distances, not available everywhere, high construction costs.
Hubs: Paris, Hamburg, Zurich, Rome

High-speed trains: traveling over 200 km/h (124 mph). The Shinkansen, the Japanese high-speed railway has been operating since 1964. Construction of high-speed railways in Europe only started in the 1980s. High-speed trains can compete with airplanes if the destination is within 1,000 km (621 mi) of the starting point, since getting to the airport, check-in and luggage handling requires additional time, which can take longer than the flight itself over such distances.

Water transport is one of the oldest forms of transport which also evolved in ancient times with the development of coastal shipping. Today, water transport is characterized by the dominance of cargo ships which carry heavy freight to vast distances.
Advantages: able to carry the heaviest cargoes, favorable prices, relatively low energy consumption.
Disadvantages: slow (only goods that will maintain their quality over a long period of time can be transported by ships); depends on the weather.
Hubs (in order of magnitude of freight traffic): Ningbo, Beijing, Singapore, Rotterdam, Amsterdam.


Transport is of vital importance in today's society, as we are constantly on the move; most products are also transported from different parts of the world. Therefore, transport is characterized by the movement of people and goods, and there are numerous forms of transport that include road, rail, water, air and pipeline.

The very first roads were built in ancient times as the cultivation of land and animal husbandry developed. This also represented the beginning of trade. Transport as we know it today developed with the building of paved roads and the invention of motor vehicles. Currently, Europe has the highest road network density in the world, and the most widespread form of transport is road transport due to its flexibility.

Europe has an integrated and dense railway network compared to other continents. The first railway line in the world, the Stockton and Darlington railroad, opened in 1825 in the North East region of England. Railways are generally the core of transport networks even though the proportion of rail transport is not the highest in some countries' transport systems.
Building high-speed railway tracks and integrating them with other forms of freight transport make rail transport very competitive. The busiest transport hubs in Europe are Paris, Hamburg and Zurich.

Water transport is one of the oldest forms of transport, which also evolved in ancient times with the development of coastal shipping. The building of the Suez Canal, in the mid-19th century, and later the Panama Canal, in the early 20th century, were decisive factors in the advancement of shipping. Nowadays, water transport is characterized by the dominance of cargo ships, which carry heavy cargoes vast distances. The most significant ports in the world are in Southeast Asia and the Benelux States.

The development of air transport began with the first powered flight of the Wright brothers in 1903; however, its importance has only increased since World War II. Even though the proportion of cargo flights is constantly increasing, especially when it comes to expensive goods, the key role of air transport still lies in carrying passengers. The busiest airports in the world are in Atlanta, Beijing and London.

Liquids and gases are transported in pipelines. Gas and oil pipelines are the most important of these. The first pipeline was built in Pennsylvania in the second half of the 19th century, but pipeline transport has only gained ground since the 1960s with the widespread use of oil and gas. The largest oil-producing countries are Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The largest gas-producing countries are the United States, Russia and Canada. Pipelines lead from the site of extraction to users or other transport networks, such as ports.

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