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Urban Air Mobility Glossary

Our UAM Glossary is a collaborative effort from many industry experts.

If you have suggestions of changes or new terms to be added,

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Transportation refers to the method of movement of people, animals or goods from one place to another. In essence, transport is the means to move objects between locations. 


Early Transportation 

Transportation has been a fundamental aspect of the human lifestyle providing various means of travel for centuries. It has played a vital role in establishing cultural diversity and biodiversity. 


Initiating from the nomadic settlers who would migrate to new settlements across the globe, transportation also allowed the transfer of goods and produce across continents. The introduction of various transport modes has several economic benefits, as it enables migration of the workforce between various regions. Transport also became a key enabler for cultural exchange and tourism, as people were able to travel not only locally but also internationally.  


Transportation covers the travel on land, air and sea, consisting of the more innovative as well as more established forms of travel. In the early centuries people would travel on foot to reach their destination often taking days or even weeks and months. Later on, we saw the use of animals such as horses, camels, donkeys and elephants as transport means. 


This had further incorporated palanquins in the Asian subcontinent and carriages from the early centuries. Between 2500-2600 BCE, sea travel consisted of a variety of marine vehicles: from small boats for local travel across rivers, to ships in the 30th Century BC which paved the way for discovery and exploration and economic trade.


Modern transportation

With the expansion of civilization and the establishment of economic trade, many people, flora and fauna had migrated across the oceans. Forms of transport have been subject to continuous development and improvement, with new concepts being introduced with modern technology. 


Road transport now includes means like cars, buses and trains; underground services are popular in many urban areas around the world; boats and ships are still used for sea travel, whereas aeroplanes and helicopters represent the air transport. Although the early rail transport operated as steam trains, over time it developed to become electric. Aircraft, cars and other road vehicles are now being designed to be fully electric or hybrid electric, with a shift in fuel sources from crude oil and fossil fuels to renewable and sustainable options. 


The transport infrastructure has also developed over time, which has allowed for increased connectivity and faster travel as opposed to the early transportation modes. This has largely been made possible by railway and motorway establishments, offering services through high speed rails and underground trains


Transportation in Urban Air Mobility

Transportation is continuously evolving and expanding with air transport and road transport heading towards electrification. The latest advancements in technology and new vehicle designs have introduced new modes of transport, which are set to not only be economically viable but also environmentally friendly. 


Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles can be classed as the latest developments in aerial transport technology, in most cases operating on electric power sources as well as being carbon-neutral. UAM infrastructure holds the potential to enhance and complement existing transportation solutions, providing a means of safe, fast and sustainable travel.


Over the many centuries, transport and the ways of travelling have evolved, yet the need and want to travel remain unchanged. UAM, once implemented on mass scale, will become an addition to existing transport solutions, delivering a real version of what was depicted in sci-fi movies or sitcoms like 'The Jetsons' for a number of decades. 



Sources and suggested reading

  1. Transportation | Definition & Facts -Encyclopedia Britannica

  2. Planes, Trains and Automobiles: The History of Transportation - Leland West 

  3. Transport Timeline - Black Country Living Museum 

  4. The History of Public Bus Transportation - GOGO Charters

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