What is a transportation system?

The transportation system is the system of moving vehicles with goods and persons. It consists of three basic elements:

  • The vehicle- The vehicle is used to move people or goods from one place to another. It has a mobility characteristic that is supported by some motor power or any automated technology.
  • The guideway- The guideway is where the vehicle moves. It consists of nodes and links which connect and form transportation systems.
  • The operations- The operations plan is made for the vehicle to move on the guideway and terminal. A terminal is a node where all traffic moves from one vehicle to another. The operations consist of scheduling timetables, and control systems of the transport systems.

The transportation system has different transportation networks for simplicity, such as vehicles or equipment on guideways can be classified as automobiles that operate on roadways like cars and trucks. Aerial vehicles are airplanes, vehicles on railway tracks are trains, and on the water are known as ships. A guideway is located either on or under the surface of the Earth. It is also known as a surface or ground transportation system. It comprises of roadways, railways, and guideways in both air and water. The operations plan consists of scheduling and timetables of the transportation systems to avoid any congestion in traffic or signals on the road or freight of vehicles.

Roles and effects of the transportation system

The transportation system can further be classified as private and public transportation systems. For instance, freight railroads are owned and operational by the government of India but in many countries, they are owned by public authorities. Airlines are also owned by both public and private organizations. The following are the roles played by the transport systems:

  • Vehicles have made our mobility more convenient and travel times are reduced.
  • Shipment of goods is easy and the cost is reduced due to new development in the technology of transportation.
  • Due to the transport system, the regional market expanded and transit became easy, resulting in increased efficiency of the people.
  • Social and economic opportunities are increased.

With so many positive aspects of transportation, negative effects also come to light. Traffic congestion and poor traffic management play an important role in decreasing the efficiency of the transport system. Traffic congestion of any mode results in the wastage of time and resources. Congestion occurs when the demand for the use of a transport system exceeds the supply or capacity of a particular mode, resulting in heavy traffic congestion.

One of the major effects of the transport system is pollution, which affects our environment in numerous ways. Atmospheric emissions by vehicle are hazardous for all the living beings on the earth.

cargo shipping yard
CC BY 3.0 | Image credits: https://en.wikipedia.org | Alexey Seleznev

AASHTO Committee on Transportation Systems and Operations (CSTO)

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials or AASHTO is a non-profit organization of transportation that includes 50 states. It is responsible for the integration of all the transport systems by land, air, and water transportation. It is responsible for the development, security, and operations of the transport system. AASHTO transportation system is the guidance that is self-accessed web-based for the operational and management of roadway systems. It focuses on intelligent transportation systems and fast-growing technology which focuses on safety, system security, and reliability on highway system performance. This committee transforms the national transportation community into a transportation systems management and operations (TSMO) and guides the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America). AASHTO deals with highway transportation and safety of commercial vehicles, size, weight, and coordinates with the commercial vehicle industries and transportation agencies regarding the design standards of the motor vehicle operations. It advises on transportation-related communication equipment, operations-related cybersecurity, handling of telecommunication matters in front of federal agencies.

Subcommittee comprises members who work in groups for freight operations, operation strategies, and operations implementation. This subcommittee shares information regarding state DOT and how its managing mobility and performance-based operations are affected by the emerging TSMO.

Transport systems management

Transport system management is the logistic form of supplying goods both incoming and outgoing in a technical platform which also helps in planning business, execution, and optimizing the shipment with proper documentation. It provides visibility of day-to-day operations, documentation, and timely delivery of goods and freight. It makes the management of the long-term shipping process easier by tracking shipments, communicating with carriers, and optimization of operations whether they are by water, land, or air. There are main 5 stakeholders involved in the transport system management who are the decision-makers of the transit. They are the shipper, the receiver, agents, and carriers.

Basis of transportation infrastructure

Transport system management is used daily by businesses that ship, receive, or move goods. Manufacturers, distributors, e-commerce companies are its main users across the globe. It is used by every small-scale to large-scale businessman and industrialist. Transportation infrastructure works on an intermodal and multimodal framework.

Intermodal transportation

This is the type of transportation in which goods are supplied by using multiple modes of transportation which can be land, air, or water, without removing the asset from the container in which it is packed in.

Multimodal transportation

In multimodal transportation, goods are supplied using various shipping modes and in the coordination of integrated transportation under a unified bill. Different carriers are moving it such as trucks, ships, or aircraft that are engaged for a single destination.

traffic system with ERP technology
CC BY-SA 3.0 | Image credits: https://en.wikipedia.org | Mailer_diablo

Benefits of Transport Systems and Management (TSM)

  • Reduced business costs.
  • Modes, chains, and supplies are simplified.
  • Accurate billing and documentation.
  • Security of goods especially during transit.
  • Export and import compliance is improved with fewer shipment delays.
  • Customer satisfaction and customer service with real-time updates even during transit.
  • Track regional as well as global freight.

Context and Applications

Transportation systems management is playing a very important role in present transportation networks. TSMO and ITS America deal with the real-time problems faced by transport systems, by using their automated technology. Intelligent transportation systems with the help of traffic management changed the infrastructure of the transportation system. TSMO covers a very vast and detailed topic in the subject, transport system and planning.

This topic is studied in courses like:

  • Bachelors in Technology (Civil engineering)
  • Masters in Technology (Transportation engineering)

Practice Problems

Q 1. What does TSMO stand for?

  1. Transport supply management organization
  2. Transport supply management operations
  3. Transportation systems management and operations
  4. Transportation systems management organization

Correct option- c

Explanation- TSMO stands for transportation systems management and operations.

Q 2. Which of the following is an advantage of the transportation system and management?

  1. Environmental pollution
  2. Security in asset transit
  3. Slow mobility of shipment
  4. Non-reliability

Correct option- b

Explanation- Transportation systems and management provide security for the asset or goods in transit.

Q 3. Which of the following software is used by transport systems and management?

  1. Structural analysis and design software (STAAD)
  2. Enterprise resource planning (ERP)
  3. Ansys
  4. Midas

Correct option: b

Explanation- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the software used for the implementation of transport system management. All the other options are structural designing software.

Q 4. Which one of the following is not a component of the transportation system?

  1. Vehicle
  2. Roadway
  3. Building infrastructure
  4. Operations

Correct option- c

Explanation- Building infrastructure is not a component of the transportation system, it is more of the component of construction.

Q 5. How often do American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) committee meetings take place in a year?

  1. Six times
  2. Eight times
  3. Two times
  4. Five times

Correct option- d

Explanation- On an average, AASHTO committee meetings take place five times a year.

  • ITS America
  • Transportation management system
  • TSMO

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