Transport can be described broadly as the movement of goods or people from an origin to a destination.
Transport is one of the most fundamental aspects of an advanced economy. Buildings cannot be constructed without transportation of materials and people, food must be transported from farms to shops, and people must travel to get to and from work, school, recreation and other facilities. Information about all aspects of transport and its support industries is vital to effective planning by governments and industry.
Transport also has enormous economic and social impact. While it generates substantial employment and contributes significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP), with numerous support industries ranging from automotive manufacturers to travel agencies, it also generates costs such as accidents, which can result in injury and loss of life, through to the inconvenience of traffic congestion.
The impact of transport on the environment ranks among the top issues of national community concern. Areas where transport directly or indirectly impacts on the environment include fuel emissions, noise pollution, impact on wildlife, and land and water pollution from spillages of dangerous cargoes. A number of these issues are discussed in the article Environmental impacts of Australia's transport system at the end of this section.
In addition to environmental aspects relating to transport, this chapter also covers issues surrounding domestic and international transportation of people and freight, safety, transport infrastructure and equipment, and transport organisations. The modes of transportation discussed in this section are those of road, rail, sea and air.