The Geography of Transport Systems

3rd Edition

By Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Claude Comtois, Brian Slack

© 2013 – Routledge

416 pages | 132 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415822541
pub: 2013-06-19
US Dollars$64.95
Hardback: 9780415822534
pub: 2013-06-19
US Dollars$190.00

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About the Book

Mobility is fundamental to economic and social activities such as commuting, manufacturing, or supplying energy. Each movement has an origin, a potential set of intermediate locations, a destination, and a nature which is linked with geographical attributes. 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. This is paradoxical as the perceived invisibility of transportation is derived from its efficiency. Understanding how mobility is linked with geography is main the purpose of this book.

The third edition of The Geography of Transport Systems has been revised and updated to provide an overview of the spatial aspects of transportation. This text provides greater discussion of security, energy, green logistics, as well as new and updated case studies, a revised content structure, and new figures. Each chapter covers a specific conceptual dimension including networks, modes, terminals, freight transportation, urban transportation and environmental impacts. A final chapter contains core methodologies linked with transport geography such as accessibility, spatial interactions, graph theory and Geographic Information Systems for transportation (GIS-T).

This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the field, with a broad overview of its concepts, methods, and areas of application. The accompanying website for this text contains a useful additional material, including digital maps, PowerPoint slides, databases, and links to further reading and websites. The website can be accessed at: This text is an essential resource for undergraduates studying transport geography, as well as those interest in economic and urban geography, transport planning and engineering.


'I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who has doubts about the domains of transport geography and/or transport geographers’ contributions to the contemporary world. This book covers essential concepts and methods in transport geography. Its breadth is truly amazing.' Professor Becky P.Y. Loo, The University of Hong Kong

'This is a timely update of a book that outlines key concepts from transport geography in a detailed and rigorous manner. It offers an invaluable resource for undergraduate courses and an excellent reference book for anybody interested in transport geography.' Dr Tim Schwanen, University of Oxford, UK

'The Geography of Transport Systems provides an up-to-date and thorough text for introductory courses in Transportation Geography. With both conceptual and methodological elements, this book provides students with qualitative and quantitative tools for approaching analyses of transport systems. Whether their interests are economic, social, or environmental, students will find material in this accessible text to meet their needs.' Kevin Curtin, George Mason University, USA

'This is a well-structured textbook for transportation geography. It effectively covers almost all geographical aspects of transportation systems. For each chapter, the concept-method organization is very useful for students to understand the theoretical aspects of transportation and how these theories can be applied in practice. The contents covered in this book are highly relevant to current research and practice.' Dr. Changshan Wu, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Transportation and Geography Concepts: 1. What is Transport Geography? 2. Transportation and Space; 3. Transportation and Commercial Geography; 4. The Geography of Transportation Networks Case Study: Strategic Maritime Passages Chapter 2. Transportation and the Spatial Structure Concepts: 1. Historical Geography of Transportation; 2. Transport and Spatial Organization; 3. Transport and Location; 4. Future Transportation Case Study: High Speed Rail Systems Chapter 3. Transportation Modes Concepts: 1. A Diversity of Modes; 2. Intermodal Transportation; 3. Passengers and Freight: Complementarity and Competition Case Study: Information Technologies and Mobility Chapter 4. Transportation Terminals Concepts: 1. The Function of Transport Terminals; 2. The Location of Terminals; 3. Transport Terminal Governance Case Study: Inland Ports Chapter 5. International Trade and Freight Distribution Concepts: 1. Transportation, Globalization and International Trade; 2. Commodity Chains and Freight Transportation; 3. Logistics Case Study: Commodity Chain Analysis: The Cold Chain Chapter 6. Urban Transportation Concepts: 1. Transportation and Urban Form; 2. Urban Land Use and Transportation; 3. Urban Mobility; 4. Urban Transport Problems Case Study: City Logistics Chapter 7. Transportation and the Economy Concepts: 1. Transport and Economic Development; 2. Transport Costs; 3. Transport Supply and Demand Case Study: The Cruise Industry Chapter 8. Transport, Energy and Environment Concepts: 1. Transport and Energy; 2. The Environmental Impacts of Transportation; 3. Transport and Sustainability Case Study: Green Logistics Chapter 9. Transport Planning and Policy Concepts: 1. The Nature of Transport Policy; 2. Transport Planning; 3. Transport Safety and Security; 4. Transportation and Disasters Case Study: Security, Transport and Health Planning: The Challenge of Pandemics Chapter 10. Methods in Transport Geography 1. Methods in Transport Geography; 2. Definition and Properties of Graph Theory; 3. Measures and Indices of Graph Theory; 4. Geographic Information Systems for Transportation (GIS-T); 5. The Notion of Accessibility; 6. Network Data Models; 7. Technical and Economic Performance Indicators; 8. Gini Coefficient; 9. Spatial Interactions and the Gravity Model; 10. Market Area Analysis; 11. The Policy Process. Conclusion: Issues and Challenges in Transport Geography Glossary

About the Authors

Jean-Paul Rodrigue is Professor in the Department of Geography and Global Studies at Hofstra University, New York. His research interests primarily cover issues related to freight transportation, logistics and globalization, particularly over North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Pacific Asia.

Claude Comtois is Professor of Geography at the University of Montreal, Canada, and is affiliated with the Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation at the same institution.

Brian Slack is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography