Passenger Transport

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Passenger Transport


the conveyance of people by various means of transportation. Passenger transport systems operate on the intracity, suburban, intercity, and international (including intercontinental) levels. Passenger traffic is described in terms of the number of passengers carried and the total volume of passenger-kilometers, that is, the product of the number of passengers and distance traveled.

For intracity passenger service, buses, trolleybuses, streetcars, taxis, and water and rail transport are used. Large cities, with more than 1 million residents, may also have subways. Rail and bus transport predominate in surburban transit systems, longdistance travel is mainly by railroad and air, and intercontinental travel is mainly by air and sea. The scale of passenger transport has been systematically increasing owing to the development of the social division of labor and to growth in the volume of production, in population, and in the size of cities. World passenger traffic, according to approximate calculations, increased 15.6 times, from 530 billion to 8,270 billion passenger-kilometers, in the period from 1913 to 1970. The USSR experienced a somewhat greater increase, from 32.7 billion passenger-kilometers in 1913 to 553.1 billion in 1970. These figures, which do not include data on urban electric transport and private automobiles, indicate that in the USSR passenger traffic has increased by a factor of 16.8 since 1913.

In 1913 nearly 98 percent of world passenger traffic was carried by public transport, chiefly railroads and urban electric transport. Passenger transport by automobile and air has increased especially rapidly. The proportion of motor vehicle transport in world passenger traffic rose from 3.4 percent in 1913 to 74.7 percent in 1970, and the proportion of air transport rose from 0.1 percent in 1937 to 6.5 percent in 1970. Approximately 60 percent (in the USA more than 90 percent) of all passenger traffic is transported by private automobile.

The development of motor vehicle transport has led to a number of negative consequences, including congestion of main thoroughfares at peak hours, increased number of accidents, and air pollution. For this reason, in socialist countries, despite the rapidly growing number of private automobiles, public urban transport prevails in large cities. It is mainly electric, since electric transport best meets health requirements.


Transportnaia sistema mira. Edited by S. S. Ushakov and L. I. Vasilevskii. Moscow, 1971.
Transport i sviaz’ SSSR (collection of statistics). Moscow, 1972.
Noveishie tendentsii razvitiia transporta za rubezhom. Trudy In-ta kompleksnykh transportnykh problem pri Gosplane SSSR, issue 38. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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