Transportation is the movement of people, animals and goods between any two locations in the world, or even outside of it. Types of transportation includes air, sea, land, underground and space, with differing methods on achieving the task for each type of medium.
The transportation sector requires a lot of energy to operate. The fuel usage of vehicles contributes to approximately 31% of Canada's total energy use. Most vehicles require secondary fuels like gasoline, diesel or jet fuel in order to run smoothly and efficiently. These fuels are derived from primary fuels like crude oil or natural gas, which requires effort and therefore more energy.
Early transportation in human history could only be achieved by walking or swimming, but animals were eventually domesticated in order to make this task easier. Horses are thought to be domesticated between 4000 - 3000 BC, and camels between 3000 - 2000 BC. Wheels and canoes were developed shortly after, which progressed the movement of goods throughout the world.
As society advanced, the exchange of goods, exploration to foreign countries, and eventually migration became a more practical and less expensive task, which further advanced economies and quality of life. Until the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution, transportation remained fairly slow and costly. With the Industrial Revolution came advancements in the study of thermodynamics, in which people realized that heat can be made to produce useful work (see mechanical equivalent of heat). This led to the use of steam in order to power the first heat engines, which were extremely inefficient external combustion engines, but the use of them allowed for vast progression in material goods and rapidly growing economies. Canada relied on the railway system for the majority of its early transportation, and it was a key factor in growth of the nation.
With the development of the internal combustion engine in the early 20th century, road transportation became much more feasible, and eventually by the 1970s a good portion of families owned a motor vehicle. The world currently relies tremendously on transportation, and it consumes a large portion of the world's primary energy.
The transportation sector relies on three separate elements that are all connected and rely on each other.
This visualization shows how much of the world's total final consumption is used by each industry. Transportation makes up close to a third of this. Specific countries may also be searched for by use of the search bar. Click on the black bar beside "Transport" below to see how the use of this energy is split up within the sector.
The fact that transportation uses so much energy is concerning for the environment, as most types of transport burn fossil fuels which create pollution and contribute to global warming. The transportation sector has the fastest growing carbon emissions of any sector, with some 67 million new cars being produced each year. Improving fuel economy and the use of "greener" vehicles such as hybrid cars and electric vehicles can reduce CO2 emissions, however these vehicles still have associated emissions due to those from their production and the electricity they must use (see Long tail-pipe problem).