In this devastating pandemic situation, the economy of any country is the most important aspect for the survival of its citizens. And the very basics of the economy is the movement of goods from the producers to consumers, which is achieved only through various transportation services. And it’s been evolving drastically since ages. In this blog, I share my views on transportation and its impact on the economy and society.
Evolution of Goods Transportation
Earlier scenario of transportation was not much of machines, electronics, and electricals. Early men just walked wherever they wanted to. Later they figured out that animals can be controlled and used for long distances.
Parallely they also figured out how to travel on the water with logs of woods initially, and then the build of boats became better. They started building boats of various shapes resembling the shapes of fishes.
Then the most important and significant invention was made called wheels.
It was first used for making clay pots and vessels but then later humans realized that wheels can also be used for transportation.
It was a simple mechanism of just wheels running through push and pull by people or animals like bulls, horses etc. They were able to travel longer distances and carry more weight.
The first innovation of engines, known as steam engines, was invented around the year 1712 by just boiling water and coal to produce steams. And they used such steam to just move the machines.
Later in the year 1804, the first steam engine was invented and used for the railways which was a huge invention for the transportation of goods on a larger scale.
As steam engines were larger and were used only on railways initially, later the engines were made smaller and people tried to implement it on roads which made a path for the invention of the first automobile on road in the year 1885.
Not just on railways and roads, steam engines played a vital role in making the sea transport much faster by moving the turbines underwater using the steam to propel, which made the ships to turn and move faster. Hence the ores on ships were replaced with steam engines in the year 1918.
Then in the late nineteenth century, the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) enabled large-scale vehicle mobility through road and airways, which was one of the primary elements that expanded the global economy.
Internal combustion engines were the basis for the development of fast-moving vehicles such as cars, buses, trucks, and trains. As a result, transportation became much easier and faster.
Electric motors were eventually favoured over steam engines by railways (steam locomotives) because they were more efficient in terms of power and range. Maritime transportation, on the other hand, is concerned with the quantity of commodities transported rather than the speed.
Fuel propulsion enabled enormous freight carrier ships to transport massive amounts of products across countries in the 1970s, resulting in significant worldwide economic growth.
Technological advancements like telematics in the twenty-first century have made forms of transportation more cost-effective, efficient, speedier, and effortless.
Humaneless forms of transportation, such as self-driving cars and drones, are being developed and will play a significant part in the global economy’s future.
Role of Economy in transportation system
A good transportation system is the outcome of a thriving economy. Transportation is an important aspect in economic growth because it opens up new opportunities and expands the market for goods and services.
A customer cannot meet his fundamental demands for a longer period of time if he does not have access to transportation.
Transportation is the most important and commonly used sector for economic development.
As it involves not only the freight movement, it is also the movement of people from place to place that allows people to access, share various developmental ideas and information regarding economic growth.
When the transport systems are efficient, it creates various socio-economic opportunities resulting in increased employment, accessibilities and huge investments in the market. Quality of life is also defined by the efficiency of the transportation sector.
If the transportation is better, demands will be low, costs will be low and better would be the lifestyle. If the transportation is not efficient, it definitely affects the quality of life in the society. Hence, the transportation sector is as important as it accounts for half the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of an economy.
Transportation and Society
Quality of society is directly proportional to the quantity and quality of the transportation. Earlier societies did not have many roads to connect the consumers and producers. Diffusion of National Highways made a huge impact on the mobility of societies. India with such a huge diversity of societies, mobility is a key for its economical growth.
When a society has greater mobility, they often have better opportunities to develop than those societies with scarce mobility. Transportation is a catalyst for development of a society.
Now how does transportation act as a catalyst for development?
Transportation builds the relationship between the producer and the consumer. It employs more people in the production and supply chain when the supply and demand increases.
Investments on production too increases, generates more income and thus provides higher revenue through taxes. Thus, efficient transportation builds a healthy society.
Transportation market has grown huge over the years from its roots through its various modes of transportation like Airways, Railways, shipping and roadways. The freight movement on the road has grown dramatically in recent years due to various technological advancements.
Tracking technologies have increased the demand for fleets which has increased its reliability on road transportation. Traceability of the fleets is now the major driving trend in the transportation industry. Increasing fleets on the road has contributed to the immense growth of the transportation market.
Telematics services have boosted up the reliability of transportation services which has in turn increased the scope of investments in the market for better production with the increase in demand of resources.
These trending technologies of fleets ensure a safer trade between the producer and consumers. They also help the fleet management to be cost effective with the increase in fuel costs by regular monitoring of the vehicles performances.
Apart from these factors, better transportation conditions are also the key factors in deciding the market size. Transportation market has grown huge due to the better road conditions for the fleet movements.
National highways and state highways are of massive support for the transportation market, ensuring free movement of fleets from their origin to the destination.
Supply and Demand for Transportation
Economy of a country is completely based on its supply and demand ratios. And the transportation sector is the one that connects these two parties of supply and demand. For a better transportation market, the demand of the consumer has to be met.
And for that, mobility is the key factor to maintain a better market for the transportation sector. Without mobility, the transport infrastructure is useless, and without the transport infrastructure, mobility is not possible.
Such interdependency of mobility and transport infrastructure is associated with two important factors called transport demand and supply. The relationship between the transport supply and demand vary but they are interrelated with each other.
What is transport supply and demand?
Transport supply is the capacity of specific transportation infrastructure over a period of time. At the same time, the transport demand is the demands met by the company or the transporter for trade like the number of vehicles to be used, fuel costs, toll charges, driver charges, etc., for the same time period.