Man's physical universe






Machines for navigating are possible without rowers, so that great ships

suited to river or ocean, guided by one man, may be borne with greater speed

than if they were full of men. Likewise cars may be made — so that without

a draught animal they may be moved with inestimable speed . . . and flying

machines are possible so that a man may sit in the middle turning some device

by which artificial wings may beat the air in the manner of a flying

bird. — Roger Bacon.


Modern transportation, like modern communication, is the product

of the rapidly increasing application of scientific knowledge to the

problems of everyday life.

The history of the development of transportation reveals many

cases of opposition of existing transportation agencies to new types of

transportation, followed by the inevitable development of these new

types of transportation and the consequent wasteful competition

which resulted in unfair practices. Competition often ended in consolidation,

which permitted greater efficiency but also permitted

monopolies to make unfair profits. This brought about the Interstate

Commerce Act of 1887 to prevent discrimination. Finally, in 1914,

Congress passed the Clayton Anti-Trust Act to promote competition.

The problems of transportation are typical of the problems introduced

by the development of modern technology, and the methods by

which a democracy solves these problems make a fascinating study.

In general these problems must be solved in such a way as to eliminate

waste and increase efficiency, thus raising the general standard of

living but at the same time preserving individual initiative and encouraging

new and better ways of doing things. The solution of these

problems presents a challenge to every human being.

Transportation by Water Has Witnessed Great Changes.

The value of water transportation was realized many centuries ago.

The Roman vessel, with its several banks of oars operated by slaves,


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