This unit shows the different transport networks in the different Geographical locations.

These are four modes of transport i.e. water transport, road, air and railway transport. Transport is the physical translocation of people and goods from one place to another.

The modes of transport have evolved with time and have increased in efficiency and speed. From horse drawn carriages to steel engines to electrified trains.

Factors affecting the development of transport

  • Relief

Mountainous areas hinder the development of transport networks especially land transport such areas use animals for transport e.g. in Lesotho and Swaziland donkeys are used on the steep terrain while the gently sloping and flat areas facilitate the development of transport networks.

  • Drainage

Swampy areas make it difficult and expensive to construct land transport networks. These areas have to be reclaimed and drained in such a way that when roads and railways are constructed they don’t sink or collapse while areas with large water bodies are easy to construct.

Well drained areas with large water bodies like lakes and rivers facilitate the development of water transport e.g. the Great lakes region and the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Rhine region, the upper Nile region. Areas without water bodies are easy to construct land transport.

  • Vegetation

Densely forested areas usually have few modes of transport because its difficult and expensive to construct roads, railways and airports as vegetation has to be cleared i.e., the Amazon and Congo basins.

  • Climate

Areas with low amounts of rainfall can easily have more roads and railway networks because of the ease with which they can be constructed as compared to areas that receive high rainfall totals making the land slippery and eroding the networks.

  • Availability of natural resources i.e., minerals, fishing, goods and agriculturally productive areas.

These areas facilitate the development of transport so that the resources can be moved from the source to the market centers e.g. Prairies, the tanzam railway which transports from Tanzania to Zambia Agriculture produce and from Zambia through Tanzania to the coast minerals. Cocoa growing areas in Kumasi have railway lines.

  • Strategic location.

Accessible areas e.g. at the coast or centrally positioned usually facilitate the development of transport since they are trading or administrative centers e.g. Los Angeles, New York, London etc.

  • Availability of capital.

Countries that have capital are generally well developed with transport systems since money is available for their development.

In most of these cities, their networks are well distributed e.g. Cairo, Johannesburg, Sydney, Paris, Hong Kong while countries where capital is limited, there is a poor development in the transport system and this is reflected in most developing countries.

  • Government policy.

The government will decide to develop the transport system in order to promote economic growth and development in developed countries.

If the government puts a strong initiative in the development of transport networks, then they will expand and develop on the other hand. If the government doesnot care even the few networks will deteriorate.

  • Political stability

When a country is politically stable it’s easy to maintain the transport system i.e. Switzerland. In the politically unstable areas it’s dangerous to work and develop the networks. Other systems are destroyed by the war situation i.e. Iraq

  • Level of technology

Technically advanced countries have got better systems because they have machines and technical skills to develop all modes of transport i.e. Asia has more railway systems while countries with low levels of technology have poor transport systems.

  • Historical factors.

Some transport networks revolve with time from trade routes to modern all weather roads i.e. The road from Taboral to Dar es Salaam as well as several trade routes in the Sahara region.

  • Skilled labour.

Availability of skilled labour to construct the transport networks in the country leads to development of the transport system while areas without skilled labour may not have well developed transport systems.

Densely populated areas usually facilitate the development of road transport while sparsely populated areas don’t usually have well developed transport because it would serve not any purpose i.e. In the Amazon.


It varies from foot path to the latest motor ways. Several routes which were developed from ancient time still serve very well i.e. The Trans-Saharan routes, Central African trade routes and the Central Asian Caravan routes.

In steep raged terrain i.e.

Tibetsi, yarts are commonly used, while camels are ideal for the deserts and elephants are used in the tropical areas especially Asia but currently there is a greater use of modern routes.

Road transport is the most common mode because its cheaper to construct and some of them simply evolve from foot paths to motor ways. Roads are also flexible and can reach most remote parts of the world.


It has well developed road transport network with mainly highways, some of which have been super imposed by super highways which double traffic capacity.

Almost all the roads are tarmac ked because of the fact that their many roads and cars, there is usually traffic congestion and to solve this motor ways have been constructed across the motor ways (surbubs)


It has very few developed transport networks. Most of the roads are still murrum and they are hard to use during the wet season.

Efforts are being made by more countries to construct all weather roads and to develop the road networks linking to the neighboring countries as to faster trade among communities ie.

The Trans-African highway which starts from Mombasa – Lagos connecting the East to the West and also the proposed Trans-African highway.


Most well developed road networks are found in productive areas eg. South east of Brazil. In Columbia, Bolivia and Peru donkeys are still used because of the steep terrain of Aedes.



It has a dense network of railway lines most of which radiates from Britain to other parts of Europe. This is because of the rates of industrial and economic revolution as well as the efficiency.

Most of the railways radiate from London, Brussels, Milan. The densest network is found in the highly industrialized Western Europe.

The network has been electrified improving the speed and efficiency. As a result trains have been popular from passenger services during the rush hours some of the major transport continental lines include Paris – Berlin – Moscow crossing the country and linking the Trans-Seberian railway.

The Ostrend (Belgium) Vienna line running through the Alps and Italy.

Switzerland has the most extensive electrified railway networks, its railways are well distributed throughout the country.


It has the most expensive railway network in the world i.e. USA, Canada together with Central America account for 40% of the railway network. This is because of the large country with long distances to travel and with a large bulk of goods.

It also has the capital, skilled labour, technology to construct the network. The network is important for transportation of freight goods and raw materials etc but it is hardly used by passengers.

This is mainly because of the availability of auto mobiles for short distances and the air services for long distances.

The railway is used to carry bulky products like iron ore, timber, grains; minerals etc. in USA, lines are well distributed all over the country while in Canada they are more concentrated in the south. Most of them are linked to the main cities of Chicago, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. Chicago has the densest network of railways in the world.

The main transport continental lines follow an east-West direction linking the east to the west; it has also electrified its network which has improved on the speed and efficiency of the transport. Underground trains are also important especially for commuter passengers.


The network varies from country to country. This is because different countries have different levels of capital, technology, countryside and productive areas.

The continent generally has the so they rely highly on railway transport.

In Russia and China a lot of emphasis has been put on the development of railways for freight purposes (transportation of goods and raw materials)


It’s one of the most important lines connecting Europe to Asia. It runs from Leningrad through Moscow up to the east to Port Vladivostok.


-It has improved the trade relations between Europe and Asia

-It has opened most of the parts of Siberia for settlement which were previously very remote

It transports goods and raw materials. E.g. the iron ore from western Siberia which is transported to the iron and steel industry found at Petrobsk.

-It has connected to the meaning farming parts of Ukraine thus promoting the development of agriculture

-It has led to the development of towns especially at parts where railways cross rivers – other existing towns have further developed e.g. Gorki, Moscow

-It has led to industrial development e.g. Food processing, textiles and saw mills

-It has stimulated the development of new ports e.g. Vladivostok

-It has opened up most remote parts of Siberia promoting own development.


The area is usually covered by snow because of the long winters and this reduces the utility of the railway network


Displacement of people

Due to the long distances the goods are sometimes smuggled or stolen by the railway robbers

There is usually congestion at the port due to the many goods that are imported or exported.


It has a dense network of rails in Asia. Most of the railways were constructed by colonialists in order to exploit their sugarcane, tea, rubber and jute.

Due to the high rate of development in India currently, the railways are becoming inadequate so new ones have been extended while others have been modifies through electrifications especially in industrialized state of Bengail.


Although it is small it has a dense network of railway which is mostly used for straights. Most lines are electrified and are noted for their speed and efficiency.


Most of the railways are concentrated in the wheat and meat producing areas of Argentina Pampas and coffee growing areas of south east Brazil.

The only trans-continental routes start from Buenes -Aires to Biljeraise through the Aedes. There is also a route that east from through Sao Paulo through Bolvia and hapaz.


Most of the network is new south waters while of trans-continental lines runs from Perth via Adelaide to Elbourne via Sydney



It has very few networks; most of them are found in South Africa. South Africa has the densest network of rails.

This is because its highly industrialized with many minerals as well as capital to construct the rails, otherwise the most of the network in Africa runs from mining or agriculture centers up to the coast.

Most of the railways are slow inefficient and have never been developed since the colonialists left Africa.

A few connections have been made like the trans-Cameroon railway that links several African countries and the Tanzam railway.



This is found in Tanzania and Zambia and runs from Kapiri Moshi in Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The railway covers a distance of about 1023 kms.

It was built with Chinese finance and technical assistance and was commissioned in 1975. The aims of the railway were:

  • To provide Zambia with an alternative route to the sea.

Independent struggles in Zimbabwe and Mozambique has seriously affected Zambia’s only sea route to Beira.

The Benguela railway to Labito in Angola was too long for economic use.

  • To open up the remote parts of southern Tanzania which were productive but largely lacked transport.


The railway line has provided land locked Zambia with a reliable access to the sea through its sister state Tanzania.

The railway line has opened up remote areas of southern Tanzania increasing productivity in the region e.g. of sugar and rice in the Kilombero valley has greatly increased

The railway has strengthened political and economic activities between Tanzania and Zambia

The line has stimulated the exploitation of minerals particularly copper from the copper belt of Zambia, coal and iron from southern Tanzania and DRC and minerals such as soda ash are exported via this route.

Stimulation of industrial growth has occurred since both the raw materials and manufactured goods can easily be acquired using railway transport.

Importation of heavy machinery and bulky oil imports has been made easier.

The development of the Tanzam railway has provided employment opportunities to drivers, technicians and casual labourers among others.

The line has also led to the growth of Dar es Salaam as a port as more imports are handled and better technologies have been put in place.

The railway has stimulated the growth of trading centers along its length thus urbanizing the remote south eg Mbeya.


Periodic congestion of shipping at Dar es Salaam which testifies to the inability of the railway to cope with the increasing flow of cargo and traffic handling facilities are also largely inadequate.

Serious delays usually occur making it unsuitable for perishable commodities ie it takes one month from Kapiri Mposhi back to Dar es Salaam.

Frequent break downs in the section of the railway line especially on the southern highlands of Tanzania which occur due to heavy rainfall resulting accidents.

There are holdups and robberies which result in loses.


This is the cheapest form of transport for bulky goods. It needs no special trucks except where there are canals.

It includes inland water ways like rivers, lakes and canals and it also has ocean trade routes. Oceans are open highway with natural barriers but most freight ships follow certain well defined routes.

ASSIGNMENT : TRANSPORT assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days

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