Most Of Us Think Of The History of Transportation In Terms Of Ourselves
Try to think of how long the world has been in existence. Now try to think of how long man has existed in this world. Transportation can not be traced back to a specific time or time period except that it probably started when man decided to venture out from whatever his abode might have been in the beginning. In other words, man’s curiosity about the area beyond where he lived necessitated transporting himself to those areas.
Actually, the first mode of transportation was “Walking” that is, to transport human man as well as moving goods or property that could be carried by Humans. Therefore, you could proffer a guess as to the beginning of transportation as it is defined in the dictionary. “The process of moving something from point A to point B” to keep it simple. So, we might conclude that transportation is as old as man and will probably exist as long as man continues to exist and changing as technology allows it to change.
Lets Start With Ways We Transport Things Today And Work Backwards
Today we transport people, goods and anything we want to move using roads, rails, water, and air as our primary methods of transportation. We are able to move almost anyone or anything from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in the world we want. Not only that, with the invention of the airplane leading to the invention of the rocket ship, we are now transporting people and things from the earth to other destinations in space.
You remember in the Bible the story of the Tower Of Babel. The inhabitants of the earth came together and built a tower that reached into the heavens as they decided they wanted to find God there. And God realized that they could actually do it as they were of one mind. So, he caused them to speak in different languages in order to keep them from being able to understand each other and that ended that ambitious project. Well, we are getting close to what they had tried to do with our exploration of space.
So, now we have space ships to move us to the heavens, giant ships to move cargo and people to all parts of the earth. Then we have trains that move cargo and people from one part of land to another all over the world. We have Airplanes that move cargo and people to destinations all over the world as well. Then we have cars that we use to take us where we want to go from the grociery store or from one end of a country to another and into other countries as well.
We also have bicycles and motorcycles to transport us to and from one place and another. How about those electric personal transporters that a person stands on and moves around simply by leaning forward or backward. We have come up with every kind of vehicle to transport ourselves and our goods and we have just begun. We even have vehicles now roaming distant planets looking for the possibility of life sustaining materials. We have satellites orbiting the earth that were transported there by rockets. We even have a space station orbiting the earth and we use shuttles to transport people and goods and equipment that is needed to carry on experiments.
That’s where we are now. How long did it take us to get here?
It Really Took A Long Time To Get To Today’s Transportation
While it did take us a very long time to get to today’s transportation efficiency, it was not that long ago that we did not have airplanes to transport us or our goods by air for long distances as well as short distances. However, we did have a method of air transport in the hot air balloon. This of course was not an efficient or timely way to move goods.
Prior to airplanes to travel and transport peolple and goods, the automobile was coming along. However, there was not much time between these two inventions and each of these inventions, while at the time were very basic, it did not take much time for them to develop. The development of these two inventions was so rapid that it changed the world as we knew it just a little over 100 years ago with respect to transportation. Of course there were many other forms of transportation prior to these inventions.
There was the horse and buggy, there was even transportation by rail. We used horses to pull stage coaches to move people and goods from one place to another. Of course horses go back a long way as well as rail movement. Things were being moved by rail as long as 500 years ago. Of course, it was not like it is with today’s railroads.
Transportation Dates Back To Prehistoric Ages
Of course the invention of the wheel began to turn things around when it came to being able to transport things more easily. However, there were real drawbacks which included the terrain. That’s when man decided to begin to build roads for land travel. And that goes back a long way. However, prior to the invention of the wheel, man learned how to tame animals and use them to transport their belongings and themselves over longer and longer distances.
As we go back in time to see how transportation developed, we cannot forget boats, ships, rafts etc. Man learned how to move accross various bodies of water because he was curious to know what was beyond what he could see. And once he was able to construct something that would take him there, he became even more mobile using these watercraft, however simple they were to transport them and their goods as well.
So now we have a good idea of how transportation developed from prehistoric times until our present day. While it took many centuries to develop modes of transportation to make things simpler, easier, more efficient, and less expensive to transport, once that development reached a certain point, it took on a startling speed. Probably the most rapid growth of transportation has been in the last 200 years. In that short a period, we have gone from horse power to rocket power and everything in between.
Where Would We Be Without The Modes Of Transportation Of Today?
It would be impossible to realize how important transportation as we know it is to society today. It is certain that it could be said to be the anchor of our society making our lives on a day to day basis much simpler than we could ever imagine if we did not have it. Think about how it would be if you had only your legs to propel you to where you wanted to go today. Or, if you only had an animal to carry you and your belongings here and there. How about a wagon pulled by an animal as your only method of transport.
As you can see, things changed as man became more curious about his surroundings and looked for ways to explore them. Eventually, this led to various inventions through history culminating in the inventions of all types of machines to accomplish transporting ourselves and our goods easier and easier and more efficiently as well. There are four basic modes of transport that can be categorized as responsible for the evolution of transportation and we will investigate these here.
Transportation Categories Include Land, Water, Rail, Air
Let’s look at the evolution of basic land transportation which is one of these four categories. We started by walking on land, riding animals to cross land distances and with the invention of the wheel, we greatly improved our ability to travel over land.Once that happened, man began to connect different locations with roads making the use of wheeled transports a little more comfortable that was otherwise harder over rugged terrain.
Some of the first good roads were constructed by the Romans to enable quick movement of their armies and some of them are still in existence today. Then in order to speed up the transportation process, man invented machines to help carry himself and his goods. Thsi included everything from bicycles to buggies and then of course cars and trucks etc. However, transprotation remained expenseive and sluggish until the industrial reveloution which produced engines that used steam and then other fuels. The invention of these engines was what rapidly changed the face of transportation over land.
Next we have water transport that goes back quit a long way from swimming, crude rafts, crude boats, and then to more sophisticated boats using wind power with sails, manpower with human rowers and then steam and fuel fired engines to power bigger and bigger boats and ships. Since man settled quit frequently near bodies of water and man also began to become businesslike and wanted to travel between these settlements as well as being able to have a good food supply that being near the oceans and rivers afforded him.
Now of course, we have giant cargo ships and huge cruise ships as well as barges and many other forms of water craft to transport us and move goods around the world. These cruise ships are actually complete cities that have everything anyone could want in the form of luxury and entertainment. One of these cargo ships can transport enough goods to supply a small city with everything it would need to provide for its inhabitants.
It Is Hard To Imagine The World Without A Way To Transport Anything
There are two more basic or broad categories of modes of transportation that we have yet to cover and they are Rail Transport and Air Transport.
While rail transport is generally believed to have it early beginnings for the purposes of transportation about 500 years ago, there are other earlier indications of the use of this method for modest movement of goods. It has been called “Wagon Way” and can be traced back as far as 600 BC to Greece and used wagons pulled by men or animals along grooves that were carved in limestone. This allowed the wagon to travel in a predetermined pattern without the need to steer it. These systems were only a few kilometers long at best but provided a quick way to move goods those short distances. There are also discoveries that indicate these systems were used by the Romans as well.
Then the system of rails began to be improved using wooden rails and wagons again pulled by either men or in most cases horses. It wasn’t unitl the early 1800′s that the modern railway system came into being in England. As time went on, new inventions spurred the growth of rail transportation to where it is today the backbone of most any economy. The steam engine was a huge jump for rail transport and remained so for almost two centuries until the fuel powered engine eventually replaced it. Rail has become a very fast way to travel, it is economical and can transport large amounts of people and goods for long distances.
The Final Frontier Of Transportation Would Be Air Travel
Who doesn’t know that the Wright Brothers invented the airplane in 1903? Air travel prior to that time, if you want to call it air travel was limited to going up in a balloon type contraption. So, the invention of the airplane changed the way we would live in the most drastic ways. It was a dream come true and made life easier and more luxurious for nearly all of us. Man has always wanted to explore regions as far away as he can possibly go, has always wanted what he does not have, and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants.
That characteristic is what led us to where we are today in air travel. Think about it! you can go just about anywhere in the world in a few hours by airplane. We have made the statement “Man In The Moon” a reality with the inventions that are a result of mans curiosity, drive and creativity. We are at the precipice of being able to go to the far reaches of the universe to quench our thirst for more and more knowledge of who we are and precisely where we fit in to the universe itself.
It is amazing that as far as air travel, it has all happened essentially in a little over 100 years. Most of us that are alive today really do not know what it was like to not have big boats and ships, fast cars and trucks, long fast trains, and airplanes and space ships. We look forward to even bigger and better ways to travel and transport goods. The future of transportation is huge.