Chapter 8 Transport and Communication Class 12 Geography Notes

Chapter 8 Transport and Communication Notes for Class 12 Geography will make you aware of the all the topics and ensure consistency in the preparation level. Through the help of Revision Notes you can cover plethora of interesting topics in an engaging way. NCERT Solutions for Chapter 8 Transport and Communication will be useful in cross checking answers and also whether students learned it properly or not.

Chapter 8 Transport and Communication Class 12 Geography Notes

Chapter 8 Transport and Communication Class 12 Geography Notes


• Transport is a service or facility for the carriage of persons and goods from one place to the other using humans, animals and different kinds of vehicles. Such movements take place over land, water and air.

• Roads and railways form part of land transport; while shipping and waterways and airways are the other two modes. Pipelines carry materials like petroleum, natural gas, and ores in liquidified form.

• Several places (nodes) joined together by a series of routes (links) to form a pattern is a transport network.

Modes of Transportation

• The principal modes of world transportation are land, water, air and pipelines.

• International movement of goods is handled by ocean freighters. Road transport is cheaper and faster over short distances and for door-to- door services. Railways are most suited for large volumes of bulky materials over long distances within a country. High-value, light and perishable goods are best moved by airways.

Land Transport

• Most of the movement of goods and services takes place over land.

• With the invention of the wheel, the use of carts and wagons became important.

• The revolution in transport came about after the invention of the steam engine in the eighteenth century.

• The first public railway line was opened in 1825 between Stockton and Darlington in northern England and then onwards, railways became the most popular and fastest form of transport in the nineteenth century.

• Among the newer developments in land transportation are pipelines, ropeways and cableways. Liquids like mineral oil, water, sludge and sewers are transported by pipelines.


• Road transport is the most economical for short distances compared to railways.

• Freight transport by road is gaining importance because it offers door-to-door service.

• During the rainy season, unmetalled roads become unmotorable and even the metalled ones are seriously handicapped during heavy rains and floods.

• The world’s total motorable road length is only about 15 million km, of which North America accounts for 33 per cent. 

• When the road network cannot cope with the demands of traffic, congestion occurs. City roads suffer from chronic traffic congestion. Peaks (high points) and troughs (low points) of traffic flow can be seen on roads at particular times of the day.


• Highways are metalled roads connecting distant places. They are constructed in a manner for
unobstructed vehicular movement. 

• These are 80 m wide, with separate traffic lanes, bridges, flyovers and dual carriageways to facilitate uninterrupted traffic flow.

• In developed countries, every city and port town is linked through highways.

• In North America, highway density is high, about 0.65 km per sq km. Cities located on the Pacific coast (west) are well-connected with those of the Atlantic Coast (east). 

• Likewise, the cities of Canada in the north are linked with those of Mexico in the south. Canadian Highway links Vancouver in British Columbia(west coast) to St. John’s City in Newfoundland (east coast) and the Alaskan Highway links Edmonton (Canada) to Anchorage (Alaska).

• The Trans-Continental Stuart Highway connects Darwin (north coast) and Melbourne via Tennant Creek and Alice Springs in Australia.

• Europe has a large number of vehicles and a well-developed highway network.

• In Russia, a dense highway network is developed in the industrialised region west of the Urals with Moscow as the hub. The important Moscow-Vladivostok Highway serves the region to the east.

• In China, highways criss-cross the country connecting all major cities such as Tsungtso (near Vietnam boundary), Shanghai (central China), Guangzhou (south) and Beijing (north).

• In Africa, a highway joins Algiers in the north to Conakry in Guinea.

• In India, there are many highways linking the major towns and cities.
→ National Highway No. 7 (NH 7), connecting Varanasi with Kanya Kumari, is the longest in the country.
→ The Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) or Super Expressway is underway to connect the four metropolitan cities — New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

Border Roads

• Roads laid along international boundaries are called border roads. They play an important role in integrating people in remote areas with major cities and providing defence.

• Almost all countries have such roads to transport goods to border villages and military camps.


• Railways are a mode of land transport for bulky goods and passengers over long distances.

• Europe has one of the most dense rail networks in the world. Belgium has the highest density of 1 km of railway for every 6.5 sq kms area.

• Passenger transport is more important than freight in many of these countries. Underground railways are important in London and Paris.

• Channel Tunnel, operated by Euro Tunnel Group through England, connects London with Paris.

• Trans-continental railway lines have now lost their importance to quicker and more flexible transport systems of airways and roadways.

• In Russia, railways account for about 90 percent of the country’s total transport with a very dense network west of the Urals. 

• North America has one of the most extensive rail networks accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the world’s total.

• The most dense rail network is found in the highly industrialised and urbanised region of East Central U.S.A. and adjoining Canada.

• In Canada, railways are in the public sector and distributed all over the sparsely populated areas.

• The west-east Australian National Railway line runs across the country from Perth to Sydney. New Zealand’s railways are mainly in the North Island to serve the farming areas.

• In South America, the rail network is the most dense in two regions, namely, the Pampas of Argentina and the coffee growing region of Brazil which together account for 40 per cent of South America’s total route length.

• Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela have short single-track rail-lines from ports to the interior with no inter-connecting links.

• In Asia, rail network is the most dense in the thickly populated areas of Japan, China and India. Other countries have relatively few rail routes.

• Africa continent, despite being the second largest, has only 40,000 km of railways with South Africa alone accounting for 18,000 km due to the concentration of gold, diamond and copper mining activities.

Trans–Continental Railways

• Trans–continental railways run across the continent and link its two ends. They were constructed for economic and political reasons to facilitate long runs in different directions. 

• The following are the most important of these:

A trans–siberian Railways major rail route of Russia runs from St. Petersburg in the west to Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast in the east passing through Moscow, Ufa, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Chita and Khabarovsk. It is the most important route in Asia and the longest (9,332 km) double-tracked and electrified trans–continental railway in the world.

Trans–Canadian Railways is 7,050 km long rail-line in Canada runs from Halifax in the east to Vancouver on the Pacific Coast passing through Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Calgary was
constructed in 1886. It connected the Quebec-Montreal Industrial Region with the wheat belt of the Prairie Region and the Coniferous Forest region in the north.

The Union and Pacific Railway connects New York on the Atlantic Coast to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast passing through Cleveland, Chicago, Omaha, Evans, Ogden and Sacramento. The most valuable exports on this route are ores, grain, paper, chemicals and machinery.

The Australian Trans–Continental Railway runs west-east across the southern part of the continent from Perth on the west coast, to Sydney on the east coast. passing through Kalgoorlie, Broken Hill and Port Augusta. Another major north-south line connects Adelaide and Alice Spring and to be joined further to the Darwin–Birdum line.

The Orient Express runs from Paris to Istanbul passing through Strasbourg, Munich, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade. The chief exports on this rail-route are cheese, bacon, oats, wine, fruits, and

Water Transport

• The oceans are linked with each other and are negotiable with ships of various sizes.

• The energy cost of water transportation is lower. Water transport is divided into sea routes and inland waterways.

Sea Routes

• The oceans offer a smooth highway traversable in all directions with no maintenance costs.

• Modern passenger liners (ships) and cargo ships are equipped with radar, wireless and other
navigation aids.

• The development of refrigerated chambers for perishable goods, tankers and specialised ships has also improved cargo transport. The use of containers has made cargo handling at the world’s major ports easier.

Important Sea Routes

• The Northern Atlantic Sea Route: This links North-eastern U.S.A. and North- western Europe, the two industrially developed regions of the world. One fourth of the world’s foreign trade moves on this route. It is, therefore, the busiest in the world and called the Big Trunk Route.

• The Mediterranean–Indian Ocean Sea Route: This sea route passes through the heart of the Old World. Port Said, Aden, Mumbai, Colombo and Singapore are some of the important ports on this route.

• The Cape of Good Hope Sea Route: This trade route connects the highly industrialised Western European region with West Africa, South Africa, South-east Asia and the commercial agriculture and livestock economies of Australia and New Zealand.

• The Southern Atlantic Sea Route: Another important one across the Atlantic Ocean which connects West European and West African countries with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in South America. The traffic is far less on this route because of the limited development and population in South America and Africa.

• The North Pacific Sea Route: This sea route links the ports on the west- coast of North America with those of Asia. These are Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles on the American side and Yokohama, Kobe, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore on the Asian side.

• The South Pacific Sea Route: This sea route connects Western Europe and North America with Australia, New Zealand and the scattered Pacific islands via the Panama Canal. This route is also used for reaching Hong Kong, Philippines and Indonesia.

• Coastal Shipping: Coastal shipping is a convenient mode of transportation with long coastlines, e.g. U.S.A, China and India. Shenzhen States in Europe are most suitably placed for coastal shipping connecting one member’s coast with the other.

Shipping Canals

The Suez and the Panama Canals are two vital man-made navigation canals or waterways which serve as gateways of commerce for both the eastern and western worlds.

• The Suez Canal: This canal had been constructed in 1869 in Egypt between Port Said in the north and Port Suez in the south linking the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It gives Europe a new gateway to the Indian Ocean and reduces direct sea-route distance between Liverpool and Colombo compared to the Cape of Good Hope route. About 100 ships travel daily and each ship takes 10-12 hours to cross this canal. 

• The Panama Canal: This canal connects the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. It has been constructed across the Panama Isthmus between Panama City and Colon by the U.S. government which purchased 8 km of area on either side and named it the Canal Zone. It shortens the distance between New York and San Francisco by 13,000 km by sea.

Inland Waterways

• Rivers, canals, lakes and coastal areas have been important waterways since time immemorial.

• The development of inland waterways is dependent on the navigability width and depth of the channel, continuity in the water flow, and transport technology in use.

• Riverways lost importance because of competition from railways, lack of water due to diversion for irrigation, and their poor maintenance.

• Despite inherent limitations, many rivers have been modified to enhance their navigability by dredging, stabilising river banks, and building dams and barrages for regulating the flow of water.

The Rhine Waterways

• The Rhine flows through Germany and the Netherlands. It is navigable for 700 km from Rotterdam, at its mouth in the Netherlands to Basel in Switzerland. 

• The Ruhr river joins the Rhine from the east. Dusseldorf is the Rhine port for this region.

• This waterway is the world’s most heavily used. It connects the industrial areas of Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands with the North Atlantic Sea Route.

The Danube Waterway

• This important inland waterway serves Eastern Europe.

• The Danube river rises in the Black Forest and flows eastwards through many countries. It is navigable up to Taurna Severin.

• The chief export items are wheat, maize, timber, and machinery.

The Volga Waterway

• Russia has a large number of developed waterways, of which the Volga is one of the most important.

• It provides a navigable waterway of 11,200 km and drains into the Caspian Sea.

• The Volga-Moscow Canal connects it with the Moscow region and the Volga-Don Canal with the Black Sea.

The Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway

• The Great Lakes of North America Superior, Huron Erie and Ontario are connected by Soo Canal and Welland Canal to form an inland waterway.

• The ports on this route like Duluth and Buffalo are equipped with all facilities of ocean ports.

The Mississippi Waterways

• The Mississippi-Ohio waterway connects the interior part of U.S.A. with the Gulf of Mexico in the south. Large steamers can go through this route up to Minneapolis.

Air Transport

• Air transport is the fastest means of transportation, but it is very costly thus, it is preferred by passengers for long-distance travel.

• It is often the only means to reach inaccessible areas.

• The manufacturing of aircrafts and their operations require elaborate infrastructure like hangars, landing, fuelling, and maintenance facilities for the aircrafts.

• The construction of airports is also very expensive and has developed more in highly industrialised countries where there is a large volume of traffic.

• Today, more than 250 commercial airlines offer regular services to different parts of the world.

• Supersonic aircraft, cover the distance between London and New York within three and a half hours.

Inter-Continental Air Routes

• Inter-Continental Air RoutesNorthern Hemisphere has developed distinct routes because of demand. USA accounts for 60% of traffic. New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Rome, Moscow, Dubai, Doha, Tokyo, San Francisco, Delhi, Mumbai, Singapore, Sydney, Chicago are nodal points for air routes.

•​ Africa, Asiatic part of Russia and South America lack air services.

• There are limited air services between 10-35 latitudes in the Southern hemisphere due to sparser population, limited landmass and economic development.


•​ Pipelines are used extensively to transport liquids and gases such as water, petroleum and natural gas for an uninterrupted flow.

•​ In U.S.A. there is a dense network of oil pipelines from the producing areas to the consuming areas.

•​ Big Inch is one such famous pipeline, which carries petroleum from the oil wells of the Gulf of Mexico to the North-eastern States. About 17 per cent of all freight per tonne-km. is carried through pipelines in U.S.A.

•​ In Europe, Russia, West Asia and India pipelines are used to connect oil wells to refineries, and to ports or domestic markets.


•​ Human beings have used different methods long-distance communications of which the telegraph and the telephone were important.

•​ Today-phenomenal development has been possible due to the use of optic fiber cables (OFC). They allow large volume of data to be transmitted rapidly, securely and are virtually error free.

•​ With the digitisation of information in the 1990s, telecommunication slowly merged with computers to form integrated networks termed as Internet.

Satellite Communication

•​ Internet is the largest electronic network. This form became important since 1970s after USA and the then USSR pioneered space research.

•​ Artificial satellites connect the remote corners of the globe. This has rendered the unit cost and time of communication invariant in terms of distance – and has brought down the cost.

•​ India has also made great strides in satellite development:

→ Aryabhatt was launched on 19 April 1979, Bhaskar-I in 1979 and Rohini in 1980.

→ On 18 June 1981, APPLE (Arian Passenger Payload Experiment) was launched through Arian rocket.

→ Bhaskar, Challenger and INSAT–1-B have made long distance communication.(T.V. radio) very effective in India.

Cyber Space – Internet

•​ Cyberspace is the world of electronic computerised space.

•​ It is the electronic digital world for communicating or accessing information over computer networks without physical movement of the sender and the receiver.

•​ As billions use the Internet each year, cyberspace will expand the contemporary economic and social space of humans through e-mail, e-commerce, e-learning and e-governance.

• ​Internet together with fax, television and radio will be accessible to more and more people cutting across place and time.
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