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Transportation, the network of how we and our goods move about is something which most people take for granted. The scope of transportation issues, their causes and effects, are huge. The reason for this is that everyone has a vested interest in the system even if they don't realise it, probably because the systems currently meets their transport requirements. Below are factors which influence the design and operation a a transport system, hopefully this will give you an indication of just how large and complex transport problems and hence their solutions are.

1. Human behaviour - why, where, when, how do we travel.

2. Mode of transport - Private car, taxi, motorcycle, bus, rail, subway, water, air, cycle and on foot.

3. Fuel type - Traditional fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel or alternative fuel types such as electricity, compressed air, solar, LPG.

4. Infrastructure - Road network, public transport network, rivers and waterways, cycleways.

5. Politics - Government objectives, economy, environmental impact.

6. Available technology - in-car or out-of-car technology.

All of these issues affect how a transport system is designed and implemented. To complicate matters, it is often the case that these various issues are either coupled together or are contradictory to each other.

The table below demonstrates that the length of public roads in use has fallen way behind the dramatic increase in vehicle numbers. These figures were taken from the Scottish Transport Statistics, 2003.

Road transport table


2004 All rights reserved. Copyright of Derek Weir, Leanne McMillan, Roy MacLean, Hee Dong Oh & Ayman Elsadig


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