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Transportation modes are the ways that are used in the transportation of people and freight. When deciding on which modes of transport to invest in, an emphasis needs to be put on the long-term consequences, for example, on the environment.
Often, there are rarely neither hard nor fast distinctions between the available modes of transportation. All modes of transport, from personal motor vehicles to airlines have provisions for cargo storage, as well as passenger spaces.
This chapter concentrates its focus on passenger modes, as well as the matters that relate to the movement in the direction of greater sustenance. It goes on to explore the variety of modes, their differences and diversities, which exist, even in the same mode.
It also emphasizes the way modes interact with, or affect issues like infrastructure, land use, social, cultural and economic dimensions, the environment, functional characteristics and travel characteristics (Schiller, Brun, & Kenworthy, 2010).
There are two important concepts on modes that need to inform the discussion and analysis of this study. The first is the multi modal concept, which is the ability of one to choose among several possible modes when on a trip.
The second is the intermodal concept, where there is an ability to connect between modes, say, riding of a bicycle in a bus or making transfers between bus and rail. These concepts increase travel options and offer an allowance for people to combine modes for more complicated forms of travel to reduce the need for auto mobility.
In-town modes mainly serve to get people to work, shopping, schools and recreation. They include walking, which encompasses walking assistance by use of devices like wheelchairs, cycling public transportation or transit and personal motor vehicles. Walking has its important factors. One is that walking tracks can accommodate a large capacity of pedestrians.
Another important factor is that it is ideal and functional for short trips which are common. The costs and infrastructural needs for walking are also minimal. There is an allowance for every pedestrian to walk at their own ideal velocity and over a range of their choice.
In addition to these, the environmental, safety and health considerations are positive. Bicycling is close to walking in many aspects, except there has been some controversy on the habitat damage levels that are created by off road or off trail mountain cycling.
For urban centers, public transportation or transit could be extremely space, time and energy efficient. When it is well monitored and done, it could alleviate the need for private motoring for all or most of the urban trips. Transit performance is affected a great deal by its RoW (right of way) conditions. High standard of RoW mean high speed and capacity.
The three basic types of RoW are A, B, and C in a descending level of efficiency. Capacity in public transport is varied, depending on the size and crowding acceptance of the region. The other factors, which are trip types, infrastructure needs and costs, velocity and range, and environmental, health and safety considerations vary, depending on a number of factors. This trend is reflected in PMVs (Schiller, Brun, & Kenworthy, 2010).
An overview of numerous considerations to be put in mind when deciding on the modes of transportation has been addressed in this chapter. Issues of policies, cultural preferences and economics play a major part in these considerations.
Schiller, P.L., Brun, E. & Kenworthy, J. R. (2010). An introduction to sustainable transportation: policy, planning and implementation. London: Earthscan.