Transport modes: find out what they are

Find out what the differences are between traditional and non-polluting modes (and which ones are used in iFood)

In a country of continental proportions like Brazil, having efficient and sustainable modes of transport is crucial and urgent for development and socioeconomic growth.

Alternatives to traditionally polluting modes of transport have emerged in recent years, such as electric motorcycle It is drones, to minimize the effects of global warming. 

Therefore, here you will find everything about transport modes: importance, types, advantages and disadvantages and how iFood has invested in non-polluting modes sustainable. 

What are modes of transport?

Transport is the set of materials, infrastructure and technical instruments to drive or take something or someone from one point to another. 

Transport modes are the means used to transport cargo, people and non-physical products, such as data and information, from a point of origin to a point of destination. 

Transport modes are divided into six categories: road, rail, waterway, pipeline and air or air and infoway.  

How important are modes of transport?

The importance of transport modes for the economy and society lies in the fact that they are fundamental elements for expanding a country's productive capacity. 

According to research by National Transport Confederation (CNT), modes of transport help with regional development, generate jobs, income and improve the lives of the population in the city and countryside. 

In this way, transport modes are one of the pillars of supply chain, being responsible for the logistics and the transport of goods. 

Transport modes: advantages and disadvantages

Transport modes can present advantages and disadvantages depending on the type, the route they travel on, the type of cargo they carry and the type of fuel they use. 

The advantage of different types of transport modes is that they can be adapted to the volume and speed of cargo movement over short, medium and long distances. 

The disadvantages of transport modes, especially road and air transport, are the high amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Furthermore, the transport sector is responsible for a quarter of global CO2 emissions, according to data of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 

There are, however, modes of low environmental impact, both waterways, such as ferries and boats, and roadways, such as bicycles and electric motorcycles.  

Types of transport modes

There are six types of transport modes, including cargo, passengers and non-physical products (such as data and information flow). Each has specific functions and characteristics. 

They all have advantages and disadvantages, which will serve as selection criteria depending on demand, time and budget available. See each type below. 

Road mode

Road transport is characterized by transport on highways, roads and streets by land vehicles, such as trucks, trailers, buses and cars.  

In Brazil, it corresponds to 60% of the total modes used for transport, according to National Transport Confederation (CNT). 

Its advantages are a wide range of services and frequency, delivery speed and route flexibility. On the other hand, it is polluting and depends on the quality of roads and roads.  

Rail mode 

Railway mode consists of transporting cargo and people via railway lines. 

As it is a slower mode than road transport, it is widely used to transport bulky loads over long distances.  

With 31 thousand kilometers, Brazil's railway network should receive investments in the coming years with the implementation of Legal Framework for Brazilian Railways. 

Air or air mode 

Air or air mode is carried out by aircraft to transport passengers and sensitive cargo, such as perishable items, with high added value or urgent. 

Agility and safety are the main characteristics of the air transport. 

Waterway mode 

Waterway or waterway mode means that transport is carried out by water: rivers — fluvial transport —, sea — maritime transport — and lakes and lagoons — lacustrine transport. 

Underused In Brazil, the waterway system has 63 thousand kilometers of navigable rivers, but only 30% of the waterway network is used. 

Pipeline mode

Pipeline mode is one in which transport is carried out through tubes and ducts, which can be underground, exposed or underwater. 

It is most widely used for cargoes such as natural gas and oil. 

Infoway modal 

Infoway mode is one that uses telecommunications structure, such as fiber optics and satellites, to transport data and flow of information.

Examples of transport modes

The types of transport modes vary depending on the speed at which vehicles travel, volume capacity transported, environmental impacts caused and access to routes. 

Examples of road transport modes are trucks, trailers, cars, motorcycles, electric motorcycles and bicycles.

Air transport modes are planes, helicopters and drones. 

Meanwhile, waterways are boats, ships, ferries and ferries. The railway modes are freight and passenger trains and subways.    

Transport modes in Brazil: discover the most used

The most used mode of transport in Brazil for transporting cargo is road. 

In 2021, Brazil had 110,812.821 registered vehicles — cars (53.3%), motorcycles (22.2%), trucks (2.6%) and buses (0.6%). 

The total length of the Brazilian road network is 1,720,700 km. Only 12.4% of this total is paved. 

The second most used mode is waterway, with cargo movements totaling 1.15 billion tons in Brazilian port facilities in 2020. 

The air freight mode transported, in 2020, 722.4 million tons of paid cargo and mail. 

The data is part of the CNT Transport Yearbook 2021, of the National Transport Confederation. 

What are the non-polluting modes of transport?

Transport modes non-polluting consist of means of collective or individual transport that do not emit greenhouse gases (GHG), which accelerate global warming. 

Electric motorcycles and bicycles, scooters, electric cars are examples of non-polluting and sustainable modes, as they use electrical energy instead of fossil fuel. 

Another non-polluting mode of transport is the drone, which can be used to transport small loads and deliveries.  

Non-polluting modes of transport used in iFood

The non-polluting modes used in iFood are the electric motorcycle, the electric bicycle and the ADA robot. 

A iFood electric motorcycle, EVS Work, is a sustainable innovation designed exclusively for the platform's delivery partners, and with benefits for the environment.   

There are more than 500 iFood electric bikes running in six Brazilian capitals. The goal of the iFood Pedal is to quadruple this modal number for delivery. 

Furthermore, iFood, in partnership with Speedbird Aero, was the first company in the Americas authorized to deliver with drones in Brazilian territory. For this reason, the company has also been a pioneer in delivery with drones.

The robot ADA is an autonomous, non-polluting modal, electric and sustainable 100% capable of transporting up to 30 kg.

What are iFood’s goals for non-polluting modalities?

iFood's goals to promote non-polluting modes are part of the company's commitments to the environment made through the program iFood Regenerates.

The company's goals include neutrality in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2025 in its operations using non-polluting modes of transport. 
As iFood Pedal and the electric motorcycles, iFood encourages the use of clean modes of transport and helps to spread the culture of sustainability in favor of the environment.


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