An inclined plane is a flat supporting surface tilted at an angle, with one end higher than the other, used as an aid for raising or lowering a load. Inclined planes are widely used to move heavy loads over vertical obstacles; examples vary from a ramp used to load goods into a truck, to a person walking up a pedestrian ramp, to an automobile or railroad train climbing a grade. Inclined planes are widely used in the form of loading ramps to load and unload goods on trucks, ships, and planes.
Wheelchair ramps are used to allow people in wheelchairs to get over vertical obstacles without exceeding their strength. Escalators and slanted conveyor belts are also forms of inclined plane. In a funicular or cable railway a railroad car is pulled up a steep inclined plane using cables. Inclined planes also allow heavy fragile objects, including humans, to be safely lowered down a vertical distance by using the normal force of the plane to reduce the gravitational force. Aircraft evacuation slides allow people to rapidly and safely reach the ground from the height of a passenger airliner.
Other inclined planes are built into permanent structures. Roads for vehicles and railroads have inclined planes in the form of gradual slopes, ramps, and causeways to allow vehicles to surmount vertical obstacles such as hills without losing traction on the road surface. Similarly, pedestrian paths and sidewalks have gentle ramps to limit their slope, to ensure that pedestrians can keep traction. Inclined planes are also used as entertainment for people to slide down in a controlled way, in playground slides, water slides, ski slopes and skateboard parks.