The Geography of Transport Systems

297 Pages · 2006 · 3.43 MB · English

  • The Geography of Transport Systems

    The Geography of Transport


    Mobility is fundamental to economic and social activities, including commuting,

    manufacturing or supplying energy. Transport systems composed of infrastructures,

    modes and terminals are so embedded in the socio-economic life of individuals,

    institutions and corporations that they are often invisible to the consumer. Understanding

    how mobility is linked with geography is the main purpose of this valuable and accessible


    The Geography of Transport Systems, concerned with movements of freight, people

    and information, tries to link spatial constraints and attributes with the origin, the

    destination, the extent, the nature and the purpose of movements. It is divided into nine

    chapters, each covering a specifi c conceptual dimension, including:

    • Networks

    Modes and terminals

    International transportation

    Urban transportation

    Environmental impacts

    Each chapter also covers methodologies linked with transport geography such as

    accessibility, spatial interactions, graph theory and geographic information systems for


    This student-friendly book provides a comprehensive introduction to the fi eld, with a

    broad overview of its concepts, methods and areas of application. It is highly illustrated

    with over 100 fi gures and tables and includes an extensive glossary.

    Jean-Paul Rodrigue is an Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of

    Economics and Geography at Hofstra University, USA.

    Claude Comtois is Professor of Geography at the University of Montreal, Canada.

    Brian Slack is Professor of Geography at Concordia University, Canada. The Geography of Transport


    Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Claude Comtois

    and Brian Slack First published 2006

    by Routledge

    2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN

    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada

    by Routledge

    270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016

    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2006.

    “To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s

    collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”

    Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

    © 2006 Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Claude Comtois and Brian Slack

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any

    form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented,

    including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system,

    without permission in writing from the publishers.

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Rodrigue, Jean-Paul, 1967–

    The geography of transport systems / Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Claude Comtois, and

    Brian Slack.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    1. Transportation geography. I. Comtois, Claude, 1954– II. Slack, Brian, 1939–

    III. Title.

    HE323.R63 2006

    388.01–dc22 2005029803

    ISBN10: 0–415–35440–4 (hbk)

    ISBN10: 0–415–35441–2 (pbk)

    ISBN10: 0–203–00111–7 (ebk)

    ISBN13: 978–0–415–35440–0 (hbk)

    ISBN13: 978–0–415–35441–7 (pbk)

    ISBN13: 978–0–203–00111–0 (ebk) To Gordana, Mabel and Suzanne Contents

    Preface viii

    Chapter 1 Transportation and geography 1

    Chapter2 Transportation systems and networks 38

    Chapter3 Economic and spatial structure of transport systems 74

    Chapter4 Transportation modes 101

    Chapter5 Transport terminals 126

    Chapter6 International and regional transportation 144

    Chapter7 Urban transportation 171

    Chapter8 Transport and environment 204

    Chapter9 Transport planning and policy 227

    Chapter10 Conclusion: Issues and challenges in transport geography 246

    Glossary 252

    Index 276 Preface

    Transportation is concerned with mobility, particularly how this mobility is taking place

    in the context of a wide variety of conditions. Mobility is a geographical endeavor since

    it trades space for a cost. Technological and economic forces have changed this balance

    many times in the past, but in recent decades a growing amount of space has been made

    accessible at a similar cost. It is thus not surprising to realize that at the same time

    that technology permitted improvements in transport speed, capacity and effi ciency,

    individuals and corporations have been able to take advantage of this improved mobility.

    A driving force of the global economy resides in the capacity of transport systems to

    ship large quantities of freight and to accommodate vast numbers of passengers. The

    world has become interconnected at several scales. This new geographical dimension

    transcends a more traditional perspective of transportation mainly focused on the city or

    the nation. At the beginning of the twenty-fi rst century, the geography of transportation

    is thus fundamentally being redefi ned by global, regional and local issues.

    Presenting these issues to students or the public remains a challenging task. This book

    has specifi cally been designed with this in mind. Its origins are rather unusual since it

    began in 1997 as an online initiative to provide material about transport geography and

    was simply titled ‘Transport Geography on the Web’. The material was considerably

    revised and expanded over the years, often thanks to comments and queries we received,

    as the site gained a wider audience. It has already endured the test of being exposed to

    the scrutiny of a global audience including practitioners, policy makers, educators and,

    most importantly, students. For many years and as these words were written, the site

    ranked fi rst in Google under the topic of transport geography, implying its popularity

    as a trusted source of information. Its contents are appearing in a growing number of

    transport-related curriculums underlining the relevance of the material covered and that

    a demand was being fulfi lled. The step of moving to a textbook was a natural one,

    especially after receiving many requests in this direction.

    The textbook is articulated along two core approaches to transport geography, one

    conceptual and the other methodological. The conceptual parts present what we think

    are some of the most relevant issues explaining contemporary transport geography. In

    addition to the more conventional topics related to transport modes, terminals, as well

    as urban transportation, the book also substantially focuses on emerging issues such as

    globalization, logistics and the environment. Many, if not all, of these issues have been

    superfi cially covered in the past, but their importance cannot be underestimated in a

    transport geography that involves an increasingly integrated world.

    The methodological parts address how transportation information is used to assist

    transport operators allocate their resources (investments, vehicles) or to infl uence public

    policy. This includes a wide array of methods ranging from qualitative to quantitative.

    Since transport is a fi eld of application, the use of methodologies is particularly relevant

    as they relate to real world issues. The merging between methodologies and information

    technologies has led to many new opportunities, notably with the emergence of Preface • ix

    transportation geographic information systems (GIS-T). It has become a very active

    fi eld of investigation and application.

    It is our hope that the reader will have a better understanding of the nature, function

    and challenges of contemporary transportation systems. The online companion site will

    ensure that this book will not be a static endeavor and will be revised and updated as

    changes take place in this fascinating fi eld which is transport geography.

    New York, January 2006

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