(Detailed PDF Map)
World Main Road and Rail Networks
The structure of the global land transport network is a function on the density and intensity of economic activities, interconnected systems of cities, as well as efforts made to access inland resources. Network length tends to be a function of the population and the level of economic development with geography playing a role in terms of suitable (flat) landscape. Yet, infrastructure quality is not reflected on the above maps. Based upon this density, the road and rail networks shift from a grid (high density) to linear corridors (low density). While the global road and rail networks appear to be integrated and interconnected, this is far from being the case. Road networks are designed to service local and regional flows and only a few corridors are used for long distance trade. Most rail networks are national in scope with limited international services with the exception of Europe and North America. Still, different gauges are serious impediments to the setting of a true pan-European rail network. The North American rail network is integrated but segments of the network are owned by different carriers.